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Enjoying an herbed iced tea or delicious cocktail is so much sweeter when sitting on a wonderful porch or patio. Recently, I started dragging my outdoor furniture out of storage and have begun the cleaning process so they will be ready for use when the weather finally cooperates. I love to use vintage pieces that I have discovered over the years at different markets and shops for two reasons. One, I think vintage furniture is much more durable and long-lasting. And two, you simply cannot beat the style and visual appeal instantly achieved by vintage pieces!
Spring is the perfect time to reassess your pieces and see what needs a little TLC. While at a swap meet a few years ago, I found these wonderful (albeit extremely heavy) industrial factory carts with wooden tops. Purchased for a steal, I knew instantly they would be perfect on the front porch at the Farm. Usually I stay away from using wood tables outdoors; the weather tends to break down the wood much quicker. But in my case, the porch is covered and protects these pieces from some of the elements. An important part of having great outdoor furniture is to care for it regularly.
To preserve and save the wood on these tables, I coated the tops in polyurethane as soon as I purchased them. This year, being several springs later, proved that it was time to redo the coats. As you can see, the tops were looking weathered and worn.
To start, make sure you clean the surface and remove any visible dirt. Next, take 100-grit sandpaper and carefully removed any flaking pieces to smooth the top.
As these are outdoor tables, I am not as worried about having a perfectly smooth surface. If you are worried about smoothness, make sure to wipe the piece you are preserving with mineral spirits to ensure all dust and dirt is gone. To apply the polyurethane, I prefer to use foam brushes since they are so affordable. I simply throw them away when completed. Talk about easy cleanup!
I like to apply three coats of polyurethane to the surface to ensure the wood can withstand the wear and tear from wet glasses and water from plants and rain. Let each coat dry well, lightly sanding the surface in between each coat with 180- to 220-grit sandpaper. After the final coat, do not sand! Instead, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Not only does the polyurethane protect the wood, it brings out such wonderful earthy, natural colors and enhances the grain of the wood for a spectacular finish. Having a gorgeous yard takes work and time but is always worth the effort![hr]
Images by The Gray Boxwood[divider]