How To: Refinish Knoll Bertoia chairs


Bertoia side chairs. (Knoll)
June 13, 2012

Q. I have four Knoll Bertoia chairs. They used to be my kitchen chairs, but for the past 16 years they have been outdoors. As a result, they are a mess. They were originally white, but I spray-painted them black a few years back. They need to be refinished, but I don’t know how to find a place that will do this type of work.

Reston

A. Take the chairs to a shop that does powder-coating, a process of applying paint by using electrical charges, which helps the paint particles coat every bit of the surface, preventing rust. The treatment includes sandblasting off the existing paint, priming and painting with a color of your choice.

Two powder-coating companies reasonably close to you, in Manassas and Manassas Park, are Dominion Powder Coating (703-530-8581, www.dominionpowdercoating.com) and Figure Finishing (866-500-8484, www.figurefinishing.com). Garry Shaffer, who works at Dominion, said recoating a patio chair usually costs around $125. Len McCreary, owner of Figure Finishing, estimated around $80 to $100 for chairs like yours.

Bertoia side chairs like yours helped ignite passion for mid-century furniture design. For his chairs of strong yet delicate metal rods, sculptor Harry Bertoia (1915-1978) won a Designer of the Year award and a certificate of merit from the American Institute of Architects in the 1950s. KnollStudio (www.knoll.com) still makes the chairs, and they sell new for up to $600. Used ones go for hundreds of dollars as well. So refinishing does seem like a worthwhile investment.

Authethic Knoll colors, shown in a brochure you can download from the company’s Web site, are black, blue, green, yellow, red and white, though options available from powder-coating companies include every color imaginable.

E-mail localliving@washpost.com with your questions. Put “How To” in the subject line and tell us where you live.

The Checklist: Read Jeanne Huber’s roundup of home-improvement tasks you should tackle in June at washingtonpost.com/home.

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