While this project illustrates a few design principles, including produce no waste, I wanted to focus on principle 12 because I think that the proverb "vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be" is most appropriate.
The plastic chairs that my got handed down to me are cracking up, ugly and unsafe. Outdoor plastic items don't seem to last very well, and end up in the bin after a few years, best avoided in my book. I think that it's just about time to take them to the tip, where they may be able to recycle them if we are lucky.
We went to the local Scout car boot sale to try to find a replacement. We hit the jackpot with these pressed metal beauties that had been rusting away outside for years. My guess is that the chairs we made in the 50's or 60's, so they'd be over 50 years old and still perfectly useable. At $1 each we decided to buy 10 of them.
|Pressed metal chairs that we bought at the local Scout car boot sale for $1 each, we got 10 in all.|
|After washing them and treating the rust with a dissolver the legs were given a couple of coats of black enamel|
Two coats of paint for the legs and two coats for the seat with some new feet so we can use them inside or on the deck. Now we don't want to leave them in the weather because they look so good, so keep them in the shed until we get around to making a cover for them.
All up the job cost about AUS $45 for the paint (with some left over), $10 for the chairs and $25 for the feet - $80 or so in all. It was a fairly long job as each coat took a day to dry, but not an unpleasent one and very rewarding in the end. Now we've got 10 sexy chairs with a story that should another lifetime (or two or three).
|The stack finished chairs with two coats of flame red paint and new rubber feet|
|Table made from all recovered waste and repainted, while the chairs were brought back from the dead after a clean and paint.|
I also gave an old rusty wrought iron table in the living room the 'chair' treatment while I was at it. Came up a treat and goes well with the bright red kitchen cupboards.
Well made metal outdoor furniture certainly lasts and can look great with some TLC, puts plastic to shame, and even wood, which, more often than not is uncertified and from rainforests. Wood has a very limited life outdoors, but is probably the most sustainable option if it is certified as sustainable, a hardy species and regularly maintained.
|Wrought Iron table that was found in hard rubbish many years ago transformed with a couple of coats of paint (and some hard cleaning)|