1800s Platform Glider Restoration




Introduction: 1800s Platform Glider Restoration

About: My name is Brandon Smith and my wife and I run a custom furniture and restoration business called Brand New Again out of Bismarck, IL.

This is an 1800s Platform Glider. As you can see it is in quite a bit of distress. The owner contacted me before purchasing it for $50 and asked if I could salvage it. I naturally did not shy away as my business has been doing furniture restoration and refinishing for approx. 4 years. Let's tear this bad boy apart shall we?

Step 1: Upholstery Removal

First step was to get that nasty upholstery off of there and old padding. It had a ton of water damage and all needed discarded before a replacement could be added. This was done with a tack puller and needle nose pliers.

Step 2: Disassembly

The smart thing to do is disassemble as much of a piece of furniture as possible before refinishing. Normally we will completely disassemble but due to the age of this piece, if the glue was still holding strong, we do not want to mess with the integrity of the piece. At this time we also made any repairs that were necessary such as loose spindles/dowels by pulling them and reinstalling with fresh wood glue.

Step 3: Sand Time

Before sanding we had to address the grain that had separated quite a bit due to the elements. What we did was rub all affected areas in stainable wood filler. Then entire wood portion of the glider needed sanded down before its new stain could be applied. Spindle sanding is done with an orbital, Dremel, and for the spindles we used sandpaper backed with duct tape torn into thin strips to get the tight areas sanded of previous finish.

Step 4: Stain/Polycrylic Time

The client wanted to keep the older style furniture look so we went with a Sherwin Williams Chestnut stain that really made all the wood grain and aged detail that we kept pop. Hand wiped on with a lint free rag.Then shot with 5 coats of Minwax Polycrylic sanding between each coat with 220 grit sandpaper.

Step 5: Assembly/Reupholstery

We reassembled and reupholstered using a 2" foam pad on top of the original springs and twine and covered with this beautiful diamond print red velvet fabric by pneumatic stapling around the exterior. Be sure to make sure your fabric pattern makes sense before tacking down!

Step 6: Install Decorative Tack Strip

Finally we covered our staple trail with a decorative tack strip. Most seat upholstery now days is done where fabric wraps around to the underneath of a board and is tacked. We were unable to do this with chair and needed a way to hide the staple trail. The original upholstery had a piping that was placed over top but we wanted to go a more decorative route. I think this way cleaned up the glider quite nicely. What do you folks think? Amazing Transformation right?



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25 Discussions

I'm interested in the part where you added stainable filler. Do you add it in a thin coat , then sand it?

1 reply

Yes you basically just take a dollop of it and rub it all over into the affected areas where grain is separated. Wipe it smooth ensuring you fill all of the cracks and pores in the wood grain then sand smooth.

That was a lot of work for beautiful job, well done.

Chair looks fabulous! All my years of woodworking, I would have never thought to add duct tape to the back of sand paper. Great tip, thank you for sharing!


Question 5 months ago

How do you replicate turned spindles that are broken or missing?

1 more answer

Just commented on a previous comment here that we have a chair like this that could probably stand on it's own with just new upholstery. Where are you located? I could get photos if you or anyone is close to Ventura, CA ... not likely, huh?

1 more answer

We are located in Bismarck, IL. I'm not sure what shipping costs would run as much of what we do is local within 50 miles of us.

Beautiful restoration, and inspiring to see the process. Very nicely done!!

1 reply

Absolutely Beautiful! I’m jealous!
I’ve been looking for a chair like this for years, but haven’t found one yet!

2 replies

Just noticed this on Instructables and I have a chair like this though in considerably better condition than yours at the start. Very similar! It was passed down from my husband's family in Nebraska and we are in California. It's up in an area above our garage and hard to get a photo right now. I doubt the kids will want it. Would be nice to have it refinished but we don't have the money at the present time and are just too old with too much else to do to tackle it ourselves. If you have any interest, let me know and I'll get a photo to you, but shipping costs would surely be exorbitant.

I WISH! I would love it, but I’m in FL! Thank you so much for the offer!

i am totally impressed! I have inherited a chair circa I have no clue! A question -- when a restored piece of furniture is sold, is the onus on the seller to share that it has been revived, restored or any other synonym? Or is it the old caveat "Let the buyer beware?

Absolutely beautiful. That's a great tip on the sandpaper/duct tape. Impressive.