The Hungry Engineer

Front Porch Furniture

06 Jun 2008

About two years ago, we purchased a pair of rocking chairs and a small table for our front porch. They were made of unfinished eucalyptus. At the time, to treat them and make them look nice, I had applied a couple coats of tung oil to the chairs. I have done nothing to maintain them since, and they were looking pretty rough.

To begin with, they were terribly dirty. Spiders had made their homes, birds had done their business, and various bugs had met their end (largely thanks to the spiders) all in and on my furniture. Obviously the first order of business would have to be cleaning things up. My approach was fairly simple (and probably far from perfect). I stuck a pressure nozzle on the hose, sprayed the chairs and table down really well, scrubbed them with a hard-bristled brush to remove anything stubborn, and then sprayed them down again to wash away the residue. Then I dragged them out in the hot Texas sun and let them bake dry for 15 minutes or so. To be on the safe side, I let them sit overnight on the porch to make sure they had dried out completely.

The next day, I tung oiled. Luckily for me, I had leftover tung oil from when I first oiled the chairs. I put on a pair of vinyl disposable gloves, grabbed some cut-up t-shirts, and began to oil the furniture. I folded the t-shirt material over till it was 6-8 layers thick, then dumped tung oil on the t-shirt and rubbed it into the wood, going with the grain. In my opinion, there is no hard and fast rule for how much to apply, so I aimed for an amount that would leave the wood golden and luminous without making it look shiny. Plus, the oil will effectively soak into the wood, so you really can’t go wrong. I oiled up the tops on one day and let it dry, then flipped the pieces over and oiled the underneaths the next day.

The chairs and table are now finished and properly arranged on the porch and ready for Sunday coffee (and maybe Saturday margaritas). I’m told that once my spousal unit gets the appropriate lens for his camera, we’ll be treated to a photo as well.

Total cost of project: $0 (since I already had the tung oil, gloves, and t-shirts)

Related Posts