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Thread: Help with saving old bench

  1. #1

    Help with saving old bench

    Hi,
    I have this old bench made out of reclaimed wood. I got it from a friend years ago and moved it all the way from Switzerland to Canada with me. I fear it's about to fall apart and some bits and pieces are starting to fall off. It has never seen any oil or finish and is quite rough to the touch. I'm new to wood working and would like to safe the bench. I do have a hand plane. Should I plane it down a little and fill the cracks with some kind of filler and then put some danish oil and bees wax on it? I'll try to post some pictures. Thank you for sharing your experience.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Midland MI
    Posts
    828
    is this for indoor or outdoor use? if indoor I would epoxy coat it, it would fill all cracks and leave a nice looking finish. outdoor, I am not familiar with

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    1,892
    Wow, that's quite a bit of rot... Some interesting spalting. That bench looks like it might have spent a lot of time outdoors in the sun and rain, etc.

    IMHO, the leg(s) needs to be completely replaced. I can't imagine there's much integrity left in the wood to counteract lateral movement.

    The top looks like it could be planed down to solid wood but more pictures of the whole bench, underside, etc, would be beneficial. Without dimensions and some better understanding of how the bench is built, it's hard to say if the planed top would end up too thin. But the bottom 2/3 of that top seems it might be OK. A single wide plank at that.. Maybe after planing the top, it could be laminated onto 4/4 stock to build the thickness back up. Particularly if you want to hang vises on it. tough call. Benches this far gone probably end up as fire-wood or sold for art..

    If your goal is to end up with a solid wood-working bench, give it a go, and if it doesn't work out, you at least ended up with a significant cardio workout..
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    5,582
    It looks to me that this is a new bench made out of old materials as evidenced by the exposed cut ends of the seat and the stretcher. If it were mine and I wanted to use it outdoors I would get some outdoor deck finish (clear), spar varnish, etc and give it a healthy coating. For indoors I would do a shellac seal and maybe a coat of poly. Either way I would jot sand it or plane it - you will lose the character. Best idea would be to leave it alone but outdoors it may not last long

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    667
    I believe that is a sitting bench, not a wood working bench.

    I imagine the OP wants to preserve and keep it indoors. If that is the case, I think only the legs need work and I would do what Cody suggested, epoxy coat it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Middle Earth MD
    Posts
    682
    Making it safe is a matter of securing/reinforcing any loose joints and the attaching members of the bench. Replacing parts as needed.

    Any 'tight' rot (if that's what I'm seeing) that is not around the joinery (structural) and is pleasing to your eye can be treated with a rotted wood preservative/restorer such as Abitron Liquid Wood

    The top can be filled if you like but I'd enhance the repurposed wood, flexible sanding, buffing, oiling and the like so splinters are not a problem.
    Last edited by Tom Ewell; 10-08-2015 at 12:51 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Redmond, OR
    Posts
    606
    To me is seems like planing, sanding it or applying finish to it would ruin it! I would just use it exactly like it is! Like stated above fix any joints that have issues otherwise the best this you can do for it is sit on it and enjoy it!

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