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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,
I am working on my Eagle project and am trying to find a good reason to replace a bench. I told my Eagle project coach that there were some paint coming off as my reason to replace the bench. But obviously that's probably not good enough, because why don't I just repaint it.

So after looking at photos of the bench, I found these black spots on the wood. Are these good or bad. The natural color of the wood is tan, so does this mean that this discoloration means the wood is bad or something? (The picture of with the tape measuring tape shows the black dots. The portrait view shows that there is some paint coming off and the wood is tan. You can also see the black dot in on the far right.)

Thanks!!
 

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without being there in person, it is very hard to tell what you have.
try removing some of the 50 year old paint with a scraper and see what you find.
(a puncture test with a screwdriver from underneath may or may not indicate the condition of the wood).

IMG_20200613_141614.jpg

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I doubt there is any reason to consider not refinishing. Chances are the wood was just exposed longer.
 

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Mold, age, dirt... I think you should just clean/sand those areas a bit, and get them back to non-deteriorated wood, spot prime, and keep moving. Like Gmercer said... those spots were probably just exposed longer because the paint came off. Being a horizontal surface, it will accumulate much more dirt than on other surfaces. Maybe there is an underlying problem, but it is a bench, not the structural member on a bridge. Don't try and overthink it...it's just a well worn and used bench. John also mentioned a scraper...make sure you remove as much of the loose stuff as you can. Most of painting is in the prep work!

What did you decide on the rebuild for the other bench?? Are you going to work on the other project?? I hope you succeed with your Eagle project.

Brad
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi everybody,
Thanks for being so helpful. I still need to talk to my Eagle scout coach, but maybe he'll pass me if I just repaint the wood as you guys said.
If I were to just repaint the wood, can you guys give me some tips on how to do it and what to look out for?
I only read this briefly from a website a few weeks back, but I think I need to sand off all the existing paint, before I can paint on top of the wood.
For the wood turning black, from my understanding, i just take a screw driver and see if the wood is mushy or not? (Honestly I am surprised that I even kind of have an idea of what you are talking about. :) I guess research is key to the project.)

Thanks again!!

Chessreferee
 

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Chess - rot and dry rot is cancer in the wood. it is hard to arrest once it gets going.
a hard blunt tool, such as a phillips head screwdriver, can find soft spots in the wood.
if found, then it is time to repair or replace the wood.
as for priming and painting: I suggest you always read, understand and follow the instructions
on the label of all products that you use. (Norm Abram said that).
scraping old paint "could be" hazardous: if it is old, old paint, it "could" contain lead.
so all chips must be contained on a dropcloth and disposed of accordingly.
and also, eye and respiratory protection must be used.
we are not there - we have no idea of the condition of the wood or the paint or age.
I strongly suggest you get in touch with a professional (licensed) painter and ask him/her to "donate"
some of their time to your project just in the advisory and educational field. not to do any work.
it will make your project go a lot smoother (and safer).
keep us in the loop.

John

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"...but I think I need to sand off all the existing paint, before I can paint on top of the wood."

No buddy... you do NOT need to sand off ALL of the existing paint. If it is stuck on there, just sand it a little to give the new paint something good to stick to. Like John said, you also need to be careful of old paint because of lead. Wear a respirator, and just go over it lightly so that it is not dirty. Clean and sand the black parts of exposed wood until you get to "good" wood, then spot prime those areas, and you are ready for a finish coat (may need two over the "spots").
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi everyone!
Thanks for helping me out again. I was wondering if there were alternatives for removing the paint, for example a power washer. The merit badge counselor wants me to explore different options.
Is taking off paint potentially dangerous after a few days? If so, about how much? I of course need to make sure that this project is going to be safe for the students, and don't want to expose them to toxins.
As for the safety equipment for the volunteers, what should I get? (Any specific brand or item you recommend?

Also update on my project. I am going to ask a different counselor/ coach to see their opinions. I am not entirely sure if just taking off the old paint and repainting it may be enough. I will probably have to add backpack holders or something to make the project seem more impressive. (any thoughts?)

Thank you all again!
Chessreferee
 

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the very first thing to do is take some paint flakes to a Paint Store and have
them tested for lead paint. take sample chips from different areas of the bench.
just because it was painted 10 years ago does not eliminate the possibility that
someone had some old paint laying around that contained lead and used it.
that can also be part of your project: "how to test for lead in paint" prior to
starting on a project.
if it does contain lead, and you power wash it and blow chips all over the place,
you have created a really bad situation of contaminating the area which could
lead to a very expensive cleanup issue.
(not to mention possibly damaging the old wood to the point it needs a lot of work for painting).

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I agree with the lead paint test approach. My Eagle Scout project was being on the volunteer fire department. I like yours much better.

I have a barn falling in that was built by my grandfather and great-grandfather. The oak siding that is all around the barn is in good shape. I'm afraid to salvage it because I assume it was painted with lead paint. I would like to have access to a useable test to make that determination. Your project could make huge a huge difference.
 

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If I understand your qestion... you are looking for a reason to replace the bench? If so, my thought process would be to replace with a material that would outlast painted wood and look good and require little or no maintenance for many years.
 
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