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One man's trash and all that jazz

Updated: Aug 2, 2021

Finding awesome treasures in someone else's thrown away items

Everyone has heard the saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure". I resemble that. So much that my son has expressed his concerns at times. I feel he sees a couple of storage units of "junk" that I will leave him and his brother as their only legacy. Truly, I'm not that bad---I do try to work the freebies and turn them around to sell as quickly as possible. But the possibility is still there.

So I usually walk every morning to meet my goal of 7500 steps a day. (I know, I know...but it's better than the max of 2000 I was getting before). My travels take me all around my neighborhood and even outside of it. I'm the type of person who hates routine so try to vary my path. One morning, I walked to the far end of a neighboring cul de sac and noticed one house was being rehabbed. At the roadside was a pile of furniture, cabinets, and old carpet that had obviously been removed from the house and placed on the curb for the city to pick up. I casually glanced at it on first pass then did a more in depth look on my way back out of the cul de sac. Immediately, the bench, chair, and table top caught my attention. Obviously I couldn't take them with me right then, so I headed back home to get my mini SUV to take my prizes home. I scored a wooden bench, a captain's chair, and a wood table top with a visually interesting pattern on top:

Not bad, right?

This post is about the bench in the lower left. Let's take a closer look at it and what I saw that made me want to bring this home.

So it's not perfect. The top was missing a plank, one leg came out of its hole, the wood was scored pretty bad in places (but not so bad that a sander and wood putty wouldn't fix it). But overall, it was in pretty fair condition. Definitely dirty, but who hasn't done dirty before?

The first thing to do was an overall sanding, just to see what I was working with. I used a steel scrub brush to remove the dirt in the harder to reach areas like around the top of the legs. Using a 120 gauge sandpaper, I sanded everywhere else. As suspected, the minor imperfections were sanded away leaving a beautiful light pine. For the leg that came out, I screwed down from the top of the bench into the top of the leg, then covered the screw head with wood putty. Now it's also sturdy.

It looked like there might have been a back to this bench at some point right where the missing plank should have been. I reinterpreted that by sanding a length of pine board that I already had, then cutting it to the right length with my SkilSaw.

I placed the cut pine board upright in the area where the plank was missing. Using #10 wood screws, I screwed the cut pine board into the back plank to create a small header.

I loved the naturalness of the pine wood and didn't want to stain or paint this, so I simply conditioned the wood with Howard's Feed-N-Wax Wood Polish and Conditioner.

This has beeswax in it and is scented with orange. Smells amazing!

Close up of what the conditioner does to the wood:

Just beautiful, right?

When I picked this up, there was no clear plan of course. I just saw the potential. However, the more I looked at it and thought about it, and most certainly once I sanded it, I knew it would go perfectly in my master bedroom and serve as a small side table next to my reading chair.

A gentle reminder to look for the beauty in all things (even fellow human beings). With a little love and attention, most things can become new.

Be sure to come back and see what the other two pieces become!


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