For the seating on one side of the table, we are using an old church pew, but we had a long way to go before we were ready to use it. Like most salvaged items, we had to go through several long steps to refinish it.
One of the first things we did was to apply wood putty to all the really damaged areas. Since we’re painting this, it was easy to make the 130+ year old pew look a lot less chewed up this way.
We talked about it and some preparation steps here.
We also had some repairs to do. One side had a broken piece of trim on the top.
We had to trim the pieces a bit to make them fit better and then we just glued and clamped it until it was secure. A little wood putty helped smooth it out, after sanding it of course.
The next steps were to make the arm replacement for the armrest on the other side of the pew. The decorative scroll was broken and missing.
I started with a 4″ x 4″ square block that was a scrap from the legs. I cut it slightly wider than the arm rail, to leave room for sanding. Next I traced out my design on the block. This would have been much more difficult without having the other side as a template. I used a Jigsaw to cut out the rough shape, then finished with the finer details, like the slight inward taper on the bottom. After a lot of sanding by hand, I used chisels to create a groove on the bottom side of the armrest. This was to match the original.
Then we were ready to attach the armrest. I set it in place and pre-drilled the hole for the screw. I applied glue to both surfaces and then screwed it in place.
We used wood putty to create a smooth transition from old to new. At first, it looked pretty rough:
Instead of doing a thick coat, you’ll want to do several thinner ones, letting them dry fully in between sandings.
Finally, it was nice and smooth.
After sanding and re-applying several times to get it nice and smooth, we were ready to paint.
We started by priming it with our Zinsser, bottom right of this photo.
Here’s the difference between coats one and two of primer:
There was one more piece of the pew that we wanted to change structurally, the base.
The three legs did not have matching trim on them, so we pulled it off and discovered a lot of wood rot on the outsides.
So, I came up with a plan to cut it off and add new trim. First, I needed to cut off the old, rotting wood with my new circular saw.
After cutting the bottoms off, I was ready to add the new spacers and trim. I cut down some new spacers to the same specifications of the pieces that were cut off. Then I used MDF to create the trim.
I put them together and attached them to the pew with screws. Afterwards, I filled the holes and cracks with wood putty, sanded and primed them.
Then, we used our new paint sprayer to apply a few quick coats. (We’ll be back with a review of that later.)
Then, we wanted to make sure the finish would last, so we sprayed several coats of spray lacquer. I started to apply the same polyurethane that was used for the tabletop, but it had a very slight yellow tint to it, which Melissa didn’t want. I quickly wiped it off before it dried. So don’t make this mistake.
All that was left was carrying it into the kitchen, Melissa was pretty excited.
She got busy adding the cushion that Melissa made with her Grandma Lois, and adding pillows.
She got these from Gordman’s several months ago and has been saving them for the kitchen:
She made this one with her grandma to match the cushion. I’m not a fan of the ruffles, but she likes it.
As a finishing touch, Melissa added our own carving to fit in with the other random carvings covering the back of the pew, which we left unpainted to preserve the character:
Here’s what she added:
Eventually, she wants to add some storage underneath the pew. We’ll be on the lookout for some baskets because while she tired the crates:
and our storage ottomans:
But we do need to get some baskets eventually, because these options weren’t that great.
Finally, a shot of the pew with the table:
And another angle:
So there’s the pew, part two of the table project completed. Now just to finish the chairs! We’d love to hear what you’ve been working on recently. Feel free to share your projects below!