School Desk Chairs to Outdoor Bench

First, I have to start this post with an apology. I normally think of myself as a very organized person, but when I sat down to write this about two hours ago, I found that my photos are anything but organized! To compound things, I have two cameras as well as the camera on my iPhone and I use three different computers based on where in the house I am and what I am doing. Those two hours were spent trying to locate the photos to go along with this post. (I guess I know what I am going to work on next!)

I cannot even locate the ‘before’ photos. And I know I have them. Somewhere. Sigh.

I found one!:

So, while this is not the actual item, it does represent what I started with. Or rather with four of them:

wooden-school-desk-and-chair-the-bchairb-is-made-of-bwoodb-bb

I picked these up a year ago this past summer and have been moving them around in the garage waiting for both inspiration to strike and some free time.

The middle of November found me done with my professional contract and now having time. The ultimate goal was to clear out the small garage stall in order to bed my sports car down for the winter and these chairs were currently taking up a lot of space. I had moved them to the larger side of the garage and I had lined them up, hoping for some inspiration. What happened was they were bumped around until them ended up out of line and that is exactly when I got my idea. A curved bench.

Since there were four, I figured I could use one as ‘parts’ to fill in the gaps between the chairs. (I swear I have some really good photos of this process!) I disassembled the most damaged and least attractive, but they were all really in good condition. Using just my eye and a band saw and sander, I started to fill in the space between the chairs. Once I had the pieces cut and sanded, The Kid drilled holes and we used wood dowels and glue to attach the dowels to the chairs and then attach the chairs to each other. (Dang, I wish I could find those photos!)

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This was way into the process – almost done, in fact, but you can see what I mean about filling in the gaps between the chairs. The front of the chairs actually touch, so I used a couple of metal straps to attach them.

At that point, the whole assembly was sanded, primed and painted. I used the deep red/burgundy color as it was intended to be placed on my front entry and my door is this color. (Or at least it was when we bought the house… it too, needs a paint job.)

Then came the process of creating the seat. I started with two 12″ wide boards which were glued and joined together. I placed the original seats into their original location and then laid a scrap piece of wood across them and screwed them into place. Then I placed that assembly onto the wood prepared for the new seat.

dscn4811

I then traced around the seats so I would know where to cut. It did take a little finagling to get the new board into place but it eventually got there. Then I made a line on the front and sides, allowing for about an inch overhang. I kind of do this with guesswork and experience from other projects. I also like a little extra to allow for sanding and possible re-cuts.

The Kid then gave it a nice rounded edge using the router, and then it was a matter of sanding all the edges smooth as well as the seat top. I didn’t worry too much about the underside, since it wouldn’t be seen. It was given three coats of a medium/medium dark stain.

To help protect it from the elements, it was given not just two or three coats of polyurethane, but five! This included the actual chairs as well. While there is some protection from the elements on my “porch”, it is outside and I’d like to last for a while.

Then it was just a matter of placing the seat back onto the chairs assembly and using the original screw holes, attach it nice and firmly.

Viola! It was moved into place and we were done!

Now, I don’t claim to be an expert, I am more like my Dad who just tried things and learned what works and what doesn’t. I am not a stickler for the details, so don’t look too closely! 🙂 There are places where just a little more level or a little less sanding might have added to the overall project, but I like how it turns out and that is what matters!

dscn4822You can see that the door has faded… come next spring, that is on the list!dscn4821You can see the slight curve of the seat… I wanted something different from what everyone else does and I like how this worked.dscn4820For the seat, pine was chosen for the 1″x12″ boards. You can kind of see where the saturation of the stain soaked dark on the edges and where I missed cleaning off all the glue on the seat. But that is what makes it unique and special.

The front entry has a tiled ‘floor’, which i did when I first moved in. It gets slick in the winter from water, ice and snow, so we put down nice mats to prevent falls.

By the way, I still have the four original seats and desk writing arms which are from a very nice solid hardwood. If you have ideas on what I could do with these, I am all ears!

julie

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About MacCupcake

Obviously, a big Mac fan (my first Mac was the first Mac) and mother to the most awesome kid in the world. A techno-junkie and self-proclaimed geek... I love anything and everything relating to computers. Also love making things and figuring out how to make or adapt existing stuff into something new! Always ready to try something new!

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