Outdoor Wood Bench Makeover

It has been a busy summer of projects for me and this was one of my easier ones. This handmade outdoor wood bench was given to us by a friend a few years ago and because it was unfinished, it quickly started to dry out and age from being exposed to the elements.


Aside from being exposed to the rain, cold and heat, one of the biggest problems we encountered with letting this unfinished bench sit outside were the wasps eating away at it. The wasps made sitting on the bench for any length of time almost impossible and finally demanded that action be taken.

This project took about 2 weekends for me to complete, doing it in my spare time and allowing for drying time. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Hose down well to remove loose dirt, sand and grit
  2. Let dry completely
  3. Sand well
    1. I used a combination of rotary sander and hand sanding to get this job done. The sides to the slats are the most tedious part of the job but don’t be tempted to skimp out…sanding is important! I started with about 120 grit and ended with around 400, especially in the seating area
  4. After sanding is complete, rinse well again and let dry completely.
  5. Brush on a healthy coat or 2 of a good wood conditioner and let sit for 24 hours.
  6. Stain using a brush or cloth, adding a few coats if necessary to reach the desired color. Let dry.
  7. Check for any final rough spots – sand if needed and wipe clean.
  8. Apply an outdoor polyurethane and let dry. Repeat at least 3 times.
  9. Smooth any final rough spots with a fine sander
  10. Done!


Isn’t she beautiful?

My husband was thrilled to see the final results of this bench, as it was one of his friends who blessed us with it. And I’m happy to report that I can finally go outside and enjoy sitting on it with a good book and glass of wine without the wasps driving me batty. (battier?)

I hope you all have enjoyed your summer. I’m in a bit of denial that it’s almost October but at some point, I believe life has to wind down and recharge. Are you ready for it? I sure am.

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