For my 30th birthday (the first one), I was given a lovely set of patio furniture by my husband. Not teak, but some other nice oily tropical hardwood, it withstood the ravages of thirteen several winters, without ever being covered or coddled. Somewhere along the way the table fell to bits, and the cushions got lost in a move. But the chairs and bench hung on, useful for piling stuff on if not much else, without a table.
Campbell was the first to point out that for a family with such a small house, we really don't spend much time in the back yard. "How come we don't have a picnic table outside?" How come, indeed! In a fit of can-do spirit, I decreed that Campbell and I would build a new table together. And build it we did:
Campbell became an expert power sander.
We felt pretty pleased with ourselves when the base was finished.
And once the table top was on, we decided to try and resurrect our poor old chairs. Every joint was loose. All were covered with a combination of moss, mildew, and mold. In our climate, we seldom have hard freezes, but the constant moisture turns everything green. And Lo, there was MUCH sanding. And yes, we did wear dust protection. Yuck. But miraculously, under all that grime, the hardwood was still rock solid. With all their screws and bolts re-tightened, the chairs were really as good as new. With one exception:
This one had a massive crack along its top rail that required some persuasion back into position. And its seat refused to quit wiggling, even after a second round of screw tightening. I just couldn't bear to leave this soldier behind, though. Sweaty and sunburned, and truly tired of the whole episode, I placed a number of new screws in strategic spots. And by a number, I mean, like, a billion. We can sell this chair for scrap metal. It's got an infrastructure like Wolverine's skeleton now.
We put on a coat of pretty green stain (Lindsay picked the color: "Aligator") to seal the chairs. We think we'll seal the table with something clear, later in the summer after it's had time to dry out a bit more. We made it with decking cedar, which is really wet when you first get it.
We worked so hard, and feel so proud of our accomplishments. Not only is the table just what we hoped it would be; we got the satisfaction of having rescued the pretty old chairs from the brink of mildew-struction. And we did it all together. It's like getting that lovely birthday present, all over again. And of course, I'm still only 30, so it's like that stuff in the middle never happened.
Think I'll go knit outside for a while.