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Eames Fiberglass Shell Chair Restoration Project

My First Eames Fiberglass Chair

My First Eames Fiberglass Chair

Now that I learned how to restore the Eames fiberglass shell chairs, I decided to tackle another project. I was going to restore one of the two orange arm shells I purchased online a few years ago. I have been using one with a rocker base and the other with an Eiffel base. After the purchase, I used a fiberglass cleaner designed for boats to clean and polish them. They were not as shiny as I wanted them to be, so I decided to try the restoration method I learned from a website called “chairfag.com” to restore the fiberglass back to its original luster. It’s a really good website that walks you through an arm shell shock mount removal and fiberglass restoration with a lot of pictures. If you are planning to restore your shell chair, you should definitely check it out.

Sanding the Chair

Sanding the Chair

I set up a working area outside, since it requires a wet sanding. I pulled a garden hose and filled the bottom of my chair with water. Gearing up with a safety glasses, a mask and a pair of thick vinyl gloves, I started to sand the chair with a fine sanding block. With the garden hose, I wet the area as I sanded to prevent fiberglass dust from getting all over the place. There were some tiny paint spots on my chair I didn’t notice before. I got rid of them by sanding the chair as well.

Cleaning the Chair

Cleaning the Chair

Once I sanded the entire chair, I rinsed it with water and gave it a sponge bath with Oxyclean to remove the embedded dirt as much as possible. Then I let it air dry.

Applying Penetrol

Applying Penetrol

The next step was to coat the chair with a product called “Penetrol” that I picked up at Home Depot. To do this, I moved the working area to my porch. The porch was a perfect spot as it was well ventilated and had a minimum effect from the wind and dust. Penetrol is an oil paint conditioner that is also used to restore fiberglass. I first applied the coat to the bottom of the chair and let it set for a few hours. I then attached the base, flipped the chair over and applied Penetrol to the rest of the chair.

Before

Before

The chair is now shiny and looks much better than it was.

After

After

Disclaimer – this post is just to share my experience and not intended as a tutorial to restore your chair. If you are restoring your chair, I would recommend you research well before tackling your restoration project.

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