Sunday, June 5, 2011

Black fiberglass desk chair

I picked this chair up the other day at my favorite flea market from a guy who always has a lot of vintage things, although usually they're priced higher than I'm willing to pay.  Anyway he let me have this for $30 and I figured I couldn't go wrong.

It doesn't have any crack or blemishes on the fiberglass seat, and the hardware was all there except for a couple of washers that were missing where the legs attach to the bottom.  The metal legs had the usual wear on the black paint, and the brass feet had long ago lost their brassiness and two of the four feet were missing the plastic tread.  No big deal, I've been down this road before and I was pretty sure my favorite local hardware store had some feet that would fit it.

After I got it home it was a simple job of using a socket wrench to remove the nuts that were holding the legs on.  I used some steel wool to knock off a tiny bit of rust and rough up the legs just enough to make priming them easier.  I needed to know what size feet to look for so I tried a couple of my open-end wrenches until I determined that the 3/4-inch wrench fit snugly on the end of the leg.  It took some WD-40 and a pair of vise grip pliers to get the old feet off by twisting them back and forth and pulling a little.

A trip to the hardware got me the new 3/4-inch diameter brass feet I needed ($2.49, a great deal!).  Next I primed the legs with some spray primer and after that dried I used some Rustoleum gloss black paint.  I have a cable out back for a dog run and it makes a great place to hang things I need to paint.  After the paint dried I pushed the new feet on and reassembled the chair.

Looks good doesn't it?


  1. That's an amazing find, and for $30?! Yay.

    Just stumbled upon your wonderful blog (where was I all this time?!). I'm a fan of mid-century modern so I will definitely sign up as a follower.

  2. Nice job! I love the gray-black fiberglass. It looks really clean now!

    I recently re-did a chair that is very similar! Mine was robin's egg blue. I took it all apart and sanded I repainted it. It took a million coats of spray paint but it was worth it. While I was working on it, I kept thinking about you and your projects and how patient you are. I looked to you for inspiration on not rushing it and getting it done right! ;-)

  3. - I agree VC, thanks
    - thanks I dream lo-tech, and welcome
    - Amber, I'm glad my project work has inspired - I never used to be patient, but after you end up redoing things three times because you're impatient, you eventually get a clue or you stop trying, or you have a man cave full of half finished projects :-D

  4. Oooooohhhhhh, awesome chair and GREAT price. I really do like that color too, it looks almost sparkly in your pics.

    We found 2 Herman Miller shell chairs (in the shape of your chair) about 6 years ago in a hot, dusty attic-y space in a little antique store. I was all ready to pass on the chairs because I thought we already had enough "stuff" :D, but my husband insisted that we try ro work a deal on buying the 2 chairs. We got each chair for $40. I am glad my husband insisted we get the chairs, seeing what the prices are now for Herman Miller.

  5. Sara, I have to confess I don't know enough to tell a Herman Miller from a knockoff - is there a mark underneath it? This chair has what looks like stamped numbers 001 0084

  6. I know what you mean, sometimes it is super hard to keep track of what marks should be on what! :) Half the time I have absolutely no idea either. Anyway, both of our chairs are stamped on the bottom Herman Miller. The mark is embedded into the fiberglass so there is no mistaking who made the chair. The chairs also both have paper labels affixed to them. I suspect your chair is probably not Herman Miller since you have no mark in the fiberglass, but hey it’s still an awesome chair anyway!

  7. Another find that's just chuck full of cool! ;)