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Project Showcase — Past Winners

The amazing "new" kitchen!

The finished chair.

Minwax® Products Used

Working on the base cabinets.

The chair before its makeover.

Compare the new to the old.

The sanded chair.

Dennis Briell's Restored Chair from 1945

We are pleased to select Dennis Briell as our Project Showcase winner. He went quite an extra mile (literally!) to find the perfect chair and turn it into a beautiful, one-of-a-kind piece. We love how the Minwax stain really helped bring out the natural beauty of walnut. Thanks to Dennis and his refinishing skills, this 66 year old chair looks better than new!

Dear Minwax,

I was searching for a chair to put near my front door and wanted something well-built and sturdy, and at the same time good looking. I spotted this chair for sale online and recognized the possibilities. I drove from New York metro to Philadelphia, PA and struck a deal. I paid $65 dollars for the chair. Most of the damage the chair had was from the owner leaving it on his front porch, exposed to the elements. The chair is made from solid walnut by the Gunlocke Chair Co. in Wayland, NY and marked “manufactured in 1945”.

I have refinished bedroom furniture and several cedar hope chests before, but this project was the one that I have enjoyed the most. I am not a pro, but a person who takes project out to the back yard, puts it up on a picnic table, and goes to work. The back of the chair, where the arms and the back come together, had separated and warped. I filled the void between them with wood worker’s glue and then sanded the wood to look like it came from the factory.

It took about 20 hours to fix the arms and strip off the old finish. I sanded and used scrapers to remove the old finish. I then treated the chair with Minwax® pre-stain conditioner and stained with the Minwax® Wood Finish stain in Dark Walnut. The final finish was Minwax Wipe-on Poly. It was the first time I used it, and I will be using it again. I applied four coats following the directions on the can.

My advice to anyone taking on a wood refinishing project is to take your time and know what products you are going to need before you start. Also, do not jump around what area you are working on. If you start on a leg, then finish the work needed on that leg before moving on to another area. Always remember: nobody knows how much time you spend finishing a project, but if done correctly, you will have a thing of beauty that will last for years.

Best regards,

Dennis Briell
West Haverstraw, NY