Timber in our weather

Starting the archaeology course soon so have been looking at, and relooking at texts and maps related. Here is the thing – I live in a wet country. The weather has been worse that usual this year (the facts match the feeling). I heard a bone digger a few weeks ago saying if this weather was 200 years ago people would starve this winter. Anyway – people “long ago” used stone in dramatic ways. I saw a single block stone that was used to cap a passage tomb – it was well estimated at 70 tons. The thing is – if they didn’t use stone and earth as they did for various rights and rituals we would never have thought of them – they are the only reminder.

The normal, everyday buildings were of timber. Enviromentally friendly, yes – it all fades away. The only exceptions to this are where air and or water are excluded – bogs and caves type of thing. Everything we have made of timber will go too. These were my rough thoughts as I looked at our garden furniture.

Garden Bench - 7 years in the elements

Garden Bench – 7 years in the elements

Close up of the elements effects on timber
Close up of the elements effects on timber


Generally I have no problem with being enviromentally friendly, but I wanted to hang on to the garden furniture for a few years yet without the inlaws falling through it. I suppose its a balance between being careful with toxic treatments and not being wasteful and using up more timber every few years, replacing it as it rots.

I vould never use a treatment that contained VOC (volatile organic compounds) in any amount indoors, but I found a low VOC Danish oil for this one. By the way – VOCs do not improve the treatment of the timber in any great way – they are for the finish mostly – how smooth and how fast. They do however make the oil more viscous so it flows smooth and fast into grain and cracks. But thats the easy bit. It had to be sanded first. It took us (myself and my sons) some three hours to get it sanded down by hand. I dislike the use of power sanding tools (although I do have a small 82mm hitachi plane) as they throw up so much fine dust that is just not good for people. As I do not do this for money, it also is easier to control the results by hand, and there is no harm in staying fit. So sanded and then oiled. The oil cloths were hung on the line till dry and then disposed of (see previous posts on finishing timber and not burning your house down).

Result looks good.

All for less than €10.00.

All we need is the weather to use them now!



Filed under Books and their home.

5 responses to “Timber in our weather

  1. beautiful restoration. gorgeous.

  2. Chemical free

    Your bench looks fantastic! Isn’t it so nice to sit on a much-loved and cared for piece of furniture than a plastic version. I wonder where do you get your non-voc indoor paints and products? We’ve used ECOS http://www.ecospaints.com/ varnishes and stains outside and paint inside but the paint still has a chemical smell inside. We’re just about to try milk paint(http://www.milkpaint.com/). I’d be glad of any recommendations on non-voc items if you have them please.
    I hope you get the weather to take a nice afternoon read on your garden seat 🙂

    • Its a bit of a search sometimes, found a local lady that blends her bees wax with turps for wooden furniture – with another blend for leather. Boiled linseed oil works well but up to 15 coats are needed. There is a bow maker about 2 hours drive from me where I got some Tung nut oil with no VOCs added – seems that is rare, from looking at Tung oil elsewhere. People shouldn’t be in such a rush to have their coating dry. I remember occasions where furniture sprayers neede medical attention due to lack of proper masks, and the kitchen maker that went on fire because someone was smoking under their vent outside. Not good for you. Thanks for the comment!

      • Chemical free

        Oh thanks for the information. I was wondering how long it might take your bench to dry outside, you know, dry to the point where you can sit on it. Well even if it will take some time it must feel great just to look at it!

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