O.K. kbuzz! (Remember, you asked for it) :D
I teach skiing full-time at a small ski area in Southeast Michigan. I've skied there since I was a child and over the years have come to know and like pretty much everyone who works there. Last summer they removed the very first lift that the ski area had. Scrap metal last summer was pretty valuable, so the entire lift (with the exception of just a few chairs) was sent to the scrap yard.
This past season, I was talking to one of my friends who works year round at the area and I mentioned how bummed out I was that I missed out of getting a chairlift, and that I was going to start looking online for one. Then just about 4 weeks ago, I got a call from this friend saying that a chair was waiting for me, but it needed a lot of work. I'm so mad at myself for not getting a before picture, but it was really rough! All of the wood was rotted and had an inch of moss growing on it. The arm rails were all bent up and any paint that was left was peeling off.
The first thing I did was to power wash the heck out of it. That pretty much took care of getting all of the critters that had made their homes on the chair over the past decade or so. Then I had to use bolt cutters to get the screws out of the frame that had held the wooden slats for the seat and back rest. That was followed by using a good steel brush to get any remaining paint off of the entire chair and lift. Next came the hand sanding. That took a few days. My arms are still sore! :) Priming was fun and easy. Home Depot came through with the exact size boards that I wanted, they were even rounded on the edges. Choosing the colors was tough. I wound up on my Facebook page asking my fellow instructor friends to help me out with that one. The snowboard instructors helped me out the most on this part. They all decided that it should be done in a Rasta theme! (Bob Marley -- Big Surprise ! LOL :D). So there's the chair part.
As to the creation of the tower to hang it from, that credit goes to my terrific husband and his buddy. They found a 14 foot steel beam and a 3 foot beam to match. Welded it togeter and put a support in the corner and Wha La, chairlift tower.
Total cost for everything; under $100 in the wood, sand paper, primer and paint. Hours spent on it; probably 30.