Renovating a lovely, old (ex) park bench…

When we moved to Wales nearly 13 years ago we brought a park bench that had “arrived” several years before, maybe in the 80s, at the flat TOWPCOE had bought off a friend of ours. I had lived there too, in the past, so the bench had been part of our lives for a while.

bench 10

It has sat in the garden looking lovely and being used in the dry, summer months… The surface had become covered in lichen, really beautiful and a fabulous little eco system, however the lichen made it uninviting to sit on when damp, and lets face it that was almost all of the time! (We do live in Wales after all!)

I’ve been trying to take it a little bit easier in the garden, sitting down and enjoying it sometimes, not always rushing about, (as is my wont!) So I decided that it would be good to have a bench that was more inviting to actually sit on. I started with scraping off the lichen, feeling very guilty about it. However we do have a lot of lichen on the trees around the garden so there is still plenty of all the varieties that I scraped off.

bench 6

bench 7

I then found that the grain of the wood was looking very lovely, and felt that it would really look good with a bit of work.

bench 8

So I decided to take the bench into the polytunnel over the winter, I could then keep it dry and work on it whenever I had the time.

bench 5

I started with sandpaper, but found that I wasn’t getting into the grain enough so I went backwards in the process and used a wire “brick brush” to lift as much of the lichen and algae and whatever other wildlife was existing in the wood. I finished it off again with sandpaper. I used the brick brush on the metal, and removed most of the loose rust, although it was too tricky to get into some of the gaps between the metal. Both of these processes took quite a few hours, I’ve no idea how many!

bench 4

bench 3.5

I put one full coat, and a second in some places, of Hammerite rust busting paint on the metal, getting a bit on parts of the wood, unfortunately. Then I treated the wood with Osmo WR basecoat, which is supposed to stop blue stain and mildew, then 2 coats of Osmo UV protection oil, satin finish.

bench 2

bench 3

The colour is a little darker than I would have hoped, I have no idea what kind of wood it is, it certainly doesn’t look like oak, TOWPCOE says it might be elm… It looks ever so inviting, I had to hold myself back from sitting on it as it was still wet!

bench 1

Now we have a very posh looking bench that should be drier, or at least able to be dried, so that I can sit in the garden and enjoy the products of my labours.
Let’s hope the weather is good this year!