The folding Mayan chairs have gotten very dark and stained, and my list of tasks this spring includes cleaning and restaining them. The wood is cherry. It has held up well to the elements but has darkened in different areas, so even with cleaning and a good sanding, the wood may not stain evenly.
What if I painted them instead?
It didn't occur to me until I saw these similar chairs painted blue on a blog called Sarah's Rental Cottage. They look fresh and modern.
Wouldn't my chairs look great painted? Not blue -- but maybe dark red?
I headed off to the new Ace Hardware in town. It's a small store, locally owned by a franchisee. It's more expensive than Lowe's or Home Depot, but easy to navigate and more like the old hardware store of our memories.
A very quiet, helpful man got me the outdoor furniture cleaner I needed, steel wool, brushes, and the right kind of paint with primer. I waffled between a barn red and a brighter color, and finally picked the bright red.
When he custom mixed it I looked at the result and gulped. Too pinky . . . magenta, sort of. I know paint dries darker, but the tone wasn't what I wanted.
He offered to fix it by adding darker tint and the two of us worked on that can of paint like it was commissioned by Michelangelo for painting a ceiling or something. But in the end it was a no go. So he said let's start over -- I'll go mix up the barn red alternative.
I offered to pay for the rejected quart of custom mixed paint but he refused. He said they donate unsellable paint to art schools. After more than half an hour of working patiently with me, I finally had a quart of dark red paint that was just right, and everything else I needed.
Ace Hardware is simply aces in my book.
I came home, cleaned the chairs with the special cleaner and steel wool, used the hose to power rinse them, and left them in the spring sunshine to dry. It was too cold to paint (only in the 40s).
My nieces are both in art school. I should have bought the rejected can of paint outright and donated it myself to them.
I wonder what they could have created with a quart of magenta toned bright red outdoor latex gloss paint?