Saturday, June 20, 2015

Somethings Old, New, Green, Redo!

Church Pew Redo

I found this wonderful church pew with at least five coats of paint at the Lake County Fairgrounds Antique Fair. The seven-foot length will be perfect extra seating on the backyard deck. I just loved the funky layers, two shades of brown-tan, the varnished oak, a cream, a turquoise and the country blue.


Let's get started on the redo. DIY Ladies, this will be totally doable on your own, except for moving the pew, as oak anything weighs a ton. 

The pew was sound, but I reinforced the legs by pre-drilling holes and inserting deck screws and wood glue from the inside out to keep the wood from splitting at the seams. I drilled a series of holes for drainage in the rear of the seat.

It's wise to use a mask and gloves when working on old finishes, many before the seventies contained lead and other harmful substances. Chipping paint, while a romantic 'shabby chic'
look, is a true hazard to a curious toddler. 

After a vigorous scrubbing with Murphy's wood soap and hot water, I scraped and then I orbital sanded with 60 grit to remove all the loose paint layers and even out the finish. The  shop vac and a damp cloth removed all traces of dust and debris. The surface is  finally ready. Tip: remember to wear a mask when emptying your vac and change the filter before using it again.

I applied two sparse coats of Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane-clear semi-gloss (indoor/outdoor) varnish. We intend to use this on the back deck for extra seating--so much nicer than tripping over folding chair legs.

Ready for sealing.

Church pew seat and Helmsman Varnish with sponge brush

The Helmsman varnish is very runny, and needs to applied quickly in thin coats. I used sponge brushes (not recommended on the label) to avoid carrying too much varnish on the tilted surfaces. Sponge brushes help to soak up excesses instead of pushing it around. I had no significant deterioration of the sponges, other than normal wear from an irregular surface. I used two sponge brushes for the two coats. They don't last long, but I save the handles to use as dowels for other projects. 

Some drips occurred, but this can be brushed out in the next coat. I only waited two hours between coats, as it was a very warm and low humidity. After curing the two coats for a week, the finish is very tight and very shiny. 


Waterproofing the legs
Tip: Weather proof the legs by submerging the wood into large oil drain pans of  Cabot's Wood Toned Deck and Siding Stain, 19200 Natural. This soaked in nicely and used almost a full quart of stain/sealer. This project will be on a raised deck, but this step is absolutely necessary for furniture in contact with dirt or grass.

My husband and I have a difference of opinion on the 'look' of vintage furniture. While I'm thrilled with the existing patina, he would like to see this pew solid country red to match the doors on the shed. Temporary compromise; the existing finish has to be stabilized, so he has agreed to give it a chance as is and it can always be painted in the future.

This is just one of a history of marriage challenges between a pocket-protector husband and an artist wife, LOL.

PS: After a month the finish has mellowed and the shine has gone way down. 
I can't wait to use it every day, come join me for a cup of your favorite!
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  1. Hi Sandi! Thanks so much for dropping by my blog earlier today. I see you are a new blogger. Love this post about the church pew--that blue is gorgeous! You're obviously an old hat at DIY. Welcome to the neighborhood :)

  2. Good find and awesome tips and ideas ! Thanks si much for the visit!


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