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Junk Yard Step Chair Redo: $11 Knockoff

Written By petite karinne on Monday, July 21, 2014 | 10:09 AM

My old Dodge pickup is rusting. Trying to restore the rusting parts piece by piece, hoping to keep it in good condition, my handy husband went to his favorite salvage yard in search of a fender. He called me when he found one and said, "I've got a fender and there is an old kitchen step stool seat thing here that is getting thrown out. It's really rough. Is it something you are interested in trying to fix up?"  I said "YES! Please and thank you!"  

Rough, but having potential, I intended to redo the step chair in industrial style for the workshop. I envisioned chrome legs and steel diamond plated steps, seat and backrest.  That was... until I saw this... 

 Bicycle Spoke Stool -Industrial Furniture at Milan Direct

Leather and rustic metal.  I love it.   Old world marries the new world.  Intriguingly attractive to me. 

I changed my "diamond plate mind".  

A woman's "right" thing to do.  So I set myself up to replicate my inspirational piece idea. 

"Original junk yard- to- be- thrown- away condition." 

To begin, I had to remove the rusted and padless seat; then remove the damaged backrest.  The seat was attached with bend tabbing.  Carefully bending it away, I was surprised to find the metal still strong;  despite the rust and neglect.  The backrest was secured with four screws.  Easy peasy.  

The original upholstery was a black vinyl. So totally vintage.  It never had a facelift before other than someone's attempt to spray it a copper color. 

I removed the glued on padding from both pieces. 

Then I cleaned and sanded them.

Even though the pieces were not going to be seen, they will be used in their original places. So I sprayed them with a rust preventive paint. 

Also prepped the area where the upholstered backrest goes.

Paint and primer in one was a very simple single spraying step. ($7)

Then I started the sanding process. The steps were the easy part to do. Trying to get the entire chair to the bare metal was the labor intensive part. 

When the seat and backrest parts were dry, I started upholstering with foam pieces. (Scraps from previous projects)

I bought a "pleather" skirt at a thrift store ($3.99)  and opted to use that material.

I really didn't want to use the area with the skirt pockets, but after setting it to see how it looked, I went for it.  Adding a little stitching detail, it became a design statement.  I used sticky glue to attach the fabric to the metal frames, further holding it in place with gorilla tape.  Using memory foam on the seat, the weight of a full can of paint helped to hold the foam down while the glue dried. 

Using a primer and paint in one again, I sprayed on flat black to the entire chair. 

After the paint dried, I sanded to distress some areas allowing the bare metal to show through.

Then, clear coated with Valspar polyurethane to seal the paint and metal for protection. 

After the chair dried, I attached the backrest and seat. 

(Cute pocket.  It has room for a chocolate bar...  for those emergency moments, of course.)

Those who follow me, know I'm a "leather belt lover-recycler".  So of course I had to trim off the seat with an old worn  belt for a little more character.  It had all of the natural distress I wanted done for me.  I removed the backrest supports and drilled a hole through the belt into the original screw holes on the chair.  The belt became secured all around the rim of the seat.

Best part:
Ready to move into the workshop.
And that chunk of metal nearby... that's my salvaged truck fender.  (Hubby's project waiting for him.)  I wanted to use it in this backdrop to be all industrial-like.

An afterthought.  Those come around now and then... I applied glue to belt ends and slid them into both of the backrest supports.  It added a little more "raw" element.

I got the look I love for much less than my inspirational piece.

So now, hubby and I have a workbench chair.  An awesome old one.  Great step up type to use for those higher shelves that I used to use a crate box to get to. 

For just eleven bucks! 

Do you have an inspirational piece too? If so, I'd love to see what you do. 


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