One of the first questions people used to ask me at crafts show was “Can I put this outside?” My answer was always yes. Because, you can put your dining room table outside if you want to after all. The next questions were usually will it rot and will it get bugs. Again the answers were yes. This may have killed some sales, but was true. Then I would tell them that their dining room table would rot and get bugs outside also.
In my experience the maple and willow furniture that I made would get a little wobbly after two or three years in direct weather and would be in bad shape by five. However, under roof the furniture would last a long time. Just how long became apparent the other day when my wife and I tried to figure out how old the “Big Ass Beer Drinking Chair” that sits on the front porch was. I got to digging in the files and found that it was made in 1997 or 1998. Here is a pre-digital scan of the chair in 1998. Man did I need to get a better camera and learn how to use it.We used the chair around the yard and on the porch for several years. By 2005 it was showing some wear. We had been soaking it once or twice a year with a water sealer to preserve the chair. Here is the chair on the porch in 2005.
Well, by this time even water sealer was losing out to bugs and nature. The bark had held on longer than I thought it would, but was coming loose. We stuck the chair out in the yard on the bricks to let nature take her course with the chair. At some point we dry brushed some white paint on the chair, because as the glorious Dolly Parton says, “a good coat of paint makes any old barn look good”.
At some point we just painted the whole thing white and put it on the porch. I don’t know when that was, but there have been several coats of white. One leg is a little short now and I need to replace a piece in the back, but the chair is still functional and will hold you up while drinking a beer or whatever.
Why did I write this rather pointless post? Not sure. I guess I was just surprised that the chair has lasted this long.