A Nice Little Sunday Project

A few months back, Justin and I were talking about picking up some chairs that we could stick on the front porch so that we could enjoy the lovely summer evenings. I grabbed a couple of inexpensive white plastic numbers and we were able to use them exactly 2 times before one of us (not naming names here, but his name rhymes with “Mustin”) sat down and busted through one of the legs. We decided that perhaps some stronger materials were in order so I kept an eye out for possibilities.

I was strolling through Home Depot and came across some unfinished wooden adirondack chairs that were marked down to $29.99. I went home and told Justin about them but we decided that since they weren’t ‘necessities’ that we would hold off on buying them. I kept on thinking about them and regretted not having picked them up since every other wooden adirondack chair that I saw cost at least 4 times as much, so a couple of weeks later I swung through the garden section of Home Depot and lo and behold, there were 4 lonely little chairs sitting there, marked down again to $20.

I took it as a sign and dragged those bad boys up to the counter and tossed them in the car before someone else could rip them out of my paws. They have been hanging out on the porch for a month or two and we love sitting in them with a drink while Brody hides in the bushes and creeps on the neighbors. I had every intention of painting or staining them right after we bought them but I just never got around to it…until this past weekend.

I went to see my sister and her husband’s new house on Saturday (it’s great!) and was inspired by the projects that they have going on, so I woke up on Sunday with a mission in mind: those adirondack chairs would be festooned by the end of the day or my hound isn’t wily.

First I paid Home Depot another visit to get supplies.

I explained to the gentleman at the paint counter what I had in mind and he estimated that I could get both chairs done with a couple of sample-sized cans of deck stain – that way I wouldn’t have to buy a giant can of stain and just have it sitting unused in the basement. I decided to go with a nice, rich reddish stain color called Russet from the Behr Premium Weather Proofing line; it looks pretty brown in the can but it has a great red tint once its on the wood.

I also picked up an angled brush, some sandpaper and some rags. Since adirondacks have a billion little nooks and crannies, I figured an angled brush would be the best bet at trying to reach everything. As far as the rags go, I had read that after you apply a coat of stain, you should let it sit for awhile to absorb into the wood and then gently wipe off any excess.
As it turns out, that step didn’t apply to these chairs; they absorbed every last bit of stain that I put on, so I’ll probably use the rags to make a bonnet for Brody. He loves him a good bonnet.

Since they were unfinished, the chairs had a few rough spots so I started off by sanding them down. There wasn’t any heavy-duty sanding that needed to be done – just some touch-ups – so I went with a fine sandpaper that would just smooth things out. Here are the chairs in all of their sanded, shadowy glory:

Next up was the staining. I started with the left arm of the chair and worked my way around, then did the front of the back of the chair (what?) and then the seat, and then the very front of the chair where your legs go. This kept me from leaning against a freshly stained part while trying to reach another section, which I’m still shocked I didn’t do. By the time I was done with the very front of the chair, the back was dry enough that I was able to tip the chair backwards (so that the top was resting on a rag on the ground) and paint underneath. The tricky part about adirondacks is that you can see a surprising amount of every part of the chair at all times, so you kind of have to paint the whole thing.

Here is where we stood after 1 coat of stain:

Lather, rinse, repeat for coat #2

and you’ve got yourself a lovely, stained, weatherproofed chair.

Man, what a difference a little stain makes, huh?

At this point I was a few hours into the project and my hand was starting to feel suspiciously claw-like, so I was almost ready to throw in the towel rag. After a brief break that included some chocolate milk and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone¬†I was ready to dive back in.

And boy am I glad I did because now we’ve got a sweet little set of matching adirondacks hanging out on the porch.

Apart from looking a million times better (well, in my opinion, at least), the chairs are now better equipped to withstand the elements since the stain was of the weatherproofing variety. I think I need to go back to Home Depot and shake the hand of the gentleman at the paint counter because he couldn’t have been more spot-on about how much stain I would need to complete the project. 1 adirondack chair = 1 sample size can of stain, 2 coats, down to the last drop. The project took most of Sunday afternoon, and my hand continued to feel like a claw for awhile – getting in between the slats on the chair proved to be tricky but really cramming the angled brush in there ended up doing the trick.

Provided Mustin doesn’t bust through through them (fingers crossed!), I look forward to a few lovely fall evenings spent enjoying the chairs on the porch.

One thought on “A Nice Little Sunday Project

  1. Just between you, me, and the chairs – one of Justin’s early aliases was “Justin’s Bustin’ Out All Over.” Sometimes ,some things, last forever!! Love you Big J.

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