The Bench


The bench out front of the house was looking pretty ragged with the paint about all flaked off. You would think repainting a bench would be an easy project. Well it was the last time (make that two times). The problem was the paint job would only last the summer. So I decided I should do a more thorough job.

The bench is part cast iron and part wood. Only the wood part needed painted. I thought I’d wire brush and sand the old paint smooth and then repaint. I could tape off the cast iron part. After a while I decided I could not clean the wood well enough without taking it apart.

So I started taking it apart. The slats where you sit were not too bad except for some rusted bolts that took a little work. The same rusty bolts held the back on. They came off with some work also. The trouble came taking the wood off the cast iron on the back. It was held on by wood screws through holes in the iron into the wood. I had a couple break off on me. This caused a bit of off colored language to come from my mouth. I was glad there wasn’t an Amish buggy going by at the time.

Next I took the wood and cast iron from the back to the basement leaving the frame setting out front looking a little strange. I started to wire brush a couple slats for a while and took a break till the next day.

Back to it again I got the slats about cleaned up wire brushing and sanding. The front slat didn’t look to good on the one end and after cleaning it up. I had some wood about the same thickness and width that I cut to length to replace it. Then I had to soften the one edge since it was the front slat and where your legs dangle over. I couldn’t find the right tool (I need to organize), but did get it done with a file and a lot of sanding. Then I had to drill a couple holes. That wasn’t bad, but then I had to have the holes bigger on top for the bolt heads to sit in. I didn’t have a drill bit big enough. I ended up using a router bit to do the job. It worked out ok.

Next I started painting the slats. I wanted to do it right so I started with primer. I did one side and the edges and after it dried I did the other side. I did the same with two coats of the regular paint. After all that I put them back on the bench.

So far so good, a good bit of work and more time than I expected but going fairly well. Now it’s time to get to work on the back pieces. I got the one broken screw out after about an hour of trying. I had three of the four pieces ready to wire brush and sand, but the fourth proved to be a problem. After a lot of trying I gave up trying to get the broken screw out and made a new piece for it. This was a bit more work than the other piece. I did get it done and felt a bit of accomplishment. Then I got the pieces cleaned up and painted.

Now it was time to put the back back together. This was going ok after finding some replacement screws for the broken and missing ones until the last side piece. I was putting in an old screw and it broke off. After an hour of trying I gave it up and made a new piece for it. Then I had to sand and paint it.

After all that I got it all put back together and it looks fine. I was hoping to get it done in a couple days; it ended up being a couple weeks. I sure hope someone sits on it before I have to start the whole thing over again.