Today I begin a new project. As I work through this project I will add photos and text to the end of this post, not by putting up new posts - this way it will make a more valuable resource for woodworkers who visit after the project is completed. If you're interested in following this project, bookmark the post and drop in every few days.
I just discovered that Blogger squelches the ability to insert internal links, so I can not give you a "Click here to read the new stuff" link, you're just going to have to scroll down. Sorry.
The reason for this project is kind of a neat story in itself. A local woman and her family have been attending the same church for as long as she can remember, and as will happen, they tended to inhabit the same pews each week. When the church decided to remodel the sanctuary; installing all new pews, Tammy decided to buy the pews her family used because of their sentimental value, and have them converted into furniture she could use in their home. Preserving those memories is her objective.
The First Step
Ripping the Padding
Because I am not planning to strip and completely refinish the benches I am careful not to tear up the finish any more than is absolutely necessary.
The two corners are very, very stubborn because of extra staples and multiple layers of cloth. The middle part comes out fairly easily. I did find that there is a span of unfinished wood where the fabric is stapled down at the bottom of the back - darn!
It will probably take a couple of days working on this part time to pull all of the staples.
Remove an End
To lighten the piece a bit and hope that makes it possible to handle this beast my my self, I'm going to remove one end piece, and then cut the bench down to length.
One is that the center screw is an old round-head that someone put in here - and that they chewed it up pretty badly doing so.
The other is that the final screw is hidden under the front apron; which is also mortised into the end piece and nailed in pretty well.
Removing the chewed up screw involved punching the screw head with a large center punch to make a sort-of round depression. Then chuck up a smallish twist drill in my electric hand drill and drill a small hole. Then I swap out the smallish drill for a larger one and use the small hole as a pilot to guide the big one and drill through the screw head. Once the big drill gets down to the screw shank, the head pops off and I move on to the next problem.
This apron is mortised in and nailed at both ends, and nailed to the center leg as well. Fortunately it is not nailed or screwed to the underside of the seat. It took some rather creative prying with lumber not a crow bar (don't want to chew up the rolled edge on the seat) to bow the apron out enough to pull one end loose enough to get in behind it with a small pry bar and detach the nails. And of course this required me to be both in the center bowing out the apron and under the end ready with a pry bar to extract the apron. That was quite a trick, let me tell you!
With one end loose I could wiggle, wedge, wiggle, wedge, the other end until it too was worked loose enough to work a small pry bar in behind it and pull the nails loose.
With that out of the way, and that last screw removed, a couple of good whacks with a dead-blow mallet and the end piece popped right off.
I'll quit there for today, and we'll pick it up here tomorrow.
Making The Cut
I mark the line then back it up with masking tape. The tape is to help prevent splintering as the blade comes up out of the wood.
Next up: remove a gazillion staples - preferably without chewing up the finish and more than necessary.