Blessings Before Words are Spoken – My Antique Pew

I don’t know about you, but I can’t tell you the number of times that I have received a heart’s desire and I haven’t even brought it before God.  You know, that something we would so love to have, but isn’t terribly practical, is too expensive, or just plain silly to want it. Has that ever happened to you? For me it was the desire for an antique pew.

A few months ago, I was longing to change up my decor, but not really wanting to spend a penny.  My answer to that is always “sell what you got to pay for what you want”.  It’s a win-win way to do it.  I mean, you get rid of something that you’re tired of and replace it with something you’d like to have, right?

I had a wicker bench that I had bought at Goodwill for $12. Score! It was a natural color with hunter green accents, and matching cushion. Over time, my kids had worn the cushion cover so much that I had to sewn a new one, but the entire set was still in great shape.
We used that bench as a place to sit and take off shoes, carry on a conversation while dinner was cooking, and a time-out spot for unruly children. ahem. I decided to sell my wicker bench and got $30 for on Craigslist (YES, $30 after 5 years of use and only paying $12 originally…LOVE it!!)
Not that I needed one, but I seriously was searching for an old pew to replace that wicker bench. I came across an antique chippy white beauty on Craigslist for only $20 and I quickly called up the owner and set a time for pick up.
It was very primitive and plain, and about 5 ft. long. Having been stood up before, I always call before I leave to meet someone because ain’t nobody got time for that. Guess what, the man’s wife had sold the pew without him even knowing it. I was crushed. I really don’t get too fussy about things, but for some reason the tears flowed a bit because I thought I would never find another within my budget and has a few other stresses at that time. It was like the icing on the cake…know what I mean?
So…I don’t usually request items on Freecycle, but rather offer my things instead.  This time, I requested that if anyone had a church pew they were willing to sell or trade for, I’d love to have it.  I figured I’d get no response or an offer for a modern-looking oak type – boring.
Do you know my expectations were met beyond what I could have ever asked for?
How to use linseed oil to revive weathered and worn wood by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpiecesCan you believe I got this for FREE!!  Imagine the stories it could tell…
The super-nice lady had bought it at auction and brought it home, only to be face-down in the mud for years in her yard.  AAAAGGH!!
I graciously accepted this free item sight-unseen, having no idea what I would be getting.  I did know that she fostered children, and as a surprise, I decided to give them a Little Tykes climber we had to say thank you.
When my husband returned home after picking up the pew, and backed in the driveway, I was a bit nervous because I had no idea what I’d be getting.
Needless to say I was floored! Even in its ugly state this 7 ft. beauty made my heart swell with thankfulness.
Antique Pew is Weathered and Worn | Prodigal Pieces |
So sad this gorgeous piece had been left for so long covered in dirt and animal hair, but it has potential! Just look at those intricate carvings….drooling…
Side of Weathered Antique Pew | Prodigal Pieces |
All it needs is a little TLC and it will be looking soooo good.
Caring for Weathered Wood with Linseed Oil | Prodigal Pieces |
*this post contains affiliate links so you can find the product I used too!
After a good cleaning, you can believe that the wood was so absolutely parched and needed moisturizing. That’s when Linseed Oil (boiled linseed oil, to be exact) comes to the rescue!!  I love how a basic oil can create such a beautiful restoration in minutes. Just grab some gloves and a soft rag and rub in generous amount in the direction of the grain. You will see results in seconds. Then, after you’ve allowed the oil to soak, just take a clean rag and wipe off any excess.
Refresh Weathered Wood with Linseed Oil | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comIt’s best to let the linseed oil really “cure”in a garage or other covered space because that stuff is stinky! But once you see the results of a simple application, you can’t deny its awesomeness.
Hand Carved Details of Antique Pew | Prodigal Pieces |
Restore Weathered Wood with Linseed Oil | Prodigal Pieces |
Hard to believe the previous owners’ animals had chewed on it and it was left for dead, but I didn’t care…still gorgeous!
The back is almost better than the front…look at the intricate ironwork.
Ornate Ironwork on Antique Pew | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comThe hymnal holder along with the offering envelope holder (which I believe was added at a later point).
Ornate Ironwork on Antique Pew | Prodigal Pieces | At first, I had no idea as to what the circular piece of iron would have been used for.  My mother thought maybe a place for a lady to stick her gloves or to hang a parasol/umbrella.
Then, I asked around and got my answer from a Facebook group member, Angela Bell Wittrock: I WAS used for a parasol, umbrella or a cane. My mother was RIGHT! (aren’t they always?) You can read more about the history here.
Antique Pew Revived with Linseed Oil | Prodigal Pieces |
Amazing difference, isn’t it?
Linseed Oil Can be Used to Restore Old Wood | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comLinseed Oil can Revive Old Wood | Prodigal Pieces |
Needless to say, I was happily blessed and believe that God loves to give us the desires of our heart.  Even when the request never passes over our lips.
The first pew I cried over paled in comparison to this one.  So feeble to get upset – lesson learned!  My mother likes to call these instances “God winks”. Perfect description, don’t you think?
Gorgeous Antique Pew Restored with Linseed Oil | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comHow about you?  Have you had any sweet pleasure presented to you when you least expected it?  We’d love you to share and bless others.
If you found this restoration of my antique pew helpful, do pin and share!How to use linseed oil to revive weathered and worn wood by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpieces
More DIY projects for you:
DIY Walk-In Closet Makeover with Barn Wood by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpiecesBudget-Friendly French Farmhouse Master Bedroom Makeover Final Reveal by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpieces
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  • kellyorr

