|Project by hjt||posted 09-23-2011 12:24 AM||2483 views||0 times favorited||14 comments|
Time for a face lift!
Long before Pam and I met, she purchased two outdoor garden benches. Over time, the heat and rains of Florida had taken their toll; the wrought iron was rusting, and the wood planks had deteriorated.
I removed the old wood and then, using a wired wheel and a flop disk, I then began to remove all rust from the frames. The Dremel came in handy for tight spots. Once satisfied that I got the metal as clean and as smooth as possible; I let it sit outside to gather a little surface rust. The following day I began a three step process of refinishing these metal frames.
My first step was to use a primer/rust inhibitor. Conquest by Chemsearch is a far superior product, but since it is not commercially sold to the public, I had to settle for Ospho. Now granted, the summers in Florida are hot and one would think this process would be a rather quick step – not so. The humidity was so high that (without exaggeration) it was a solid 7 days before the entire surface dried – tack free!
Step two and three was much faster. I used a flat black primer over the Ospho and then top coated with three applications of a Black Hammer Textured paint.
As for the wood work, I had a lot of fun as I got to use several of my dad’s old tools. This project found me using two such tools (his jointer/planer and his old Stanley H-39-B Router) for only the first or second time. I’m guessing the router is from the early 60’s. Someday I’ll write a little blog on that tool. The short story is that I built a router table, mounted the router, ran several test pieces through, as I began to get the hang of it. I then began to run the “good” wood through – the wood that would be used for the benches. On the second pass, the router went “POP” and quit. The brushes gave out. So, over to my neighbors’ to borrow his router and table.
The above photo shows the raw and finished work of the Cypress used. After cutting them to size and a couple of trips though the planner, I sanded them down to 220 grit – nice and smooth. Next I was off to Lumber Jocks to research how to apply a finish. To this point, all of my wood working has been items that needed no special finishing. Thankfully I found a GREAT discussion that was already in progress. Thanks to all of you that contributed to that post – it was very helpful.
I created my own Wipe On Poly using a 50/50 mixture of Helmsman Spar Urethane for Outdoors by Minwax and mineral spirits. With this being the first time I’ve ever done this, it was certainly a learning experience. Special thanks to fellow LJ’s Tim and Charlie, as they both contacted me via email and offered me loads of advice.
And “par for the course,” the benches did not go back together as planned. First off, for some reason, the frames on both benches severely leaned and would not sit straight and flat. I had to loosen the wood and play with it to get it corrected. One finally straightened up, while the other still has a subtle sway. Next I found the wood slats bowed when sat upon. I’m not certain if that is normal, or if I trimmed the wood too thin, or perhaps the cypress was not the best choice. However, I knew one thing for certain, after all this time and effort; I definitely did not want to see the boards break under use.
In talking with Greg, a friend at Home Depot, and a craftsman himself; he suggested using braces under the middle boards.
There were several things I learned doing this project. The first of course was the wipe on poly method. Second was to realize that if I plan to use the jointer/planer on a future project, cut the boards fat and use the planner to smooth and trim to size. And the final thing learned was that no matter how many beers you think it will take to finish a project… it will always take more! (My version of Murphy’s Law) Remember – always drink responsibly.
So there you have it – new benches for da little woman. Now she’ll have to figure where she wants to put them.
And in keeping with my tradition of stretching out every project – this week long project only took 2 months! Not bad!! Recently she asked me to add a few shelves to some existing kitchen cabinets – wonder how long that will take???