Continuing with the “curb appeal” projects, I really wanted to turn these two broken and miserable chairs into a welcoming bench. As always happens when I am working on a particularly fun or interesting project, Patrick came home and took over, deciding that my way wasn’t quite good enough. Okay, he would never actually say that, but he did have an awesome way to make it even better. His way was much more difficult too though, so I am going to share both ways. :-)
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I acquired these chairs out of someone’s garbage. That’s right, I’m not too proud. :-)
The caning was in terrible shape. I know some people will say that I should have replaced it, but right, wrong or otherwise, I don’t like the look of caning at all.
So I flipped the chairs over to start investigating.
I removed the bolts and screws,
and was left with just the backs of each chair, which is exactly what I wanted.
I propped them up against some stools so they would stand while I tried to figure out the next part.
I needed to build a frame for the seat of the new bench. This is where my project got a bit more difficult than it needed to be. These chairs were comprised of several decorative angles that required more thought and effort. If you choose chairs with squared angles it would be much easier. If you are any good with a protractor or square, I am sure there is a good way to figure out the angles and simplify the whole thing, but I am more of an “eyeball it” kind of person.
Once I got the angles sorted out, I started using the Kreg jig to drill holes and build a frame.
That is when Patrick came home.
For awhile he was content to just help.
Still using the Kreg jig,
we attached the frame to the chair backs.
Next we needed to make the back rest. I cut a 1” x 4” to size, and used the bandsaw to create two curves that vaguely resembled those on the chairs. Then we used a router to round over the edges for comfort.
I proudly attached this piece
by using the Kreg jig to screw through into the back edges of the chairs… and that’s when he stepped in… (oh wow, I just realized his pellet gun is in the background… fabulous… *insert eye roll*)
This bench is really more decoration then functional seating. Only because our front porch is pretty much never used. I wasn’t concerned about it being super comfortable since I knew no one would be spending substantial time sitting there. None the less, Patrick felt it would be more comfortable if the back rest was curved. I, of course, had no idea how one would make such a thing out of the wood we had on hand.
So I learned a new technique by watching what he did next. He grabbed 2 2x4’s and cut them to the same length.
Then he mixed wood glue and a bit of water on a paper plate, and proceeded to thoroughly paint the glue onto each board.
He stuck them together and very carefully clamped them to dry overnight.
The thorough gluing created a bond that is actually stronger than the wood itself. In other words, we now had a 4x4”. The extra width meant that we had just enough space to cut the whole piece at a curve. Using the bandsaw, he made a new back and a matching lower back rest.
While he was working on that, I got started on cutting and sanding boards for the seat itself.
The first and last board needed to be cut to fit inside of the edges of the chairs. I simply marked the edge and then cut off the corner.
I painted the entire frame while, giving it several coats of spray paint so that it could hold up against the harsh sun and weather. I decided to get a little more creative with the seat slats. I chose 2 different shades of blue and a grey. I lightly and randomly sprayed each color making sure to not thoroughly cover the wood. Once the paint dried, I sanded to blend and smooth the colors, then I covered them with a dark exterior wood stain. I adore the end result!
With the pieces carefully lined up, I drilled through into the frame beneath
using a countersink bit so that the screw head would nestle into the wood of the seat.
I selected an exterior screw that matched relatively well,
and made sure the lines of screws were as straight as I could possibly get them.
I am positively giddy about how well this bench turned out.
It is such a lovely, warm and inviting addition to the curb appeal of our home, with just the right amount of rustic, refurbished flair.
I know you can’t really see the curve on the back of the seat, but trust me it’s there. And he was right, it is more comfortable.
Who knows, maybe we’ll start sitting out there after all. Once I find the perfect pillows of course. :-)
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