    Wow, Larissa! It really is stunning. I’m so happy for you!

    It will soon have new stories to tell. 🙂

    September 23, 2013 at 11:58 am Reply
  • Lana Kim White Austin

    I love the pew and the story behind you received it…what an immense blessing!! Also, I caught in the story there that you cried not only for having lost out on the original pew, but because there were some other negative things at that moment…I just said a prayer that those pressures/stresses/negatives will be relieved!!


    September 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm Reply
  • Laurel Putman

    What a great story…and a LOVELY piece!! God is good…again 🙂

    September 23, 2013 at 11:29 pm Reply
  • Heather @ New House New Home

    Larissa – this is gorgeous!!! I use tung oil for all my vintage garden tools to bring them back to life – love this piece.

    Found you through Hometalk!

    September 24, 2013 at 12:32 pm Reply
  • Sue Schuster

    It is just beautiful. You really lucked out. I’ll have to try Freecycle in my area. Thanks for sharing.

    September 27, 2013 at 12:30 am Reply
  • Rita

    I love this story. God has such amazing and perfect love for us. He never ceases to amaze me through His blessings. I love your Mom’s term, “God Winks”. So very fitting.
    Your pew is lovely!
    Have a blessed day.

    September 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    It’s beautiful! It just goes to show it never hurts to ask. I recently attended an estate auction where the couple had four beautiful pews in their basement. They used them when their children were young for youth league meetings. They had a home full of beautiful antiques but the pews didn’t sell. Turns out no one there wanted to deal with getting them up the stairs and out of the basement!

    September 27, 2013 at 6:30 pm Reply
    • Sharon Graham

      How unfortunate…I would gladly -carefully- try my hand at removing those pews,if they were located near my area…I live in central Miss….my email is [email protected]…(and don’t you just LOVE Larissa ? )

      March 12, 2016 at 11:19 am Reply
  • Becky

    It’s so beautiful!!! In our family we call those God’s “tender mercies”. Thanks for sharing! (Found you through MMS)

    September 27, 2013 at 10:25 pm Reply
  • mandy

    It is gorgeous!! I am on the hunt for an old church pew! What a blessing!!!!

    March 24, 2014 at 1:15 am Reply
  • Jill Balzer

    I recently made some signs for a dear friends daughters wedding and I of course was giving her a deal. Well she called and asked if instead of $ would I like her grandmother’s buffet????? It had been in her garage for years. It’s not your average plain Jane simple buffet….no it has fat chunky legs with intricate detail. I wanted to swoon. It took me all of 2 seconds to say yes. I hesitated the 1 second because we haven’t parked in our garage for years and had no place to put it! But you find a spot!!!. 😉 I cannot wait to lovingly restore that beauty to glory again. …wood top, white paint and distressing all the beautiful details. I wish I could share a photo. It’s amazing. In rough shape now, but amazing.

    July 18, 2015 at 9:08 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Wow, what a story! Yes, we do make room for treasures such as those. I’m sure it will look fantastic once you are done!

      July 20, 2015 at 5:27 am Reply
  • Brenda Van Riper

    The pew you are keeping for yourself I hope??? Looks beautiful

    July 18, 2015 at 12:04 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Oh yes, it’s been here several years now and it’s not going anywhere. 😉 Thanks!

