Garden Bench Restoration 2022

Made at 173

Much like the post wrapping up the fence replacements from 2022, this post is about another project that was completed during that same time period.  This is the quick story of the restoration of the garden bench, which was really showing signs of aging.  Let's get into it.

A Little History 

Way back in 2001we replaced the old chain link fence with a wood fence.  As with all projects there was leftover material, and of course we're all about using stuff up!  One day we were at a nursery looking for some perennials and maybe a tree when we saw a gorgeous, simple garden bench.  After asking the manager of the nursery permission (so as not to look like a weirdo) I pulled out pen, paper and a tape measure and started making a diagram.  Using nothing but leftover lumber, this is what came about (sorry for the picture quality - you know...2001):

It's an incredibly comfortable bench and has stood the test of time with some 22 years of sitting in the weather.  Of course there's some maintenance involved - a good cleaning now and again, a fresh coat of stain every couple years, and replacing the seat boards a time or two, and I replaced the back board and seat back in 2012.  Here's a shot before being re-stained...

And here's a quick look at the simple framing that has largely been untouched all these years!

Condition in 2022

Ten years after that last overhaul, the bench was (like me) showing its age.  There was moss growing on the back, the stain was worn through...

...and if you look closely at the edges of the seat, the boards had cupped a bit:

It was starting to look an eyesore!

Time for Action 

As you may have read in previous posts, and as was referenced in the the first sentence of this post, we replaced the fences last year.  While we were at it, a new potting bench was also built.  New and freshly stained fences, and a beautiful new potting bench, well - the back yard was starting to look mighty fine!  Except for the garden bench.  The first thing I did was replace the seat boards.  This time around I decided to go with a little narrower boards, thinking this may help reduce the cupping.

Next I reinforced all the joints in the frame, for the first time since - ever!

As an aside - I used these railroad spikes of a screw:

Here's what these screws are used for as described by the manufacturer:  Heavy duty structural applications such as LVL and deck substructure, as a replacement for lag screws, and other remodeling applications. For use in interior and exterior conditions, and the GRK Climatek coating is approved for use in treated lumber.  These screws are beasts, and should help the bench live for another 20 + years!  

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Going the Full Mile

Well! New seat, and the frame reinforced for the apocalypse - I decided to just go all the way and take the whole bench down to bare wood.

I'm not a big fan of sanding - I just don't have the patience for it.  But in this case, I just took out my sander and some 100 grit sandpaper and went to town.  Now, it's been a year so there's the possibility I'm misremembering, but I think it only took about 20 minutes to take the old stain off!

Here's a few more posts about the Garden Bench at 173:
Back at it - Garden Bench Repair - July 01, 2012
Legacy Project: Garden Bench (From Leftovers!) - August 21, 2011
The Hint of a Patio? - May 21, 2013
You may also like - Shabby Chic Phone Stand - Made at 173

Let's Add Color

With a blank slate, the garden bench was ready for a fresh look!  We could have gone with just about any color, but the bench had always matched the fence, so we decided to stay with what we had just used on the new fences

The stain (for the record) is Valspar's semi-transparent Pinebark which had a slight orange tint to it, and was a very close facsimile to the color the original fence had matured to. 

Its Natural Habitat

And at long last, here is the practically brand new 20-some year old garden bench in its natural habitat:

And here's a final shot of the bench in its milieu - looking from the back stoop!

Hey - thanks so much for stopping by and - see ya' next time!
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