Rescuing a wrought iron garden bench

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The rescued garden bench, as good as new!
The rescued garden bench, as good as new!

It’s constantly amazing to see the things that people throw away. A few months ago, we saw the wrought iron sides of a garden seat abandoned on the nature strip. The iron was a little rusted but still in pretty good condition, but clearly the wooden slats had rotted through.

Instead of fixing the seat, out onto the street it went! It seemed too lovely a thing to go to waste, so I collected it as the basis for a good weekend project.

The wrought iron sides, cleaned and repainted.
The wrought iron sides, cleaned and repainted.

The starting point was to clean the wrought iron sides. I could’ve done this with a steel brush, but used a fancy attachment to an electric drill instead. I then repainted them with a water-based paint that included rust inhibitor. Quick drying, this only took half a day of elapsed time.

I’d measured up the slats on a friend’s similar garden bench, and new ones proved easy to source. Heading down to the local timber yard, I discovered the size I needed was pretty much the same as standard hardwood decking.

That gave me a heap of wood options, and I ended up choosing ironbark, simply because I liked the deep red colour. These just needed to be cut to length, with three of the slats trimmed down to a more narrow width (for the first and last slats on the seat).

The slats laid out for oiling.
The slats laid out for oiling.

After drilling the holes for the bolts, I treated the slats with two coats of linseed oil. This is brilliant for outdoor use, and incredibly cheap.

Some general stuffing around to bolt everything together, and the result is the seat shown in the first photo. It now sits at the bottom of the side garden, and it looks rather handsome.

Total cost? Approximately $90 for the wood, $40 for the paint, and only a few dollars for the bolts. Call it $130 in total, which is a fair bit less than a new one, and the lovely wrought iron is saved for another generation.

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