Thursday, July 19, 2012

Church Pew Re-Do

Well, I went to church today..... kinda. I spent the afternoon at a client's home working to restore this old church pew. 

You might imagine that working in someone else's basement is a little unsettling at moments. [enter the client's  cat]. At first, I was a little freaked out that the cat was taking a pounce-like posture as he surveyed the basement's nooks and crannys, until it struck me that I'd definitely prefer to have his protection from any critter that squeaks. From then on, I dubbed him my "Lion King".  Lion King and I became fast friends. He didn't even complain about the fact that I sang old hymns all afternoon. I suppose I better find out his real name before my next visit. 

Today was a bit eye opening for me. I have always viewed the fields of furniture restoration and upholstery to have a sort of mutually beneficial relationship (you know, working together to make beautiful furniture), UNTIL TODAY. I spent a good chunk of the afternoon pulling out hundreds (and I debated about indicating it was thousands but thought that might be a slight exaggeration) of upholstery staples out of the wood. Yesterday, this pew had a cushioned seat. Today, all that remained was a strip of cardboard and fabric that had been stapled to the seat every 1/8 of an inch. This was what I'd call a long, tedious and slightly painful process! At least I had good tools for the task.

Then, I moved on to stripping the old finish off the pew. Let's just say that I also found this aspect of the afternoon to be painful as well. Despite my best efforts, I did manage to subject various limbs and extremities to small drops of the chemicals. NOT pleasant. But after about 30 seconds of intense burning sensation, the pain subsides. The finish on the pews was fairly stubborn. So after two applications of the stripping agent, I resorted to old faithful.... my sander. I'm not 100% complete with the prep, but I think the worst of it is over. This photo was taken when I was 1/2 through sanding the seat. 

I'll be sure to share the after pictures when this old beauty is finished. In the mean time, I'll be humming "How Great Thou Art" ..... it was Lion King's favorite (voice cracks and all). 


  1. Wow! Clients already?! That looks like a big challenge! Can't wait to see what you can do with it :)

  2. Looking at it, I can see how tedious peeling off the church pew can be. But you did manage to do it well. I wonder what your next steps will be. Are you going to apply intricate designs on it too? Just like some traditional church pews? Please keep us posted. I am interested about what your final output will look like. :)

    Earnestine Kettering