Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Restoring Casalino chairs

Over the past month, my roving eye has been searching for two vintage Casalino chairs to use on our deck.

Casalino chairs were designed in 1971 by Alexander Begge for Casala and are made from moulded plastic. It was the outdoor chair to have in the 70s. And for me, it is the outdoor chair to have in the 2010s.

They have a great cantilever shape, are stackable up to four chairs and weatherproof.

As part of my search, I've been harassing Katherine from theoldboathouse and doing random drive-bys in suburbs with hard rubbish collections. Look, I even dabbled with....(Gasp! Was that thunder I just heard?)...buying replicas!!

Before: these Casala chairs are a pale blue and green

Well, the search is over. I bought two vintage Casala chairs on ebay (which was very silly, since I paid too much for them). But then there were another five for sale in Saturday's paper. I bought those too (because they were a good price). So now I have seven chairs.

Not sure what came over me - I must have Casala fever!

I'm now restoring them. Apparently the done thing is to take them to a panel beater and have them re-sprayed with 2 pack paint. It makes them glossy and more durable; even better than brand new.

The chairs are in reasonable condition, so I felt I didn't have to do this step. The chairs were just extremely scuffed and grimy, but they hadn't achieved that super-chalky texture which occurs on these chairs.

Check out the filth!
The first step was to give them a thorough wash with warm soapy water (I used dish washing detergent and a green scourer). With a bit of elbow grease, this lifted off most of the marks. For the really ingrained dirt, I used a spray on mold remover, left if for a few minutes and rinsed it off. Make sure to wear gloves and long sleeves to avoid fibre-glass itch when you're scrubbing.

With the power of Google, I discovered that a cut and polish suitable for fibre-glass would help restore and protect the finish. We used Autosol but there are a couple of other products which do the same thing. Just rub  it on and polish off.
Image from here
The stubborn marks came off easily and with a clean towel I was able to buff the chairs, creating a nice low sheen.

The chairs don't look like they are over 30 years old and equally important, they don't look brand spanking new.

So far, I'm really happy with the result. They've certainly come up a treat, but I'll keep you posted about how the finish lasts.

After: the finished pale green and blue Casala chairs. They look fantastic now!

Two of the five white Casala chairs. These have been cleaned but not yet cut and polished.


  1. They look amazingly good!

    Must have been very satisfying to have found them and then cleaned them up to the state they're now in.

    You are meticulous!

  2. I can't believe how wonderfully well they've come up...extraordinary. Well done you! And aren't they the most beautiful shape too.

  3. Good job! I've seen some of these chairs in pretty bad condition and thought to myself, that is in the too-hard-basket, but you've proven me wrong. Imagine if the original owners knew what they could look like with a bit of spit and polish.

  4. How spruce! And now you need to choose cushions...

  5. Well done you! They look fantastic. Have a great 'first day of Spring' day today.

  6. Well done!! i too have a chair fetish.... Looking out for a nice reading chair to squeeze in a corner somewhere......

  7. Well done! they look fantastic and will be so good on the deck. I can imagine how great they will look from the view from the kitchen too and the white is great. You know how much I love these chairs and will have to tell my ebayers about that product it has done a great job!! That is the only drama with mid century plastics etc...the restoration and these came up a treat.

  8. I am amazed at how good they look. Good on you for going for such an interesting, stylish shape. So much better than most of what is available new. xoxo

  9. They are absolutely rad and you've done a great job of restoring them to their original beauty. These come up on German ebay every once in a while, they might be a good option for our balcony.

  10. Your outdoor chairs have come up wonderfully. Well done for persisting and finding exactly what you wanted. xx

  11. Thanks so much for this!!! I have 3 and am looking for 5 more to complete my outdoor setting. I was planning on the the 2 pack route and getting them painted glossy red! But will polish up the 3 I have until I build up a full set and then get them sprayed.

    Also I spoke to a family member who is a boat builder and he suggested a plastic undercoat with a regular red on top and then a varnish should do the job. I was thinking of hiring a spray gun to do it.

  12. Looks so good! It always feels great to polish up an old piece and make it new again.

  13. The Casala gods were smiling and not a moment too soon. Now you can retire those three sad directors chairs :) Great job on the refurb!

  14. What an amazing restoration job. Well done at doing the hard work and seeing the results.

  15. What a fabulous find, you know a girl can never have to many chairs, especially with such a fabulous deck to entertain on. Looks like hard work but certainly worth it!!!

  16. wow, intense. lots of work but they look amazing

  17. Don't they look fabulous!! The same age as me but far less wrinkles and a whole lot more stylish!!

  18. Thanks for all your nice comments.
    Ross, I'd be interested to hear how your red chairs turn out when you complete your set.
    And Jo, my deck chairs are destined for the next kerbside rubbish collection.

  19. Wow I'm very jealous. They look amazing and what a great shape. Are these chairs an Aussie thing? I wish they'd made their way across the ditch, but don't recall seeing any.

  20. Hello, I have two old grubby chairs. I think they have been painted in the past and this is worn. How do I remove paint without ruining the original finish of the chairs (as most paint strippers will ruin platic). And how do I repaint or will they be able to be polished once the paint is removed? Thank you Jac

  21. Hi Jac, I'm not sure what you'd do with casalas which have been painted. I would wash and scrub them first and sand them back with sandpaper and try to get it smooth. I would then take them to a panel beater (car re-spray place) and see if they would paint it for me. I hope that helps.

  22. They look great!
    Thank you so much for your restoration tips. I have a white one which had gone chalky and 6 cream ones in my father-in-law's garden shed!
    We were visiting him one day and he pulled them out of the shed and asked if we wanted them for the new house. I think my response was "Oh my god! Maybe we could take them with us today?"...... Well, this was 2 years ago and he hasn't mentioned them since! I wonder if he changed his mind about giving them away when he realised they were cool?

    What do you think I should say?

    I agree, they are great chairs and yours look fantastic!
    Oh, I keep seeing your famous fence in the paper. bravissimo!
    J x

  23. Thanks Jodie! I'd be asking for them if it were me and then I'd have them sent to a panel beater to be resprayed white or bright yellow. They would look stunning. They are such a great looking chair.xx

  24. Hello, lovely job on your chairs! Wondering if yours are marked on the bottom? I know the new ones are marked Casalino but haven't seen a vintage 1970's one marked. Just bought two which are def old (yellowed & show age) & hoping to get more info on authenticity. Are anybody else's out there marked????? Can't imagine they would have made fakes way back then; they def look to be made in the 70's. Help! Thanks in advance!

  25. Hi Mileidy, There were two manufacturers during the 70s and early 80s in Australia. I have some which say Winton Plastics but I'll have to check under my other chairs to see what the name of the other company was. xx

  26. Hello, I was lucky enought to be given 4 chairs (the Winton Plastics ones) they were cream but I have resprayed them white. Simply the best designer chairs ever.

  27. We have 4 white casala chairs and in the past 6 years have had to wash and scrub them twice. They keep getting the grey dirt patches and my wrists don't want to do another scrub. So can I just spray paint them or do I need to take them to a panel beater.


    1. Hi Judith, They are a pain to scrub. If you want the finish to last then I'd take it to a panel beater. You could spray them yourself but some friends of mine who did it like that say the finish is not hard wearing. xx


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