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Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Restored and Refinished Antique Theatre Seats

Restoring and refinishing a beautiful set of antique wood and cast iron theatre seats!

Years ago, I bought an awesome set of antique theatre seats that I have displayed in my mudroom.  The mix of wood and cast iron adds a touch of warmth and an industrial vibe to my vintage modern decor. 

Since then, I've bought and sold a few sets of wood theatre seats, but until recently, it had been a while since I come across another set. 

Last week,  I finally had the opportunity to buy another pair of antique wood and cast iron theatre seats.  They were in need of some much-needed TLC, but I knew they had potential and would look amazing after refinishing. 

refinished antique theatre seats

Just look at that detail and character! 


- Set of antique theatre chairs 
- 60/150/320 sanding pads for sanders
- Varathan Special Walnut wood stain
- Simple Green (or similar cleaner)
- Paper towels/shop towels

I bought these antique theatre seats sight unseen and took a chance that they were in decent enough shape to restore.  Luckily, they were in great condition with only minor issues and a bad stain job.

antique theatre seats before

antique theatre seats before

I've written in the past about how to properly sand wood furniture, so I won't go into too much detail about the sanding process.  For more information, you can read about sanding tips and common mistakes to avoid when sanding and refinishing wood furniture.

For the theatre seats, I started with an orbital sander and 60-grit sandpaper.  I sanded what I could with the orbital sander then switched to a detail sander and hand sanding.  I started with 60-grit sandpaper then worked my way up to 320-grit sandpaper.

sanding antique theatre seats

sanding antique wood and cast iron theatre seats
Once I got the seats down to raw wood, I cleaned them well, and applied a coat of pre-stain wood conditioner, two coats of Special Walnut wood stain, and two coats of water-based matte poly. 

special walnut wood stain

staining antique wood and cast iron theatre seats

I thought about painting the cast iron bases black, but ultimately, decided to keep the character and wear of the original finish. 

refinished wood and cast iron antique theatre seats

restored antique wood and cast iron theatre seats

refinished wood and cast iron theatre seats

refinished wood and cast iron antique theatre seats

The theatre seats were restored beautifully and I know they will look absolutely amazing in their next home! 

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how to restore antique theatre seats


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Would you like to comment?

  1. They look AWESOME!!!!! Great job!

  2. Omgoodness! Amazing! I love these...absolutely beautiful!

  3. They are beautiful! Great job!

  4. I just love your home and your restorations! You are my favourite.😃 How does one even find these type of seats? I found some 1930's white enamel lockers😁😁. I thought of you. Thank you for sharing so much with us. Blessings💕