Some rocking chairs date back decades. If they are still solid, you may get extra decades of enjoyment from it. If the chair is grayish or rough with flaking paint or varnish, do not be worried about it. It is possible to upgrade that chair in 1 day with some sandpaper and a few finishing materials.
In case you’ve got a rocking chair in need of refinishing, it likely still has varnish on it that needs to be removed. Don’t knock yourself out trying to sand it away. Chemical stripper will dissolve any finish in a couple of minutes. Place the chair on a drop cloth. Don protective glasses and plastic gloves. Dip a brush to a open can of stripper and generously paint the chair using the stripper. When you finish painting it, use a putty knife to scrape the gelled finish from the chair. Use small, sharpened sticks to scrape inside corners, and to get the tightest of spaces, then you may use a wire brush to find the finish away. If a number of this finish is tenacious, paint it using stripper, wait a couple of minutes, then scrape it away.
Always sand rocking seats. Don’t use orbitals or electrical sanders. The components are too narrow, and you will only damage the chair. Fold a piece of 100-grit sandpaper four times. Use it like a pad to sand each of the chair parts smooth. Use the edge of the folded pliers like a knife to fit into tight spaces. Roll the seams to a cylinder and then twist it about spindles together with your fingers. If you see any loose splinters, pull them up, inject some glue under them and fasten them together with masking tape. If you have deep gouges, holes or seams, fill them with wood putty. After everything is dry, sand the chair one more time — but this time, sand only parallel to the grain of the timber to eliminate cross-grain scratches.
You could apply stain into the seat or leave it natural. If you choose to use stain, then liberally wipe it on the chair, then immediately wipe it away using a dry cloth. Let it dry in accordance with manufacturer’s directions. For optimum results, use an aerosol varnish or lacquer. Airborne finishes get into tight spaces better than any brush, and are not as likely to run or drip. Bend the can eight inches from the surface of the chair in a 30-degree angle. Spray everything with a single, even coat. Wait the proper time for the finish to dry, then sand the chair by hand together with 180-grit sandpaper. Wipe off the surplus dust, and complete with one heavy coat of lacquer or varnish.
Some rocking chairs, particularly older ones, benefit from oil-based stain. This kind of stain sinks deep into the pores of the timber to feed and offer flexibility to brittle timber. Natural plant-based chemicals in the stain such as linseed, or tung oil guard wood better than other types of stain. In addition, this kind of stain may be bought in different colours. It may be reapplied to your chair every few months to keep it refreshed. The chair will not possess the bright, shiny appearance of varnish or lacquer, but it’ll be protected better. In time, the oil turns into a sheen on the chair. You may polish the chair with denim in a procedure known as burnishing to pull out the warmest of finishes. It takes time, maybe even months or weeks of sometimes polishing it, however it is worth it.