Tutorials

Wrought Iron Glider Swing Refinished

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Can you see the beauty of this vintage glider swing?  She has been neglected for many years, sitting out in the elements, forgotten.  This swing was a custom order I did for a young lady, it had belonged to her father and she wanted it to look new again.  She wanted to use this again, now that she had her own family.

This piece wasn’t hard to bring back, it just took patience and time.  She had to be taken apart, everything sanded and cleaned, broken pieces had to be replaced then painted and stained and lastly, sealed to withstand the harsh elements of Michigan seasons.  First, I took her off her chains and took off the wooden armrests.  Then, I started taking off all the wood boards, it seemed like it took months to get all the bolts out.  Most of them were rusted and didn’t want to be moved.  I felt like “Rosie Riveter” loosening over a hundred of them on the entire swing, yes, call me “Betty Bolter”!!!  Good times.  I put all the bolts and nuts in a large container, numbered all the slats and labeled the armrests. Numbering the wooden slats was tricky because I was going to refinish both sides, I put the numbers on the backside of each by the bolt holes.  You can’t see my writing when it is put back together.

glide into summer

I cleaned everything, the metal base, all the hardware and the wood.  I took a metal brush to the base to get the flaking paint and rust off, then sanded all the paint off.  I didn’t take any pictures of this because it hadn’t crossed my mind that I would ever be writing a tutorial on my work.  It took several hours to do this.  If I hadn’t had flaking paint, I wouldn’t have removed the paint, but this had been refinished before and had a couple layers of paint.  If I just painted over it, you would be able to see dimples where the paint was uneven.  I wanted a super smooth finish, so I took off all the paint and started with a bare surface.  I took a damp cloth and wiped it all down after sanding.  I used Rust-Oleum Metal Primer to cover the entire base on all sides and I put two coats on.  After that was dry, I got my paint sprayer out and sprayed 2 coats of Valspar Signature Paint in Very Black.  At this point, my sprayer decided to take a vacation and stopped working, not a good time for me.  I would much rather spray my topcoat on this, but no such luck!  Here is a trick for applying a topcoat on items that are curvy, I put a rubber glove on then an old cotton sock and then a nylon knee-high.  I can then stick part of my hand in the urethane and run my hand over the whole area.  I have more control over where my topcoat goes and no brush marks.  It is also faster and easier than trying to use a brush.  I applied three coats of Varathane Outdoor Spar Urethane.  This piece will be going under a patio so it will be protected from most of the elements, but eventually, the topcoat will have to be re-applied.

The wood pieces were easy, just sand and sand, then sand some more!  I started with 80 grit to get what was left of the topcoat and stain off, then went with 120 grit and finally, 220 grit to get a smooth surface.  I wiped all the dust off between rounds of sanding with a brush and then a damp rag.  Let your wood dry between the steps.  Finally, I was ready to apply Minwax Wood Conditioner and then my stain, Minwax Early American.  Once the stain was dry, I flipped the slats over and applied it to the other side.  I applied 2 coats of stain to get the color that I wanted.  Finally, everything is dry and ready to the topcoat applied.  The slats are easy to apply the Urethane to with a brush and I applied three coats to each side and the ends.  Don’t forget your ends!!!  It took several days to complete these, I don’t rush this process.  This project took up my entire workshop space and was very frustrating because I couldn’t work on other pieces, instead, I got to watch stain and Urethane dry!  Trust me, it isn’t fun.  All I could do is do the cleaning part of my prep.

Finally, everything is dry and I get to put the swing back together!  The final product is a favorite of mine, I love beautiful stained wood and black!  I think it turned out gorgeous and I’m very happy to say that my client cried when she saw it finished.  Her Uncle came with her and told me that it looked better than when it was brand new!

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I think she turned out wonderful and I’m very grateful to have worked on her.  This is why I love refinishing furniture!

Thank you for stopping by and let me know if you have any questions about your projects!

Andrea

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