Dad's old tool bench....

One big "fad" right now are the old wood benches and tool boxes...."primitives."  I've had a few in my booth and they fly out the door. Like this one I featured here....

I'm not really in to all the "primitive" decor...including old wood benches and tool boxes.  But it dawned on me a while back that I had my dad's old wood work bench stored in one of my supply buildings at the apartments.  And while I am not big on "vintage" or "primitive," I am a huge fan of "heirlooms!"

He built this little bench and for as long as I can remember he carried his tools in it and even used it as a step stool!

When I finally dug it out, I found that it was in worse shape than I remembered....covered in some serious gunk, oil, filth and old paint!  The top board and one of the cross boards had cracks!  (Again, my photography skills just don't do it justice!)

Probably to be expected...I remember my dad using this bench when I was little.  And I know I used it for many years.  While I was stripping it I discovered old royal blue paint all over it...royal blue paint?  Then I remembered...25 years ago I painted my sons' bunk beds royal blue...and evidently I used this old bench during the process.

It took some serious time and chemicals to strip off all the old paint and gunk.  I didn't want to sand it because I want to retain all the "character" beat into the wood from decades of use! 

I don't know if dad used a skill saw to cut the boards when he built this, but I have no doubt he used a hand saw to cut the Vs in the could actually see the saw marks!


After removing all the old paint and gunk, I even found where someone (me?) had carved tic-tac-toe markings in the wood!


After removing all the paint and gunk with chemical removers, I scrubbed the wood with lacquer thinner and steel wool and then washed it with mineral spirits. Then I let it dry out for several days.

I really debated what to do with the little bench at this point.  I know it would be really pretty with a nice coat of paint...maybe distressed a bit. But the "character" in the wood is amazing and I really hesitate to do anything to cover any of it!

So for now I just coated it with some tung oil finish. Maybe someday I will get a stroke of inspiration and do something different. Until then I will just admire it for what it old tool bench that my dad built and used. 

That, in my book, makes it priceless just as it is!

This is a prime example of WHY you should take anything and everything someone in your family gives may seem like trash at the time, but someday it will be a true treasure.  My dad has been gone 19 years...anything I have of his is a treasure!