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Take a seat

From NZ Gardener magazine

Rose Hughes sources and restores some cast iron to give a garden seat some gravitas take a seat.

You will need: cast iron bench ends, I found mine on Trade Me, hacksaw, wire brush, scrubbing brush, wire wool, sandpaper, metal primer, turpentine, spray paint, twelve 1200mm hardwood timber pieces for new slats if required, drill, bolts and nuts – m5 x 40mm, primer sealer and topcoat.

Cost: $250. I paid $135 for cast iron ends – prices vary on Trade Me.

Step 1 how to restore a cast iron garden seat

Step 1
Remove all old bolts and hardware from the cast iron bench ends. You can try CRC or a similar product or use the hacksaw to cut through the bolts.

Step 2 how to restore a cast iron garden seat

Step 2
Assess the condition of the cast iron. If there is old peeling paintwork and rust present use a wire brush to remove. Thoroughly scrub with hot soapy water and dry well.

Step 3 how to restore a cast iron garden seat

Step 3
Undercoat with a suitable metal primer – I used Resene GP Metal primer diluted down with turpentine to form a more liquid consistency. Ensure the coat is light and even. Allow to dry.

Step 4 how to restore a cast iron garden seat

Step 4
Set up the bench ends for spray painting – if inside, line the area well with newspaper or drop cloths to limit the risk of overspray. Always use in a well ventilated space. If outside, ensure you’re out of the wind and away from anything that might be damaged by overspray. Following the instructions on the spray can, carefully spray-paint both sides of the bench ends and allow to dry.

Step 5 how to restore a cast iron garden seat

Step 5
Cut timber slats to length (1200mm) as required. Mark and drill a hole at each end to match the holes in the cast iron ends. (I used an offcut of ply as a guide). Drill the holes. Sand the slats, prime and apply two topcoats. Allow to dry. NB: If using kwila for this project, allow the slats to weather first on a piece of grass to avoid staining your deck or path and the paint finish.

Step 6 how to restore a cast iron garden seat

Step 6
Attach one slat on the seat and then slide the rest of the slats into position (it can become difficult to fit them into the frame once you have started assembling). Feed the bolts through the slats and the matching hole in the ends and tighten the nuts well.

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