Friday, August 23, 2013


Remember this forlorn little step stool from yesterday?  Alex has been sharing a bench with her siblings while this chair has been out of commission.  For a week, I just walked past it and studied it. What the heck was I going to need to fix it? Where to even start?

Photos first, so I could put it back together.  I got the WD-40 and hit every screw, nut and bolt.

I heard some wild laughter coming from the stool.  "You are not even going to budge us with Naval Jelly!"

Maybe the rust was holding it together.

I probably should have saved the vinyl to use as a template.

I was determined to strip it.

I was so confident of my abilities, I photo'd the bottom, so no one would think I switched it out for another chair.

I hoped I would find something to replace the missing hardware.

And the missing feet.

I researched everything that would remove rust and bought it. The big gallon from Harbor Freight was worthless.  The Krud Kutter was semi useful.  I threw in vinegar and potatoes in my foray into MacGyver territory.  I ended up cutting t-shirts into strips and wrapping it around every piece of metal, then pouring the chemicals on it while it soaked for days in a giant plastic bag in the sun.  I forgot to wear my protective glasses and mask when I opened it, expecting some combustion.  All I got was 'bad smell'. Think decomp. You know, the potatoes.  What was I thinking?

After I scrubbed it clean, I started working in earnest, strippers and putty knives, wire-brushing, sanding with a drill and wire brushes, using emery cloth and this is how it looked.  Still not good enough for a little 4 year old to sit on and eat her meals. So many rust spots that wouldn't budge.

 See the empty screw holes?

Back to the internet.  What kind of paint to use as a rust inhibitor that could also pass for chrome.  I used Rustoleum Hammered Silver and painted it on with a brush. And painted it on with a brush. And painted it on with a brush.  Soooooo many orifices. I replaced all the missing screws and bolts. 

The hammered paint has a nice texture with a bit of black in it that does not show the brush strokes.  It finally had a uniform look and the oil base mean't it would not chip off. [I REALLY like water wash up though.] The blue was gone.  Their kitchen is cranberry, but the fabric store only had maroon in a strong vinyl or a cRaPpY cranberry. Plan B: Play up the Chrome and think Stainless Steel. 

The texture of the naugahyde feels like the rubber on a basket ball and will be invincible during food fights.  This chair will be around for another 50 years. Or more.

I added 8 new rubber tips and padded the seat and back. The only cranberry in this photo is on my working garage door!  Have a happy life, little stool.


It's a good thing I didn't look this up until I was finished with it. [I had just clicked over from Wikipedia and donated $3. to keeping information free. Please do.] I looked up Cosco expecting to see that these step stools are no longer made and now are going for great amounts of money on e-Bay.  Not what I found. Here they are at Target online for $53.99 in white, yellow, red, and black.  Ohhhh, I have to so start paying attention to my smart head.

Cosco Retro Chair with Step Stool - Red

The person who was my 3rd and 4th hand on putting this stool back together, is my neighbor Wally. He also cuts my grass and plows my drive, lends me tools and never complains about how bad my yard looks.  Or garage, when it has a tarp covering it for a month. A person could not ask for better neighbors than Wally and Jill. Another thing to be grateful for on my gratitude list.

Here is a picture (from years ago) of Wally holding the sleeping Paddy, who fell asleep while "helping" him cut the grass. Most people would have passed off the sleeping boy.  Not Wally, he cut almost the whole rural lot while cradling my boy. Bless you.

As ever, back in my smart head
La Verne

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