Weekend DIY: How to restore a cast iron garden bench


* Cast iron bench ends – look in scrap yards or on Trade Me * Hacksaw* Wire brush * Scrubbing brush / wire wool / sandpaper * Metal primer* Turpentine * Spray paint * 12 x 1200mm hardwood timber for new slats (if required) * Drill * Bolts and nuts – M5 x 40mm * Primer / sealer * Topcoat

Cost: approx $250 (I paid $135 for cast iron ends – prices vary on Trade Me)

1 Remove all old bolts and hardware from the cast iron bench ends.

You can try CRC or a similar product or use the hacksaw to cut through the bolts.

2 Assess the condition of the cast iron. If there is old peeling paintwork and rust, use a wire brush to remove it. Thoroughly scrub with hot soapy water and dry well.

3 Undercoat with a suitable metal primer. I used Resene GP Metal Primer diluted down with turpentine to form a more liquid consistency.

Weekend DIY: How to restore a cast iron garden bench

Ensure the coat is light and even. Allow to dry.

4 Set up the bench ends for spray-painting – if inside, line the area well with newspaper or drop cloths to limit damage from overspray.

Always use in a well-ventilated space. If outside, ensure you're out of the wind and away from anything that might be damaged by overspray.

Following the instructions on the spray can, carefully spray-paint both sides of the bench ends and allow to dry.

5 Cut timber slats to length (1200mm) if required. Mark and drill a hole at each end to match the holes in the cast iron ends. (I used an offcut of ply as a guide).

Drill the holes. Sand the slats, prime and apply two topcoats.

Allow to dry. (NB: If using Kwila for this project, allow the slats to weather first on a piece of grass to avoid staining your deck/path and the paint finish.)

6 Attach one slat on the seat and then slide the rest of the slats into position (it can become difficult to fit them into the frame once you have started assembling).

Feed the bolts through the slats and the matching hole in the ends and tighten the nuts well.