Restoring an Antique Church Pew
Happpppppppy Labor Day guys and cheers to the long weekend! I sure hope you are taking it slow today and getting lots of down time in–possibly with a giant cup of coffee and some kind of delicious treat like a donut. Or cookies. Or brownies. Maybe even cake. Who knows, the possibilities are endless. And calories don’t count on holidays so you are in the clear. So go ahead and grab a snack, put on your coziest stretchy pants and get comfy, because today’s post is a fun one–I’m sharing how I restored an antique single altar church pew that used to belong to my sweet Granny. Unfortunately she’s no longer with us, but the story is that she got this pew from an old church near our hometown. She kept it in her living room for years and years, then it was passed on to my mom and now to me. This guy has been around for a loooong time and it definitely shows. When I got it the wood was faded and super dry, there was some water damage and overall it was just a bit dull looking. Of course I thought about painting it, but that just didn’t feel right for this piece. Instead I decided to restore it to it’s original finish and bring some life back to this little church pew. It was actually a pretty simple process, so today I’m going to show you guys how I did it. OK, here’s how it looked when I got started:
You can see the wood was super dry and awfully dull looking. It definitely had lost its shine and luster over the years.
There was even a bit of water damage on the legs of the pew and a little on the sides too. No good.
The first step was to start by wiping it down and cleaning it up to remove any dirt and dust. I just did this with a damp rag–easy peasy.
Next we grabbed some boiled linseed oil. This stuff is great to revitalize old wood and bring it back to life. And an added bonus is that it also protects the wood from any further damage, so it was a really great option for this project. It’s actually very easy to apply–we just poured a little into an old rag and wiped down one section at a time. Then went over it with a clean rag to remove any excess.
You can see here the difference the BLO made on the wood here–the left side of the pew has one coat and the right side has nothing. Quite the difference, huh?! We ended up doing two coats, making sure to let it dry completely between each one and sanding it down gently with steel wool. Then we allowed it to cure for about 48 hours. Here’s how it looks now:
Ta-da! I can’t believe how much better it looks now. That little bit of work totally revitalized the wood and brought this old church pew back to life. And lucky for me it fits perfectly in our entryway.
Restoring this old church pew was actually a pretty simple process thanks to that boiled linseed oil–that stuff works like magic. And I’m so glad I went this route and didn’t paint it. Sometimes it’s best to just put the paint brush down and back away, you know? It doesn’t happen very often around here, but every now and then I have to remind myself that not everything needs to be painted white. Especially when it comes to a piece of furniture like this antique church pew. There’s just so much history and character here with the natural wood and it would have been a shame to cover that up. I think it’s actually pretty unique too–I did a bit of Googling and I couldn’t find any other single altar pews quite like this one. Plus the fact that it was in my Granny’s living room for so long makes it extra special. I’m just thrilled it fits so perfectly in our little entryway.
Thanks so much for dropping by the blog today–I hope you all have a fantastic week full of happy things!
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