Rustic Wood Benches Will Be Invited Inside for a Place at the Table!

7 Materials
8 Hours
Like the gentle beasts of Noah's Ark, benches seem to come in by the 2s! These benches had seen some battering rains and would now be matched up with an beloved family table. Perfect seating for a vacation cabin.
Task - match stain color of table
This is a very old family photo of the dining table. Before selfies on a stick -teenagers never liked having their picture taken by others...

Gather materials:
Lead testing kit
Paint scaper
Sand paper of varying grits
Chip brush
Folk Art Home decor chalk paint
MinWax Polycrylic
It was necessary to strip the old paint off the top. Citristrip is a wonderful smelling product that makes quick work of the paint removal process.
Before I let the client unload the benches, I had him go to the local Ace Hardware store and test the paint for lead. There were several layers of paint so he did three test. All Negative!
After some preliminary scraping.
Some of the paint was very loose so I wanted to remove as much of it as I could before using too much stripper or too much sand paper.
If paint is old and loose scrap paint off
Try to keep the angle as parallel to the surface you are scraping as possible. This will keep you from accidentally gouging the wood. Stripper is effective but it is wet and can warp wood. Sanding with an orbital sander is quick but you run the risk of creating an uneven surface or nicking the wood. Sometimes you only have very little wood to work with as is the case with veneer.
Change sandpaper often to achieve consistency
After paint was scraped, and stripped, I opted to use my block sander because the wood was going to be the star of the show. Start with a 100 girt and work your way to 320 grit.
Wipe away saw dust with a damp rag & let dry
The client had a very specific shade of stain he wanted. The shade needed to match a wood dining table which resided in his cabin in South Lake Tahoe. Once the surface to be stained is clean and dry, use a chip brush and apply stain till saturated. Wipe off excess. Repeat.
Perfect match for the stain color! Onto painting the base.
The client wanted the base of the dining benches to match the green color of the front door of the cabin. Due to all the nooks and crannies of the base , I didn't strip the paint, but I did sand with 100 grit. Wiped with damp rag and immediately started painting with Folk Art Home Decor chalk paint. I put this bench up on a work table. No need to strain your back.
Seal stain & paint with a polycrylic finish
Before sealing let stain and paint dry completely. Apply several coats of polycrylic to any surface which is going to be high traffic. Here the seat portion of the bench. Make sure to let each coat of polycrylic dry and sand with 400 grit sandpaper in between coats to achieve a smooth and wipeable surface for those inevitable spills. First one done!
Second one done. The benches really do look like twins now and are ready to be part of the family!
Resources for this project:
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