Painted Muskoka Chairs and Footstools

This is the last of the painted outdoor furniture projects for the time being. A third footstool has not aged well, and will need to be replaced (new project!) but the two that match these two chairs were fine, so the set is complete. Again, they were (and still are, under the opaque stain) made of lovely Western Red Cedar, but the years outside take their toll, and they needed a refresh. Finishing outdoor projects is a lively topic of discussion in woodworking circles, with preferences ranging from a bulletproof Epifanes or Marine Spar Varnish finish, to an annual clean, sand, and oil regime, to nothing at all (naturally weathered gray, eventually). The latter has some appeal, until you factor in that you’d probably want to wash and sand them every year or two anyway, so not much extra work to reapply a finish at that point.

Painted Muskoka Chairs and Footstools

Here’s how they looked in their original glory, having been outside for all of five minutes at this point.

Two More Muskoka Chairs

Painted Chairs

Painted Chairs

The smaller outdoor chairs have been painted “Bluenose” blue. The larger Muskoka chairs need a few touchups, but then we’re done painting furniture I think… I would not even consider painting Western Red Cedar right away, it’s a gorgeous wood that should be celebrated (see originals below ) but after seven years outside, they needed serious rehab, and this was a fun way to give them new life. Full credit for the paint job goes to Lynda, I just did the grunt work of power washing and sanding them.

Cedar Chairs + Dog

Before and After Sanding

Cedar Chairs Before and After Sanding

The last time these chairs looked this good (well, the one on the left at least) was in 2009 when I made them. They’ve lived outside for most of the time since then, including some winters. Nothing like a little 80-grit sandpaper to turn back time…

The next time you see these chairs they will have been painted blue. Sorry, purists, sometimes we paint things around here… opaque stain, technically…

Slat Bench (Sketchup)

Lots of 12″ rough pine boards leftover from shed wall project, so I figured another garden bench was not the worst idea, and would use up most of them fairly quickly (if I ever get started).

Slat Bench

Slat Bench in Situ

Here are some of the boards that are not left over:

Lynda Paints Shed

Spice Rack

Here is a small spice rack I just finished, made of quartersawn white oak. The brass nails are mostly decorative, but the glue joints are pretty solid so I’m not worried.

For more info on Shuggy’s Hot and Salty Rocks, visit

Spice Rack - Front View

Spice Rack - End View

Stripey Pen Build

Just for fun I thought I would document the process of making a laminated Stripey Swirly Twist Pen.

Start Here
Stripey Pen - Start Here
At the table saw, I ripped a bunch of thin strips from these maple and walnut scraps I had lying around.

Watching Glue Dry
Stripey Pen - Watching Glue Dry
The maple and walnut strips were alternately glued together and clamped up to dry overnight.

Laying Out the Blanks
Stripey Pen - Laying Out the Blanks
Using an acrylic blank I had nearby, I layout the blanks at an angle. Should be able to get two or three pens out of this.

Ready to Cut
Stripey Pen - Ready to Cut
Shows the lines for cutting at the bandsaw.

We Have Pen Blanks
Stripey Pen - We Have Pen Blanks
Blanks were cut at the bandsaw. Two full length ones, for sure, and I can probably use the other bits for something, at least one more pen I think.

Ready for Brass
Stripey Pen - Ready for Brass
Blanks were cut to just a bit longer than the tubes, a 7mm hole drilled through each at the drill press, and now the tubes can be glued in.

Tubes In and Trimmed
Stripey Pen - Tubes In and Trimmed
Brass tubes are glued in place, and the ends trued up with the barrel trimmer.

Ready for Turning
Stripey Pen - Ready for Turning
Now comes the fun part. Shields UP!

Turn Turn Turn
Stripey Pen - Turn Turn Turn
Only with the flat-bottomed Easy Wood Tool, and only after the initial rough turning to round, would I attempt the one-handed lathe action photo.

Turning Done
Stripey Pen - Turning Done
Ready for final sanding, waxing, and polishing.

Final Wax
Stripey Pen - Final Wax
After numerous rounds of sanding, followed by the Australian part of the operation (EEE Ultra Shine and Shellawax Polish, “Australian and Proud Of It” – them, not me) I apply a final top coat of Liberon wax stick.

Final Polishing
Stripey Pen - Final Polishing
Buffing up the last coat of wax.

Finished Finishing
Stripey Pen - Finished Finishing
Finished with the lathe, ready to come off and be put together.

Ready for Assembly
Stripey Pen - Ready for Assembly
This kit has a manageable number of pieces, unlike some of the fancy schmancy kits, like rollerballs.

Flattened Bolt
Stripey Pen - Flattened Bolt
Grinding a flat spot on the head of a bolt and chucking it in the drill press makes for a pretty solid pen press.

Pressing the Nib
Stripey Pen - Pressing the Nib
And if you’ve ever had your nib pressed, you know how painful that can be.

Stripey Pen – Final
Stripey Pen - Final

(Click any photo to view larger on Flickr)