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Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/Repair an outdoor bench


Hello Greg,

I recently acquired an outdoor bench, the sides are iron and the slats are wood.  It's not an antique but I like the looks of the iron sides, I looked around and haven't seen anything like it, so I thought it might be worth replacing the slats which have rotted.  There are 10 slats that are 1" x 3" (0.75 x 2.625) and 3 slats that are 1" x 2" (0.75 x 1.625).  What are my options?  I plan to put it on my patio and leave it outdoors.  If you would like to see what it looks like, let me know.  Thank you, Clark

Hi Clark, I have a thing for these benches as well, and have restored several of them, even the Chinese knockoffs that have the cast iron sides.There is nothing "off the shelf" that will fit this need, and so my replacement of choice is Mahogany, as it weathers well, and lasts a long time. A good and fairly inexpensive source is 5/4" Mahogany decking boards,because they are readily available in large quantities at any good lumber store. Some resizing will be necessary, meaning access to a thickness planer, etc....usually 7/8"- 1" thick smooth Mahogany slats with a radius edge will look fine, be almost impervious to weather, rot, and insects, and be very strong. I go to my local higher end lumber company, and search out the twisted and damaged Mahogany decking boards that the other Contractors have tossed to the side of the pile, and very often they will negotiate with you for a reduced (sometimes GREATLY reduced) price. Last time I think I negotiated 72 cents a foot for 5/4" x 6" decking, so I got enough to rebuild the bench for around $21. It takes a little planning and picking to get the necessary materials out of the castoffs, but with a chop saw,table saw, a thickness planer, (and maybe a router or router table), you can easily and quickly mill out the pieces you need to do a really good quality, and long lasting replacement. Without access to these machines, you will have to be a lot more creative, or possibly have the pieces milled by someone else.....but getting the Mahogany inexpensively, is a first step...if you don't have the skills or tools, or access to someone who does...then you're going to have to start coming up with REAL money to get replacements made somewhere, and it will likely get quite costly.Then application and maintenance with a penetrating oil finish, (Flood, Teak Oil, or other outdoor drying oil) will keep it in good shape for many years,...Hope that helps a little, please post back
Regards, Greg

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Greg Scholl


Questions on Woodworking, wood finishing and refinishing of all kinds, repairing furniture and wooden objects, Architectural details, Woodturning, carving, tool usage, product usage, some chemistry as it applies to woodworking and related interests,cabinet making and furniture construction/design, etc. I have experience with all manners of colorants, finishes, paints, stains, dyes, glazes, and coatings, wood species recognition and usage,tool recommendations, blade types and recommendation,techniques and methods for many Woodworking related issues, etc.


Fine furniture restorer and cabinet maker for over 30 years,serving high end Antique dealers, Interior designers, Collectors in the CT area. Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.) Sold, built, serviced, setup Home, Industrial, and Commercial stationary woodworking tools for a major tool retailer in CT. for three years, sold hand and power tools , provided knowledge, parts replacement, service, and on site service, Trade show Demo, and training as well.

Published in Fine Woodworking Magazine (12/97), included on Fine Woodworkings first "Best of Fine Woodworking" CD-ROM (2002) ...("27 year compilation of expert know-how")

Art School at Silvermine Guild in Norwalk, CT., 9 year apprenticeship in a European run Cabinet and Restoration shop in CT., various classes on subjects having to do with the field. Seminars from major Tool manufacturers, Skil/Bosch, Delta, Powermatic, Ritter, Porter cable, Milwaukee, Dewalt/B&Decker, Performax.

Past/Present Clients
Many varied clients including work on Martha Stewarts' Westport, CT. show house, many fine Antique dealers and private collectors in and around Fairfield County and in Woodbury, CT. (the Antiques capital of CT.), Golden Age of Trucking Museum,Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.), local Museums and Historical Societies. For the last two years I have been employed with Schwenke Auctioneers Inc.- Woodbury Auction LLC., as a staff photographer,IT tech,and doing restoration and repair work as well.

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