Soooo... I have been wanting to blog more about some repairs that I come across in my makeovers so that you guys at home can see what goes into taking old pieces and making them new and beautiful again and so you can see that, yes it takes a little patience and skill, but most repairs are pretty straightforward and manageable.
This first piece is a bench seat that was actually in the front hall of my childhood house. I always loved it, it had beautiful floral carvings and details that made it so pretty, but more importantly it had a secret compartment! It's so funny how something as utilitarian as a storage bench can seem so magical and fill your little mind up with wonder when you are a child. It was actually just full of junk all the time, forgotten drawings from my brothers and I, lost toy parts, those kinds of things, but I loved opening it and searching through it anyway. The other thing I remember about it is that these items were always trying to escape through the giant crack that ran the length of the bottom.
The bench - in pretty rough shape
Well about a year ago my brother, who originally inherited the piece from my mom, asked me if I wanted to give it the makeover that it deserved (Uh, YES!!) and, well, it has slowly been buried under various storage boxes and other shop projects ever since. I think I was nervous about actually getting started, does anyone else get like that? The scariest thing for me is a blank canvas. Why is it so intimidating drawing the first line, or touching that paintbrush down? It's like that secret compartment I guess, it can become anything you imagine until you define it... Ok, whoa! This is getting to deep and philosophical for a simple repair blog so let's get to business already.
The first thing I did was remove the old base, which in this case was screwed in all along the bottom perimeter. If it had been attached with nails or some other method I may have had to hammer it out from the inside or cut it out depending how it was originally put in place. Once that was finished I noted the measurements of the original base in my phone so I had it when I went to get the new piece cut. Normally I would buy the replacement material and cut it with the table saw at home (or bribe Nate to do it), but ours is momentarily broken, which is great for you guys who may not have access to those tools because I ended up at Home Depot, and had them do it for me. For free, and it was a breeze!! They even cut my extra pieces down so they would fit in my car. Honestly I might just get them to cut stuff like that all the time now, I hate using the table saw. It is the one tool that I have learned to use that still makes me feel like I could easily cut my fingers off...
This particular base fits right into the bottom lip of the bench, so I used my rotary tool to cut the corners to fit around the bench legs and into the bottom. You can measure the part you need to cut off or, if you are like me and often f@*# up measurements, you can take the easy way and simply trace the old base to get an exact size quickly. While I was tracing those I also made a mark where each existing screw had been and later pre-drilled those holes for easy installation.
The bottom - before repair New board - cut and ready for install
Next I took advantage of the fact that the base was off the bench and again traced it, but this time onto some fancy new paper I just bought and adhered it to the new bottom so it would have a beautiful lined interior when all was said and done.
The new piece - lined The new bottom - installed
Finally, I slid the new piece into the bottom side of the bench, let out a big sigh of relief because it fit perfectly and fastened it with the original screws! BAM! Done.
I think I will try to do these repair posts as a weekly (or bi-weekly) Friday special so there is a little cache of techniques to reference when needed. Let me know what you guys think. I am grateful for any feedback you feel like giving, whether on the project, the blog post itself, things you want to see posted or if you are just feeling lonely and want to make contact. It's all good and appreciated.
- flat head screw driver
- table saw
- rotary tool with cutting wheel attachment
- paper for lining (optional)
- scissors & adhesive of choice (for paper)