Rustic Garden Bench - SOLD

This bench had definitely seen better days! But with a lot of elbow grease and a few fresh coats of paint it is going to last for many more years.

The Story of the Garden Bench

Which became known at our house as The Bench from Hell

The bench was found rescued from my neighbor's trash. I spotted it on my way home from a walk and thought it had possibilities, but it was hard to tell for sure because I didn't want to inspect it too closely and let the entire neighborhood know I would stoop so low as to pick through trash. I do have some pride. So I sent my husband and daughter to look at it and they brought it back for me!

The bench was circa 1989 (apparently a wedding bench with the couple's name and date stenciled on it). It was really in horrible condition. The top board was completely rotted through and the slats were hanging on by a thread. Actually I think the paint was holding it together. The bottom of the legs had some rot, too. The paint was chipping and peeling off. In fact you could grab a tiny piece, pull, and it would peel away in strips. It was sort of fun! Well at first anyways. My husband said he could easily replace the top board to give the bench stability. He also said he could use a grinder to easily remove the paint so it could be refinished. Piece. Of. Cake.

Before: The bottom half was sturdy enough, but the top board needed replacement.
Before: Closer view. You can see the slats are unstable and the peeling paint.

My husband bought a new board for the top and hand carved the joints. He also drilled and carved holes for each of the slats. 

Paint removal

Using a grinder was not effective in removing the paint. Next I used an electric sander. No luck there either. I tried sanding by hand. Still no luck. I absolutely hate using paint stripper and will do just about anything to avoid it. So I started peeling off pieces bit-by-bit over the course of the summer. It was tedious to say the least. Apparently there was some sort of heavy-duty primer underneath with 2-3 coats of paint on top. Overall it came off easy in places but there were still large surface areas which needed to be removed. I considered painting over it as-is but decided there was no way the new paint would hold up. In the end there was nothing for it but to use paint stripper. I did use an environmentally-friendly paint stripper which worked rather well. Nevertheless, it took three attempts to remove it sufficiently.

After re-reading the above paragraph the project doesn't sound too bad. But it was a messy process. And hot in the garage. Really hot. It didn't seem like it would ever get finished. That is when it started to become known as The Bench from Hell. As in, "Hey, how's the Bench from Hell coming along?" and "Is the Bench from Hell finished yet?", etc.  Ha ha ha. Seriously this project took the majority of the summer to complete.

Before: Old paint removed. Easy-peasy.

I need to clean my garage.

Once all the paint was removed I primed the bench and then added 3 coats of Behr Exterior White paint.  But as I mentioned earlier, there was some rot on the bottom of the legs. It still seemed sturdy enough and the damaged areas were not damp, but it looked bad and I didn't want to just paint over it. So I came up with the idea to wrap the legs in metal. I picked up some copper sheeting at the craft store and asked my husband to figure something out. He was able to apply the copper which served a dual purpose -- it covered the unsightly areas but also added some additional stability. There were some sharp edges underneath, so I applied commercial strength felt pads which allows it to work for either outdoors or indoors.


Quite frankly, once it was all done I didn't want to part with The Bench from Hell My Favorite Bench Ever. I learned to appreciate it with its flaws and all. I think it looks great on my deck and we used it around the fire pit for additional seating as well. But my husband asked what is the point of having a furniture business if you keep everything? (I fall in love with every piece I work on). So to the booth it goes. I am secretly hoping it doesn't sell so I can keep it. I will put it on my deck and invite the neighbors over for drinks and see if they recognize their old bench.

After: Copper lining on each of the legs.





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