Start a discussion

The Bunnings Workshop community can help with your home improvement projects.

Lighten and Restore Parker Dining Chair

Budding Browser

Lighten and Restore Parker Dining Chair

Hi All, 


I am a newbie to the platform and am seeking some experienced advice on how to lighten and restore these beautiful parking dining chairs. 

I will be reupholstering also. Trying to match a beautiful new dining table I purchased, I have been hunting down the perfect chair for so long that I have almost forgotten how to sit on one. I have decided that true satisfaction after so many countless hours devoted to the hunt, would be restoring them to make it my own. 


I had narrowed my search down to ratten or parker/carver chairs. 

Locating the most perfect set of chairs, I have decided to reupholster and slightly lighten the wood by removing the finish. 


I am looking for advice that will give me the best results, being a novice handyman, and a step by step to get the best results?

Feel free to recommend me better products if you feel it can do the job better. :smile: Greatly appreciated!

Note; please keep budget and accessibility in mind. 


Step one; Stripping the finish

*after removing the seat and back rest


1. Johnstone's 1L Timber Stripper Gel

2. Pure Line 50mm ABC Plastic Scraper (in order to not gauge the wood)


1. Paint on thick layer of Timber stripper gel

2. Let sit for roughly ***Suggested minutes please***

3. Carefully scrape the excess off


Step two; After wash

***Advice: What is a good after wash, how and what to apply it with***


Buff and smooth? What is the best for this?


Step three; ****UNSURE, please help***


Step four; Applying wax/sealant

I want to keep this a natural colour to match my dining table - I am considering;

Do I need to put something down prior to using a wax?

1. Preparation? Gilly Stephensons 100g Clear Restoring And New Timber Polish
2. Gilly Stephensons 100g Cabinet Makers Wax
3. Applies with 0000 Rocket Super Fine Steel Wool


Any of your help would be immensely appreciated :smile: 


Chairs to be restoredChairs to be restoredChairs to be restoredChairs to be restoredChairs to be restored to match this tableChairs to be restored to match this tableChairs to be restored to match this tableChairs to be restored to match this table

Community Manager
Community Manager

Re: Lighten and Restore Parker Dining Chair

Great find @sarahdawn. They are beautiful chairs. Looking forward to seeing you restore them. Let me tag @Tara86 who might like to kick off the discussion about the restoration process.


Let me extend a very warm welcome to the Workshop community. We are really pleased you could join us and trust that you'll get loads of helpful advice and inspiration for your projects around the house and garden from our clever and creative members.




See something interesting? Give it the thumbs up!
Trusted Contributor

Re: Lighten and Restore Parker Dining Chair

Are you sure you need to change their colour @sarahdawn? I think admirers of mid-century furniture would probably recommend you try to preserve them/ensure their integrity.... 

Budding Contributor

Re: Lighten and Restore Parker Dining Chair

I would give the stripper the flick and stick with good old sandpaper with varying grades of sandpaper to remove the polyurethane finish and base stain.

If you want to wash down (which I don’t think would be needed) use acrylic thinner or mentholated spirits to remove any wax residue before finishing.


Once the original colour has been revealed use suitable stain if needed to match the other furniture purchased and apply thinned coats to build up colour (less is more) with a rubber (when French polishing they use a rubber... cotton wool rapped with cheese cloth. )


Make a rubber


I’d then finish with spray clear polyurethane.

Waxes are not required, however if you have overspray then use if you want to while cutting back with fine steel wool being careful not to buff to much and cause the surface to gloss-up.

Why join the Bunnings Workshop community?

Workshop is a friendly place to learn, get ideas and find inspiration for your home improvement projects