Projects, projects and more projects. I guess one good thing about isolating and working from home is that I have a flexible schedule that has allowed me to complete a lot of projects this year. Have to look at the positives right? Well I am, and I am positively happy with all the progress that we have made this year. The only downside to the lower portion of the yard is that when we are busy working our butts off, we have nowhere to relax. We have to haul our tired, aching bodies back up to the top part of the yard to take a break. Next year I want to work on our gazebo at the bottom of the yard, but until then, it would be nice to have somewhere to relax.
Last weekend, K and I decided to clean the yard out of all the little piles of weeds and garbage that we have slowly been building all spring/summer so far. One of the worst areas that we had been neglecting was along the side of our shop. We don’t often go over there, only to grab Basil when she is being a nosy…and loud neighbour looking over the fence and howling at the neighbours dogs. We hadn’t realized that with all the rain, the weeds were now almost waist high. So we made sure to clean it out. While weeding, we decided to look at the stuff that we had “stored” there and low and behold there was an old wood patio set that I had bought 11 years ago before K and I moved in together.
Although it looked a little worse for wear, the set is still really solid and sturdy. It is exactly what we need down at the bottom of the yard! It will give us somewhere to take a break, and also a table to put tools, snacks or beverages while we are hanging out/working hard. Although the set was weathered and the old paint/stain was chipped and flaking away, it was easy to see that the wood was good under the dirt and stain. It just needed a little re-finishing.
I started with the bench, and used my finishing sander and dremmel with a sander bit (for those hard to reach nooks and crannies). Sanding is always tedious work and is my least favourite thing to do, but it was a nice change of pace from hauling rocks and building rock walls. I turned on some tunes (Newfoundland playlist because it always gets me moving and happy), geared up, and spent a few hours taking off a few layers of wood until I was into the nice natural colouring.
I’m going to pause here for a minute and make a friendly reminder that when you are doing any sort of sanding or work that will cause fine particulate, you should really be wearing a respirator or dust mask. I prefer a respirator with P100 filters to keep the really fine particulates out. I also throw on some safety glasses because wood dust in the eye sucks. Safety glasses won’t keep the particulates out completely, but definitely helps with the direct hits. Both days of sanding were hot and muggy, so wearing the gear wasn’t the most comfortable and there was definitely a lot of sweat, but it was worth the discomfort when I saw how much dust and grime I was covered in by the time I was finished. It was gross. Also, I have no idea what else is on that wood and I wanted to be safe from fungus, or spores that may have grown or been embedded in the wood.
Continuing on, once I finished the bench, I took a break for the day. Building rock wall and then following it up with some sanding wreaks havoc on the lower back, and I don’t want to do any damage so I called it quits for that day to relax some sore muscles. The next afternoon, I was back to building some more all, and then sanding the table down. I thought the table would be easier for some reason, but it was just as annoying as sanding the bench…again, I hate sanding. But, in the end, it cleaned up nicely. I also had to do some major cleanup after sanding as I was once again sweaty and the dust just stuck to my skin and hair. I actually considered hosing off with the garden hose as I didn’t want to track any through the house, but between bug spray, sun screen and sweat, the dust was firmly in place so I was good to walk through the house as long as I didn’t brush up against something. Glamorous right? Ha!
On the third day, some very exciting things happened, but I will get to that in an upcoming blog. One of the exciting things though, was that I managed to get the stain on the table and bench, and it turned out beautiful! I love the colour, and the grain of the wood just popped. Some of the “grain” may still be grime that was deeply embedded, but it made for a really nice effect. They are going to look great down in the bottom of the yard, and I am looking forward to using them for well-deserved breaks when working down there. I just need to find a spot that is shady most of the day.
I didn’t end up doing the chairs that go with this set as I am not sure we will actually need them. That may be a future project, so I have safely stored them beside the shop again so that they stay in somewhat good condition. We try not to hold on to “junk” but I am sure happy that we held onto that patio set despite looking a little rough. It turned out that 6 years after moving into this house, I have finally found a use for them!