Salvage Sister creates Brighton West Pier Bench

Charis Williams is  The Salvage Sister from BBC1’s ‘Getting the Builders in’,  presenter from Channel 4’s ‘Fill Your House for Free’ and UKTV’s ‘The New Reclaimers’. She’s a Designer and Metalworker who loves to create unusual, quality homewares with salvaged items. Recently, she was contacted by a client who had bought a cast iron seat-back from the West Pier following a fragment sale earlier in the year. Charis was commissioned to design a bench for a client’s father as a 70th Birthday gift. The bench was to comprise  the cast iron back salvaged from the West Pier and cast iron arms reclaimed from elsewhere.

Says Charis, ‘The challenge in the design & fabrication of the bench was to match the curve of the arms to the curve of the back with wood which is obviously straight, & the curvatures were completely different. I combated this by removing sections of wood to the rear of the 1/4 length slats on the back of the bench so the transition from one curve to the other was more subtle and ergonomic. 

My first job was to create a metal framework to support the weight of the cast iron back and anyone sitting on it. I used flat bar & welded the new frame parts together which bolted onto the original parts. I used most of the original holes in the arms to attach the wood, I only needed to create a few extra holes where the change in design required them. I used reclaimed roofing board from community wood recycling depot The Wood Store in Elder place Brighton. The wood has a beautiful natural stripe effect running through it which I really love. I cut the wood to the size I needed for my slats before routering the edges with a nice curve for comfort & drilling holes for attaching and creating those tricky 1/4 length slats with cutouts to the rear. My client painted the beautiful turquoise colour on the metal parts herself, and I protected the wood with Osmo oil in dark oak which complimented the turquoise perfectly & really brought out those stripes in the wood. All strapping & supports were handmade & replaced making this bench very strong & sturdy, not to mention stylish!’

Charis has done an amazing job and her client’s father was absolutely thrilled with it. 

If you’re interested in learning more about woodworking, powertools & upcycling skills in Brighton, why not join Charis’s workshops? They are all bookable through her website.

Salvage Sister Instagram to see more of Charis’s work


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