Now that the bench has most of the structural issues taken care of it’s on to the lipstick. There are plenty of things I could/should do first (deadman, bench dogs, etc) but honestly I couldn’t wait any longer to get some shine on this old girl.
The issue that you’re presented with in working on old items like this is how far do you go? There are a 100 years worth of dings, dents, and dirt on this bench, to remove it all, in my opinion, would be a terrible shame, but to leave it all, would effect its performance. The goal is to find the happy medium.
The top of the bench is the area that concerns me the most. There was a lot a grit, grime, glue, and goo… and paint. But more concerning than the crap that has amassed on the bench top was the top itself. The laminated boards were not perfectly flat. There were slight ridges and valleys between each glue line. So I made my main objective just to get rid of these.
If I were making a new bench my goal would be to make it perfectly flat and flush all the way across, but I was afraid doing so here would require too much material to be removed for my liking. And if I want later on, I can always remove more material, but it’s a pretty big challenge put material back.
Weapon of choice? A Stanley 80 scraper.
There are probably better/faster tools, for this job, but I’m just learning about hand tools, and didn’t want to screw this up by going to town on it with something more aggressive.
After about 25 minutes of effort here is where I ended up.
This resulted in the table feeling relatively smooth. No ridges. Pleased.
Next up, she needs a good warshin’
Weapons of choice? Water, Rag, GoJo, and worn out ScotchBrite pad.
The whole bench got a good scrubbing. A light spray of water, a quick wipe with the rag, GoJo applied to the pad, scrub, and then wipe down again with damp rag. How effect is it? Pretty effective.
After a lot of elbow grease here is were we ended up.
The black spot in the tool well is the rotted area that got an ample dose of CA glue.
Two areas that didn’t get scrubbed were the partial labels that I found the stretchers. I taped these off, and gave them a shot of clear coat spray paint, to preserve what was left of them.
I let everything dry completely over night, the next morning I did a quick wipe down with denatured alcohol (I am not sure this step was needed, but whatevs). That night she got the BLO treatment. This first application was heavily applied, and that old wood just drank it up. I’ll follow at least the first step of the BLO recommended application – Once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, and then once a year. So I have 6 more applications to go.
Here is what she looked like when she came into the shop.
Here is what she looks like after the first application.
Next blog I’ll be address the lack of deadman.
Thanks for reading.
-- I came - I sawed - I over-built