Beginnings of an Entryway: Restoring a Reclaimed Wagon Bench

I have a streak of jealousy for women who can wear cowgirl boots. Seriously.
There are just certain people in this world who can put on a pair and look instantly stylish. I look like a girl going to a costume party. (Aw, Lauren, you dressed up as Annie Oakley! How cute!) I don’t know what it is, but they don’t work on me. If you can rock ’em, I’ll live vicariously through you.
The same thing goes for my home. Rustic western looks so cool in the right places, but it seems random in our house. Until…
Bless'er House | Beginnings of an Entryway: How to Restore Reclaimed Wood

I found a piece of the Wild West that was destined for a spot in our hallway. (Okay, for all I know it could be as native to South Carolina as I am, but we’ll pretend it has a super awesome backstory complete with a John Wayne movie prop history.)
Bless'er House | Beginnings of an Entryway: How to Restore Reclaimed Wood
Isn’t it interesting?! I had been searching for a rustic industrial bench for months, and even bought one a while back only to find out it was a bit too “reclaimed” as we discovered dry-rot on it and had to throw it out. (Sad.)
But this baby was solid as a rock and had been very well taken care of considering how old it is.
Can you guess how much we paid for it? $35 on Craigslist! It needed some lovin’ though.
Bless'er House | Beginnings of an Entryway: How to Restore Reclaimed Wood
The wood, even though it was sturdy, had seen better days. I’m all for the reclaimed barnwood look, but this was extremely dry and brittle and really dirty. (Peoples’ tooshies will be sitting on that business!)
I definitely didn’t want to do anything drastic like staining and lose the rustic look I love so much, so I used a trick from my father-in-law. He is an incredible woodworker and whittler. His secret ingredient for finishing wood: olive oil.
Bless'er House | Beginnings of an Entryway: How to Restore Reclaimed Wood
It took me no time at all to restore the wood on this bench. I just sanded it down with medium grit paper, used a vac to clean off the dust and dirt, and wiped it down.
To apply the olive oil, I poured it into a bowl, dipped in a rag, and rubbed the olive oil all over the bench. I waited about 10 minutes before running a dry rag back over the bench to take off any excess oil. The wood soaked it right up.
Bless'er House | Beginnings of an Entryway: How to Restore Reclaimed Wood
Now the wood still has that rough rustic look I love without the grimey grossness to go with it. Can you tell the difference?
Bless'er House | Beginnings of an Entryway: How to Restore Reclaimed Wood
 Just one tip, if you ever find any amazing reclaimed wood pieces (or you have a magical barn you frequent), be sure to check it for two things: dry rot and powder post beetles. Both are bad news, and you definitely don’t want to bring little critters into your house.
The best part about using olive oil, I don’t have to worry about any chemicals around my little one. Olivia is obsessed with this bench now. We sit on it and read books together because she loves it. I honestly can’t blame her.
Bless'er House | Beginnings of an Entryway: How to Restore Reclaimed Wood
If you checked out yesterday’s 1 year house tour, you already caught a glimpse of our entry space that is just now coming together. It is absolutely perfect! And definitely the best place to sit and put on your cowboy boots…if you’re cool enough to wear them. I guess it’s English riding boots for the rest of us (and still equally awesome).
What do you think about it? Are you as intrigued by this bench’s history as I am? If furniture could talk…
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21 Comments

  1. I know thus is a older post, but I had to join in too. I always loved this bench when I first saw it so gorgeously decorated. Thanks for the olive oil tip, I will be using it.

  2. I would like to know its value, its beautiful, your really great with wood. Would you ever sale it or if you were to put a price on it? I found one and would love to learn to restore but only to sale it. Thank you for any info you can offer me. Best wishes Roxy

    1. Thanks so much, Charlie! Yeah the bugs are bad news. We kept our kitchen table in storage for two years before moving in to our house. And we discovered the table had those little bugs in it later. We had an exterminator check it out before we brought it into our house just in case and he told us the table was no longer usable. If those bugs got in our house, it would cost thousands of dollars to get rid of them. Scary! So sadly we threw out the table. I always check anything wood now for those icky little guys.

  3. I can’t rock the cowgirl boots, either – but you are definitely rockin’ this awesome bench! It looks lovely and what an amazing find! I’ve never heard of using olive oil on furniture, but after seeing your results, I’ll be trying next time I have a piece that needs a little love. Thank you for sharing at the Talented Tuesday Link Party!

  4. Lauren, what a gorgeous bench!!! I have used olive oil combined with vinegar to restore wood in the past, Do you think it is better without the vinegar? I think it acts as a cleaning agent.

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