I got a serious workout over the weekend!! Remember my church pew turned outdoor bench (post here), well I grabbed my sand paper and power sander and decided to take a stab at sanding her (yes its a girl... a VERY BIG girl) down. I had to sand her down and seal her as the indoor varnish was flaking off after one rain!! See the picture below you can see the flakes of finish. They honestly just fell off of the back of the bench when you wiped it with your hand! Not good.
I pulled out the power sander and immediately realized this was going to take a LOT longer than expected!!! The problem was that the bench has a curved back and curved sides... in other words the power sander was not going to do a very good job on those parts. So using the power of ... well ME... I went to work doing this the old fashion way, with a piece of sand paper and my arm. OH BOY that was a work out. Just to remind you this bench is close to 9 feet long! The only thing I had going for me was that the finish on the back of the bench was already falling off so that part was easy, the seat was the difficult part but even that wasn't too bad.
After 2 hours of sanding I had a beautifully fresh and solid unfinished bench... I also had claw hands, shaky arms and back spasms.... but I was happy! I forgot to take a picture of the bench completely sanded but below you can see the sanded bench with a bit of the new outdoor sealant on it on the right side.
I chose Behr's Premium Weatherproofing Wood Finish in Transparent colour as I didn't want to change the colour of the wood. After talking with the Home Depot guy this was my best/only option as I didn't want to buy a large can of the stuff and this was the only one they had that came in a small can. Also I didn't want a stain, I liked the look of the unfinished wood and wanted to keep it that way. This stuff was perfect! Plus it lasts 6 years outdoors before I have to put another coat of it on.
I opened the can and using a foam brush I started to spread a thin even layer on the bench, it went on very easily and I was pleased until this happened....
Yep my foam brush broke.... BUT it was my last foam brush and I was midway through putting in on the bench and I knew if I left and got a new brush you would forever see the line where I stopped... SO I proceeded with my broken foam brush (it was messier but worked).
About a half hour later this is what we I had! Now it doesn't look much different from before... BUT now its weatherproofed and won't fall apart on us!! Ryan did a second coat of finish on it over the weekend and we plan on doing one more coat just to make sure it lasts. But after the first coat it rained and the bench held up GREAT! The water beaded on it which is exactly what we wanted, much better than soaking into the wood!!!
Now I just need to make a cushion for the bench which I'm hoping to get to this weekend!