I decided to save myself a whole lotta headache and leave the wood alone. Instead I would sew new cushion covers for the chair. I was looking for a soft yet durable home decorator's fabric at a fantastic price (in fear that I would mess up and waste a ton of money onthe fabric). So I went to Jo Ann's and just so happen to find the last 2 yards of the perfect clearance fabric that was an additional 50% off. I paid $6 for the fabric. Fantastic, right?
Here is the chair now.
I should have taken photos of the process but I was kinda figuring it out as I went and doing it all with a toddler in my way. I basically covered the old cushions tightly with the new fabric inside out. I then pinned it, sewed it, and turned the fabric right side out and sewed the back or bottom seams. I tried to follow the layout of the old cushions but also make it more modern by skipping the buttons and trim on the new cushions. I think it turned out better than expected. And the ruffled pillow (from Pier 1) helps add a little pizazz as well. Not bad for $6, right?