Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Fifth anniversary: Time for some maintenance

Showing the before and after scrubbing the bench with wire wool.
Contrast between the scrubbed wood
and the yet to be done slats.
The bench has been in place for just over five years now. I've given it a few scrubs with yard brushes and soap and water but this time I decided to do some proper maintenance.

I bought a large packet of coarse wire wool and some linseed oil.

Possessions versus Experiences

It took me about 6 hours to scrub and oil the bench! As I was doing it I had unlovely thoughts about how buying and owning stuff makes us slaves to them. There are more people with similar thoughts here and here.

The inspiration for buying this bench was to enable myself and others to have better experiences, sitting, staring and enjoying the view and having contemplative thoughts.

Maybe I should have just bought a water proof rug and carried it around with me and left a laminated note advising others to do that. After all what did Buddha sit on under his Bodhi Tree?

Starting the oiling of the bench.
Just starting to apply the oil.
Perhaps I should have used a larger brush

The Maintenance

It was a lot harder to scrub than I thought.

Some parts cleaned easily. The back of the upgright panels were covered in a dry green mold that rubbed off quickly in a big cloud of mold. I kept upwind of this.

The rest of the bench - especially the seating slats - seemed to have lichen-like patches of dull green or grey that were very hard to remove. Lots of scrubbing!

And I had forgotten to buy a proper brush, just using a child's water colouring brush, only about 2cm across. So the application of the linseed oil was very accurate, but a little slow.

The finished thing

And here is the cleaned, scrubbed and newly oiled bench.

I am glad I did it now - despite the grouching earlier - I noticed that some of the thicker timbers had developed cracks that were only going to get worse. Also the recesses of the carved lettering was particularly thick with lichen.

Later in the year, when the oil has dried properly I will apply some mold killer to the hidden parts of the bench. I hope that will prevent some of the mold and lichen re-growth.

Newly oiled bench


  1. Tove Jannson had a character who preferred to have the memory of things rather than the things themselves. And the Quakers have an ethos of living boldly but simply, which I rather like.

  2. The older I get, the more I move, the less stuff I want to hold and weigh me down.

    I quite like taking photos of some of my things. Or even making lists with descriptions of things I have owned and have, or owned and lost. Sitting down and writing out these things seems to make their loss or giving them away easier.

  3. Great work, Nick. The bench is looking very fine. I very much enjoy dropping by and looking at the blog - almost as if I'm walking by your bench, and sitting a while and enjoying. Thanks so much, Sir!