      July 20, 2015 at 5:26 am Reply
  • Jane Teyler

    You did an incredible job. just beautiful and to save it, well done

    July 18, 2015 at 10:15 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you! I’m so happy it’s mine. 🙂

      July 20, 2015 at 5:25 am Reply
  • Carissa

    I was wondering how long the “curing process” takes on linseed oil, and does dust get in it or anything? I have a dried looking trunk, that this might work on. Your pictures are so beautifully done, I feel brave enough to try it. Thank You!

    July 19, 2015 at 10:13 am Reply
    • Larissa

      It really depends on the wood, Carissa, but what I meant by curing was the odor is very strong and should be left outside to lessen. I think I waited about 2 weeks for my pew because it soaked up so much oil. No dust got in it. 🙂

      July 20, 2015 at 5:24 am Reply
  • Mary-In the boondocks

    T his is so sacred! I am so glad you chose not to paint it but to bring out all of the wood beauty!

    July 19, 2015 at 12:55 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Yes, I’d never paint something like this. Way too gorgeous as is! 🙂

      July 20, 2015 at 5:22 am Reply
  • GWEN

    absolutely gorgeous! i love that you found out what that ring was for!

    July 23, 2015 at 8:57 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks, Gwen! I was aching to know and understand what was so essential that they needed a spot for it. Fun, indeed.

      July 24, 2015 at 5:33 am Reply
  • [email protected]

    This is such a lovely piece! My mom has a church pew from the church she attended growing up in her front hall. I am going to check out your linseed oil link. I need some of that!

    July 26, 2015 at 7:37 am Reply
    • Larissa

      They have so many memories, don’t they? I wish mine could talk. Let me know what you think. 🙂

      July 26, 2015 at 3:29 pm Reply
  • Sue B

    Wow – what an amazing story and a beautiful find! I have had that happen to me before with smaller pieces, but never had a term for it before – love “god winks” Congratulations on your find – i am going share on my page!

    January 9, 2016 at 10:00 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Yes, love the term. Thank you for sharing!

      January 10, 2016 at 8:21 am Reply
  • Pamela-FromMyFrontPorchToYours

    Larissa it is amazing!!

    January 9, 2016 at 8:03 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Pamela!

      January 10, 2016 at 7:45 am Reply
  • Theresa

    How did you clean it, and did you sand it at all? Thanks!!

    January 19, 2016 at 11:59 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Just water and a stiff brush, trying to be careful not to raise the grain. I did lightly hand sand a few dog chewed spots. 🙂

      January 21, 2016 at 6:28 am Reply
  • Sharon Graham

    Absolutely a gift from God…and I love that you aren’t afraid to share your spirituality .

    March 12, 2016 at 11:24 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Yes, indeed! Thank you for confirming my efforts. It’s hard to keep quiet when He is so good!

      March 14, 2016 at 5:29 am Reply
  • Kate Theroux

    It’s beautiful! Just wondering how to keep it that way…how often do you need to re-apply linseed oil Or can you just apply a furniture polish to keep it looking nice? Thanks! Kate

    September 6, 2016 at 6:07 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I have had mine for about 4 years now and haven’t had to reapply. Maybe in the next couple of years? It depends on your use, humidity, etc.

      September 7, 2016 at 5:39 am Reply
  • Debbie

    I just got my pew. I was reading your comments about the linseed oil. How often do you reapply the oil? My other thought was to use Annie Sloan paint and distress technique but I love the way yours turned out.

    November 29, 2016 at 9:46 am Reply
    • Larissa

      yay! I honestly haven’t reapplied in years, but whenever you see the wood looking tired and dry, just reapply. I honestly can’t paint good wood, especially antiques unless there’s reason. However, it’s yours an do what make you happy!

      November 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm Reply
  • Liz

    I just bought a beautiful pew here in California. Hard to come by here. After months of looking for the right one, I finally found it. It’s back story is that had been in a church in Oklahoma in the 30s and then aquired by a family with the last name of Godbehere. Do you see “Godbehere” ?
    The story just made the pew that much better.

    March 15, 2018 at 11:26 am Reply
    • Larissa

      How wonderful! That truly is amazing.

      March 15, 2018 at 3:12 pm Reply
  • Crystal

    I just bought an old pew that is a sister to yours! I love the sides!!! It is beautiful!!! That woodwork.

    July 18, 2018 at 12:49 am Reply
    • Larissa

      How awesome is that?! They are truly amazing treasures. Enjoy!

      July 19, 2018 at 6:13 am Reply

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