Introduction: Garden Bench Refurb
This project started when I was talking with my landlord about a bench he has at his other property. It was rusty and rotten but I could see the potential. He ended up letting me have it for free because it wasn't safe to use and a bit of an eye sore.
I had to remove one side to get it into my car. But here is what I started with.
Everything was disassembled and measured.
I don't have every tool I should have used but I made due
The tools I used for this job:
2 x 1x6x8' cedar boards
Marine quality Spar varnish
Black matte spray paint
Nuts and bolts and screws
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Step 1: Cutting
I started by cutting my two boards to the desired length with my miter saw to make handling them on the table saw easier.
I ripped all the boards down to be 2.5" in width. Leaving me with 8 identical pieces of cedar. But the side parts along the back are only 2" so I took my 8th board and ripped off another 1/2 inch which I took back to the miter saw and cut down to size of the original sides plus 1/2" extra on both sides because I decided I was going to create a rabbet joint for increased stability because the only thing holding the original sides on was screws ( the bolts are in the top and bottom board)
Step 2: Sanding 1
I sanded everything with 80 grit sandpaper. I used some scrap and a work table to make a jig of sorts to hold each piece with out having to clamp
Step 3: Routing
Since is spent a lot of time selecting boards that I felt were the best for the project I spent a little time deciding where I wanted each board to be placed.
4 of the bench boards were routed with a 1/4" bit to round over the top edges
The last board which is to be the front board of the benched received a 1/4" round over and the other received a 1/2". To make it more comfortable.
For the back I only rounded over one edge with a 1/2" bit. The rest remained square.
I then created my rabbet joints to connect the top and bottom. This was done with a 3/8" bit to cut the slot and I used the fence to trim down the access on side pieces to fit.
Step 4: Dry Fit
I wanted to get an idea of what the final product would look like before is started the finishing stages and I'm glad I did. I hadn't noticed that the back iron was not square and had access iron in some spots so used my router to shave 1/8" off the bottom 2/3 of the inside edges of each of the back boards. I also use my wood chisel to fit the iron snug where there was that access iron. Then I finished the dry fit and was happy.
Step 5: Drilling & Sanding
Next up was drilling and finish sanding
I used the old boards as a template and drilled all 14 holes with a 1/4" bit
Then I sanded and sanded and sanded with first 120 grit then 220 grit what flat edges I could with the same set up I did with the 80 grit for the routed edges I sanded them by hand. I wiped them all down with a dry rag to get any residual dust off
Step 6: Wash, Paint and Varnish
Since this bench was intended as a gift for my parents I asked my dad if he wanted the cedar to fade to gray or if he wanted the color locked in. He chose the later so I went online to how best to protect cedar from the elements and everywhere I looked it looked like marine quality spar was the best choice for UV protection and to seal out the elements.
I tested the finish out on a piece of scrap from the board I used to create the side pieces. After I let it dry over night and was satisfied with the finish I started my first coat
As I let the first coat dry I finally turned my attention to the iron. I sprayed down the iron with a vinegar water and dish soap concoction I found online and started scrubbing with a fine brillow pad. The rust wasn't as bad as I thought so after an hour or so I had nice clean cast iron and fixtures.
I followed the instructions on the varnish to apply the second coat.
The next day I sanded the wood to apply a third coat and spray painted the iron and fixtures now that they were dry.
I ended up doing four coats mostly because I ran out of time and the humidity was so high it needed more time to dry.
Step 7: Back Assembly
I knew I was transporting it in pieces but I wanted the back intact for transport. So I glued clamped and screwed the boards to the back iron and let it dry for a day before I had to deliver it.
Step 8: Final Assembly
Was easy with all the prework. Had to drill some pilot holes for the hardware and forgot a box of nuts which made for a quick hardware store visit. But it turned out great.