Leg-o-Matic Chair Refresh


Vintage Leg-o-Matic Folding Chair

Have you ever heard of a Leg-o-Matic folding chair? Because I’d never come across one of these amazingly engineered, compact chairs until recently at a church sale, where I was ironically on the hunt for grad party seating! (Read more about church sales in “For the Love and Comfort of Church Sales” and “Church Sales 101”) And join me in my first ever Thrifty Chicks Junkover Party with 6 other talented DIYer friends! The links to their projects are at the end of this post!

When I saw a bunch of chairs en masse, I scooped them up, making sure they had all their parts. Not until I got home did I notice the label on the bottom of their seats:

Leg-o-matic vintage folding chairs

Leg--matic folding chairs.

With a little search, I found out they were made by the Leg-o-matic Company from the 1940’s -1970’s and were heavily used in Airstream Trailers because of their compact size when folded. My version seemed to be made out of maple, and although looked well used, were in fairly good condition.

Although I liked the retro colors of the original vinyl seats, there were paint splatters that could not be remedied, so I decided some new fabric was definitely in order. The wood frames were dinged and dented, and the clear coat finish was chipping off. I decided some light sanding and a fresh coat of poly would bring back the beauty of the pretty wood. I just couldn’t bear to paint these cuties.

Folding chair mechanics

Leg-o-matic chair folding mechanism.

screws in chair leg

As Mr. Fix-it added a few screws to strengthen some spots, he marveled over the well-engineered folding mechanism on these chairs. Despite being a little rusty, the hinges worked well and functioned smoothly.

After a light sanding with 120 grit paper in my palm sander, the character of the wood was beginning to show. The chairs had definitely been touched by plenty of sticky fingers, so a good scrubbing followed.

Maple chair back.

Whenever I am applying paint or poly to chairs, I always start on the underside (like I showed in “How to Refresh and Enjoy Vintage Metal Lawn Chairs”).   If you make any mistakes, you can remedy them when you flip them right side up.

Upside down chairs.

Always begin your paint or poly job on the underside of your chairs.

And in between sprayed coats of poly, applied with a Wagner sprayer, I cover the nozzle with a wet paper towel and a ziplock bag so it won’t dry out while I’m waiting (and usually working on another project). One of my favorite applications for sprayed on poly is on old rusty metal. You can see the big pile of great junk I polyed in my post, “Wagner Sprayer”.

vintage folding chairs

vintage chair

A couple of light coats of poly sprayed on really brought out the beautiful warm tones of the vintage maple. These chairs were happy to be getting a makeover!

As I chose a fun fabric for the chair seat pads, I was mystified by the hand written note on the bottom of the seats…

Chair seat pads

Who or what was Belle Good, and why would someone write that they stole chairs from them, for all to see? Don’t think I’ll ever know the answer to that mystery, but it makes the vintage chairs all the more interesting, don’t you agree? I decided the vintage Leg-o-matic label with the sharp-dressed lady demonstrating the folding technique, definitely could not be covered up with fabric (like I usually do), and the “Stolen from Belle Good” needed to be seen also, for conversation’s sake;)  I decoupaged the label securely on and brushed on a liberal coat of poly to seal it all in.

Then I stapled on some cute new fabric, carefully folding over the edges so everything looked neat from the back. (Because you know they’ll all want to check out the story on the bottom!)

Bottom of chair seat.

We reunited the newly covered chair seats with their refreshed frames, and voila’…I have 7 more seats for our upcoming grad party! (See the details in my post, “Grad Party Planning Tips, The Decor”)

Vintage Leg-o-matic chairs.

Vintage chairs, refreshed.

And I’m joining in with 6 talented and creative ladies every second Wednesday of the month to share our themed projects! This month we’re featuring projects with chairs and I can’t wait for you to see them all!

Thrifty Chicks Logo

Click on the the names of their projects to check them all out! Here are their “Before” pics to whet your appetite:

chair project collage

1. Debra at Shoppe No. 5, “What Can You Make With An Old Chair?”

2. Diana at Adirondack Girl at Heart, “How to Turn an Abandoned Chair Seat into a Farmhouse Sign”

3. Kandice  at Just the Woods, “Painting Outdoor Adirondack Chairs with Home Right Finish Max Extra”

4. Me;)

5. Marie at The Interior Frugalista, “Playful Scandanavian Half-Painted Chairs”

6. Tania at Little Vintage Cottage, “Repurposed Dining Chair”

7. Tuula at Thrifty Rebel Vintage, “Repurposed Chair Birdfeeder”

And a big shout out to these ladies for including me in the fun! It’s a whole new adventure to be included, and I’ve so appreciated their encouragement!

And don’t forget to…

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vintage folding chairs

Linking up with these lovely parties:

Wow Us Wednesdays 

Friday’s Furniture Fix

Talk of the Town 

Farmhouse Friday

Vintage Charm


DIY Salvaged Junk Projects 

Sundays at Home

27 thoughts on “Leg-o-Matic Chair Refresh

  1. I remember from years ago, people would write stollen from ( name) on their OWN items, to identify them. so it’s very likely that Belle wrote that herself. Love these chairs!


  2. These chairs are amazing!! New-to-me, too 🙂 Great refresh and how-to tips, Lora, and that fabric! Love it. You’re going to have the world’s best seating at your graduation party–


  3. I’m glad you didn’t paint them! Sometimes, it is nice to keep things in their original finish. Although I LOVE painting furniture, haha! I bet that “Stolen from Belle Good” was put there so that if anyone took them from Belle Good, everyone would know it was stolen!


      1. I second what Cait said. My first thought was that Belle Good must’ve been a funny or at least sarcastic lady who didn’t want her chairs to go missing. I bet she never thought pictures of her handwritten claiming would one day be posted where people across the world could see! Too funny!


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