Restoring a vintage metal glider can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only will it feel like you’re travelling through time when you sit in it, but you’ll have the knowledge that you’ve put something back together – something that might otherwise not exist anymore. It can also be a fun hobby to share with family and friends, or even start a side business. With the right tools and materials, restoring a vintage metal glider can be an easy and enjoyable project for anyone who loves tinkering with things.
Growing up in western Pennsylvania, my grandparents lived in a farmhouse and my parents had a house on the same property. The farmhouse had a sun porch with a vintage metal porch glider, and my grandmother and I would often sit on the glider in the summertime and talk.
I’ve been on a hunt for a vintage metal glider for my screen porch.
Where to look for an old metal glider?
I searched at local barn and yard sales, antique shops, Craigslist, and E-bay. These gliders are getting hard to find and when you do find one, they can be pricy – even with multiple layers of peeling paint and rust.
I really wanted a full size glider, but wasn’t having any luck finding one in my price range.
Other places you may want to look are estate sales or your local public auction. You can find a lot of vintage pieces to bring back to life at any of these places. It’s amazing how a good coat of paint can bring new life to your old sling glider.
Where I found my 2 seater glider
When I found this two seater on Craigslist for a reasonable price, I decided it was worth the drive to take a look. The glider was in pretty good condition with only some surface rust. The price was right, so we loaded the glider in the minivan.
On our way home; we dropped it off at a local sandblasting and powder coating company to be restored.
About a week later, I was driving by one of my favorite antique shops and outside there were some vintage metal spring chairs.
I quickly pulled off the road and saw that one of the chairs matched my glider!
I ran into the shop and asked the owner about the chair and she told me that she had another one like it at home! One was a spring chair and the other a rocker, but both were the same pattern and matched the glider. I asked how much she wanted for both chairs – $30!
Tips to Restore a Vintage Metal Glider
I thought about attempting the restoration myself – sanding and spray painting. After a few phone calls to local companies; I found that they could be sandblasted and powder coated for a reasonable price. The cost to sandblast and powder coat the set was only $150 (at the time of writing this post) and the quality is so much better than what I could have ever done myself.
I decided to keep it simple with a soft off white color and add color with throw pillows and blankets.
So, don’t hesitate to spend a few minutes and make a few phone calls to your local companies to see if they can help restore it for you.
Otherwise, you’ll need to find a way to sand your glider down. Depending on how much sanding you need to do to your vintage pieces, you may be able to get away with just a few pieces of sand paper, or you may need to get your sander out (or rent one if necessary).
Then comes the spray painting. If you’re a chronic DIY-er you may have a professional paint sprayer that you like to use. Or, you can go the old fashioned way and stock up on some cans of spray paint to paint your glider with.
Before you actually start the restoration process, you’ll need to get a heavy duty sponge, some hot water and your dishwashing liquid of choice. Add your dishwashing liquid to the hot water and use your sponge to thoroughly clean off any visible dirt, grease, or grim from your old glider.
Once you have cleaned and thoroughly dried the glider, you can grab a wire wheel and get to work removing any rust that you see on the glider. If you have persistent rust that you can’t remove with the wheel, you may need to get some phosphoric acid and apply it to the rusty areas. Let the product sit on it overnight before washing the chair again as you did before with the hot soapy water. This time, you’re working on removing any leftover acid or chemicals.
Once you’ve prepped your chair properly, place it on a drop cloth and now you can do the fun part- the painting of the chair.
My metal glider and chairs are on the screen porch, which was also painted. Before, it was hunter green and now is a bright white with a grey/beige floor. You can use whatever paint color you decide on that will match the area that you plan to use your metal glider in.
What pattern is your glider?
The pattern of this set is called Piecrust and it’s my favorite of all the different styles of vintage metal furniture. I found a similar restored set on Etsy in this pattern for $1750! I paid a little over $300 for the three pieces and that includes the restoration!
What are other glider patterns to look for?
Gliders come in all sorts of patterns. A few patterns I had seen that I thought were nice while I was hunting for mine were:
- a sunporch glider with a basket weave pattern
- a porch glider wheat bundle pattern
My metal glider and chairs are on the screen porch, which was also painted. Before, it was hunter green and now is a bright white with a grey/beige floor.
Here are a few more vintage style posts you might like: