Ideas For Weathered Bentwood Rocker Frame?

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Q: I just got a bentwood rocker frame for free from some coworkers at my studio, but it's been sitting outside for the last year, and where I live, that means it got rained on. A lot. Luckily, I think the chair is still in fairly good shape and the water didn't eat through the wood but just the finish, although some of the curves will need a little putty to fill in empty spots. Now that I have it, I am at a loss for what to do with it! 

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I am not averse to painting, refinishing, sanding, etc. and I even like the driftwood color of the wood right now. Should I paint it? Stain it? Sand it? The chair has channels for a cane seat and back, but I would prefer an upholstered seat (mostly because I know how to upholster, but have never worked with cane). Any ideas on how to make a solid base that I can then upholster? Any advice would be appreciated!

Sent by Ashley

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.