Change outside bench into a chair

We’ve had these two outside benches for years, Cast iron ends and Sapele slats to hold them all together. The ends have been powder coated and they have served us well. But its time for a revamp. Its Summer, which means BBQ time, covid 19 permitting that is.

Taking things apart

The Sapele wood is so rotten that it didn’t take too long for that to be taken off but the problem was taking off the rusty bolts, The machine screws that were holding the support brackets on weren’t too bad. I got a drill bit in my drill which was about the same size as the machine screw and drilled it in the part you would put the screwdriver. It

holds the drill bit, which is a high-speed steel bit, in the right place, and after a few seconds, the bit has gone through enough for a tap with a screwdriver and it’s off. The rusty bolts holding the timber slats on were a different story. I have a reciprocating saw, which I put a metal cutting blade in. Some of the bolts stayed still and I cut through them with no problem, but some span around, and the blade would not cut at all, so I cut a piece of wood,50mm by 25mm approx 150mm long. I hammered the end of it into the bolt so the bolt buried itself into the end grain and that would hold the bolt long enough for me to cut the nut off.


After cutting off all the nuts and bolts, it was time for the cleanup. I wiped down the cast iron ends with wonder wipes, If you cant get them soap and water does just as good. I had a wire brush attachment for my drill so I went all over the ends with that and got rid of rust spots and stubborn bits that wouldn’t come off with washing. Please wear goggles and a face mask or respirator. Although most paints are harmless but the particles are bad for the lungs and you don’t know what chemicals are used in the paints in other countries. I hand sanded some of the rust patches to smooth out any chips. I finished off by wiping the ends down with Acetone for a final clean.


Now, I don’t profess to be a sprayer but I try my best. I set up two trestles and a pipe running between them and hooked the cast iron ends on to the pipe with wire through one of the bolt holes. Im using acrylic car spray, only because that’s what I had. I first gave it a coat of grey primer, leave to dry then two coats of acrylic black topcoat, and left to dry over night.

Preparing the timber

I`ve had a large section Meranti wood in the workshop just waiting for this project. First I had to machine it down. First I had to work out if I was going to get two chairs out of the timber, and it worked out that there is enough but no room for error, damn. I ripped it all down to size plus a few millimeters for planing. I squared things up on the surface planer then to thickness on the thicknesser. I then drilled all the holes and countersunk the heads for the new stainless steel machine screws.

Applying the finish

I have an unhealthy obsession with OSMO, you would have guessed that if you have seen any of my other videos. OSMO is a part wax and part oil finish. It comes in many different types. The one I have is called poly-x hard wax oil, its a clear matt finish.There many different ways to apply the finish but I use a way that I saw on a video.

The first thing you need is some none abrasive pads, If you use brillo pads you’ve had it. You would have to re-sand from the start again. I brought the none abrasive pads from eBay. They come in A5 size packs. I cut these into five equal strips. Before using the OSMO you need to give it a good stir, also you need to stir every so often during use. The first is the applicating pad. Dip this into the OSMO and start rubbing to the timber, When you think the OSMO has all gone into the timber, keep going. You will be surprised how far it will go. If you have any drips, it will dry a white colour and ruin the whole effect. the second pad is for smoothing out any drips that have occurred on the first application. Keep going till the first pad gets soaked then throw that away, use the smoothing pad as your new application pad and get a new pad for the smoothing. Keep going like this till all is finished. Make sure you get some into the bolt holes because this is a week point for the water to sit. After finishing, leave to dry for 24 hours and add another coat.

Assembling the chair turned out more trouble than making it. Getting 24 nuts, bolts, and washers all to line up and to finish it off, I head-butted a cast iron table which was right next to me and knocked what little sense there was in my head out.

I will leave a link to my video below for you to watch and feel free to look at some of my other videos on my YouTube channel.