So, the holidays are over. I hope all of you enjoyed your holidays in whatever way you celebrate. Things were pretty quiet around the house, we mostly just relaxed.
But there was crafting going on here as well. I was able to complete several projects, as the weather was pretty mild and allowed me to work in the garage most days. And this allowed me to complete a project that I have been looking forward to… a project piece for me!
Some time ago, a church here in the KC area was doing clean up work on one of their warehouses. They were giving away a bunch of wood items: pews, chairs, tables, trim, desks, doors… you name it. I came and went at least three times over a period of a week. One of the pieces I picked up I knew I wanted to keep, but often the projects done for me take a back seat to the projects that I sell or do for others.
But now as I am working diligently to clear out the garage and my foyer, I made time to work on this piece. A pew. This is solid wood and heavy and simple in its finish. I opted to make my bench five feet long – it could have been longer or shorter, depending on the seat, there were so many to choose from. I could have used a weight support to make it longer, but I really wanted just the five feet.
So, this photo shows the two ends, the supporting center and the actual seat and back of my pew. We must have had these in the garage for at least six months now… it always seems that projects I do for myself keep getting pushed back on the ‘to do’ list.
Initially, I wanted to refinish the pew. After about eight hours of sanding, it was pretty clear that the wood beneath it wasn’t going to be best for staining. I debated back and forth about what color to paint it… the off-white color of my house’s interior trim, my very favorite Deep Space black or of course, “Kitchenaid Red”. Red finally won.
Now all these months later, we started on putting it together. Of course, being the optimist I am, figured we’d just slap it together with glue and screws and be done in a matter of a couple of hours. This was not to be.
When we picked out the pieces of furniture we wanted to buy from the church, it was me and The Kid. I walked around this huge warehouse just pointing and deciding on everything I wanted. I noticed that the pews ends and seat/backs were numbered, like a giant jigsaw puzzle just waiting to be put back together. Little did I know when I sent The Kid back down for the second load, he didn’t pay attention to the numbers and just grabbed the nicest looking ends and seat/backs. Well, they didn’t go together like we hoped.
The ends came with a bit of the former seat still in the grooves. You can see it in this photo to the left. I knocked those out easily enough – they were there to keep the grooves from swelling. But when it came to replace them with the seat/back that I had, they weren’t the same angle or length.
I had to widen and extend the grooves to the shape and angle of the seat/back that I had. Out came the router and other than bumping into a nail, it was a breeze to enlarge the space. The left side was first and not really knowing what I was doing, I did make the space a little too large at some points, but when it came to the right side, it was perfect. So well fitting that I could slip the seat/back into the groove and it held on its own!
I could have cut the seat/back into two and used the center support, but that would have meant having two seats of about two and a half feet rather than one long five foot seat. Its a beautiful piece of wood, though, I will do my best to use it in another project.
Now, it was time to permanently attach the ends to the seat/back. Using wood glue and screws, The Kid put together one end and then using the weight of itself to hold in place. The we flipped it over and attached the other end.
Oh, did I mention that hours and hours and hours of sanding? Thank heavens for electric sanders, for I know I wouldn’t be that enthusiastic about wood working!
Ready for priming. I settled on my old favorite (remember I’m keeping this piece!) red although I didn’t have any gray- or pink-tinted primer. I was quickly reminded why a tinted primer works best under red.
Without the tinted primer, it took more than four coats of red to cover the pew. Even after moving it into the house, in different lighting, more areas were identified and I actually ended up painting almost another full coat!
I am thinking about putting a row of low growing plants underneath it, if for no other reason than to keep it from filling up with shoes and bags and junk that gets shed when people come into the house (right next to the door to the garage as well as the front door). I am determined to keep this area clear.
I have more projects to unveil, it has been a busy week while everyone’s been celebrating. I’ve been having fun as well.