Chipped and cracking wooden benches are no fun to look at, much less sit on. With some simple cleaning and restoration techniques you can learn how to keep a wooden bench in good shape, as well as repair it if necessary.
Maintaining Wooden Benches
Wooden benches suffer from weather damage just like any material. Being that they spend a great deal of time in the sun and rain, the protective coatings on such benches can degrade. Garden benches which do not have sealer or varnish are even more susceptible to damage. Regular cleaning and occasional restoration are needed to keep your hardwood bench looking fresh.
Weather-Guarding a Wooden Bench
When a wooden bench has become chipped and worn, the wood underneath has direct exposure to the elements. To restore the bench, the old paint or sealer must be stripped off. Using a hand sander, strip the old paint off of the weathered bench. Many wooden benches have slatted seats and backs. Use a rolled up piece of sandpaper to get in between these slats. After brushing off the particles wash the bench with a hose and let it dry.
Before re-painting, apply a layer of latex or enamel primer to the entire surface. The primer creates a nice sticking surface for the paint to come. Finally, paint the bench with a color of your choice and let dry for about two days.
Building a Wooden Bench
The most simplistic wooden bench designs only need simple straight edge cuts using a jigsaw, some screws and a drill. Pressure treated lumber, cedar and redwood are popular woods because of their durability and resistance to weather damages.
A basic bench starts out with a set of square frames for legs. After three to four leg frames have been created, the seat section can be constructed. This is done by laying several flat wood beams over the top of the legs and securing them down using boards on the sides. Elaborate curved designs can be achieved by using a scroll saw.
Measuring for cushions is quite simple. Use a tape measure to gauge the length and width of the seat surface. You also need to know how thick of padding you want. These measurements can be matched with cushions available at any outdoor furniture retailer. Bench cushions are secured to the bench using straps and ties built into the cushion. For longevity of the cushion, detach it from the bench and take it inside when not in use.
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