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Bentwood Chair restoration project

Junior Contributor

Bentwood Chair restoration project

Hi Community,


I would like to share my resoration project, its currently a work in progress.


I've collected 4 different styles of Bentwoods (Antique or Vintage?) off Gumtree. These will go around our dining table, in our dining "alcove".  Our apartment is small so I thought that Bentwoods would look good as they are small and neat, and you can see through them. I also love the style. 



They are of varied condition, some need a little attention, some need a lot. The most damaged one was posted for free on Gumtree, the owner said they were throwing it out the next day of nobody came to collect it. This one is also the most unusual, so I'm so glad I saved it from the bin.  


All 4 chairs are below, numbered 1-4, from left to right. 


4 chairs.JPG

1. This chair just needs a tighten, a sand and refinish

2. The freebie. It was split and needed to be soaked, glued, and then finished. (images below)

3. Amazing chair with pressed metal seat!  Just needs a tighten, sand and finish.

4. This one is also split, so I will soak and glue it too before finishing.


Chair 2:

The freebie owner told me to soak the split area and glue it.  I wasn't sure how to do this, but I came up with a good method.  I sprayed the area with water, and tied rags around it, then sprayed these with more water.  I tied the rags tight enough to give pressure, but not too tight to begin with. I just kept going with this.  Untying once dry and resoaking, adding pressure, until it came back to shape. The end result is a bit wonky, but aren't we all? Process pics below. 


Chair 2.jpg

Chair 2 with closeup showing the splits


Chair 2 soaking.JPG

Chair 2 Soaking...


Chair 2 soaked.JPG

Chair 2 Success!  Soaked and bent back into shape (almost)


Chair 2 glueing.JPG

Chair 2 Glueing. I squeezed/poked Aquadhere into the split, and used masking tape as my clamp.


I still need to work on some splits/cracks in the seat as they would catch on clothing.  I'm not quite qure what to use here so would love suggestions?  I needs to disguise well and blend with the wood. 

She needs a good sand as the glue got a bit messy, but I think it's going to be a success.


Chair 4:

Chair 4.jpg

Chair 4 showing closeup of split and the soaking process.  This is where I am up to.  When I get home tonight, it will have dried, so I will undo it, resoak and tie up with a bit more pressure.


I would love any advice on what kind of finish to use on these and any suggestions for repairing the seat cracks. 


The end goal is to have them all looking a similar colour. 


Thanks for reading!






Junior Contributor

Re: Bentwood Chair restoration project

PS. Chair 4 is proving to be a lot harder to bend. I think because of the part of the chair where the split is located, the wood is more solid and less flexible. My dad suggested I try a hairdryer to create steam, but then I'm not sure how to apply increasing pressure while doing this. 

If anyone has any experience in this area, would love advice! 

Established Contributor

Re: Bentwood Chair restoration project

Wow, these look like a real challenge! Well done @Hay.


I don't have any experience but have been wanting to do a similar project myself - I love chairs with a bit of personality!


I'll be keeping an eye out for good advice on these - please be sure to share the final product!

Junior Contributor

Re: Bentwood Chair restoration project

Thanks @Kim. These beauties certainly do have personality!  I'm actually on the lookout for a Bentwood stool (not a barstool).  I missed out on one on Gumtree and it seems they are quite unusual as I haven't seen another one. 


Chair 4 is really proving to be a challenge to bend.  Because I'm having to keep it wet for longer, I've decided that I should add some vinegar to the water, to hopefully stop mould growing. 


Re: Bentwood Chair restoration project

Hi. You may have already finished your chairs. I've been doing a bit of furniture restoration of late and I use Danish Oil on my projects. It's very easy to apply. It brings out the natural grain of the timber. I'm very happy with it. Also, Iv'e seen a few videos where a steam box is used to bend timber so you might be on the right track when using your hairdryer.
Community Manager Jason
Community Manager

Re: Bentwood Chair restoration project

Hi @Dave58,


A very warm welcome to the Workshop community. Thanks for sharing some of your experiences with @Hay.


I'm sure you will find plenty of other like-minded community members around here and I would encourage you to share your work. Perhaps you could share some photos and some detail about your latest project in a new discussion or post a shot on the gallery?


I hope you find Workshop informative, inspirational and fun.



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