I'm totally intrigued by the colored stains, so I vote for that (for completely selfish reasons).
Me too. Not one to pass up a dare, and also wanting to try them out, that's what we did.
Results of the designers challenge:
Got lucky on this one. I was in a storage room at work, having to work on an old computer, and noticed these 4 old chairs.
A colleague got them at a university surplus sale for a few bucks each, took one or two home, and left the rest at work for future use. That was a couple of years ago. At the time I thought they were a bit hideous - though admittedly very comfy. But, with the post about patio furnture fresh in mind, suddenly they weren't too terrible looking. In fact, a different color, they might be kind of cute. Hmmm.
I emailed her, and she said I could have them - as long as she can join me for a cocktail on the patio next week. Sold! So I had 4 chairs already. They are actually quite nice and well-made (in Vermont!) with entirely split-peg construction. They're high-quality, and as she pointed out, the arms are nice & wide for holding your drink. Also, they kind of sit back and have a HUGE comfy seat.
So the chairs grew on me. Sunday we sanded off the shine (and a lot of graffiti) and started staining them. Ken was awesome with the detail sander - my arms were still too sore from the bricks, so he did most of it.
The stain: so we got opaque (or 'solid') stain from the Ben Moore store down the block. The color was a stock color, but just about matched the accent color for the house - a pale gray with a hint of blue-green. The guy at the store was quite puzzled that I would want to use it for furniture. He thought that I sould use something transparent. I told him they were old crummy indoor chairs we wanted to put outside, and I didn't want to use paint. He said, "If the wood is so bad, you should buy new patio furniture". Wow, Mr. Recycling! So this guy is the award-winner for (1) non-green practices, and (2) trying to discourage me from buying something from his store! Brilliant.
I bought it anyways, and it's very cool. It's kind of chalky, a lot like what we've found & called milkpaint around the house. It goes on like thinnish-paint. It says it dries to the touch in 3-4 hours, but it's a good drying day and I swear it was like 10 minutes! Piece of advice if you're going to use it: don't even think of it as stain - just think of it as paint. Be ready to go quickly, get your brush strokes right immediately or it'll stick how it is.
We think it's perfect for patio furnture or pcinic tables - it looks very vintage and supposedly is quite durable. So 2 thumbs up.
OK, then a table - went to my fave antique store with a bit of stuff on the junky side, and found a simple little number where the top flips up and it turns into a bench. That's kind of a neat feature, but more important - we think that'll make it easier to store. Painted that guy with the stain too, and voila! We had to spend the first evening on the patio with lobsta - of course. Now we'll be recovering (my arms still HURT!) and resting for a while.