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Saving the Family Glider

How awesome is powder coating? It might just preserve precious family memories.
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My beloved family glider was in need of help.

For the past few years, I’ve been learning about various aspects of manufacturing by interviewing the people who do the work, visiting trade shows, listening to technical presentations and touring shop floors. When I first stepped into the role of editor for Products Finishing last year, one of the first things I wanted to do was take a powder coating seminar and get some hands-on experience in order to better understand the work. Unfortunately, COVID hit and the training course was cancelled. As things open up, I hope to explore more first-hand training opportunities.

In the meantime, I had another, more personal experience that has brought some of the work I research and write about closer to home. I had some outdoor furniture powder coated. That may not sound like a big deal, but this piece of furniture was pretty important to me.

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When my grandfather passed away a few years ago, my dad and my sister and I set about the task of cleaning out his house. My dad asked if there was anything each of us wanted. I knew instantly what my choice would be — the glider from my pap-paw’s front porch. I had sat on, swung on, climbed all over that avocado green glider my entire life (not in that order). I remember afternoons sitting in the glider talking with my mam-maw. One summer the glider served as an outpost for watching about 25 hummingbirds fight daily over a single plastic feeder filled with sugar water. During the holiday season, the glider doubled as a repository for saws, twine and assorted tools and materials to aid in the sale of Christmas trees, as my pap-paw’s yard was transformed into a retail lot for my dad’s tree farm. My pap-paw loved sitting on the front porch keeping a written tally of the types of cars that went by — and whenever I sat with him, it was in that glider. It’s fair to say that it has been a constant companion.

The past few years the avocado glider, with its chipped paint, has been sitting on my front porch. Whenever I would sit in it, I would notice spots of rust or hear the creaking of its supports. Occasionally, I would look at its undercarriage worrying just how much longer would the beloved glider hold out. Had it ever been repainted? And if I tried to take it apart, would that be the end?

 

Chair parts being processed. Photo: PowderWerx

My wife had also been contemplating re-coating a couple of chairs, so we finally decided it was time. Because of the glider’s sentimental value, we wanted to make sure it was done right. We settled on PowderWerx, a shop that had recently moved to Cincinnati from Monroe, Ohio. Nathan Thompson, president of PowderWerx was happy to give me a quick tour of the facility showing off his powder booth, blasting room and curing oven. He pointed out his plans for expansion which he says may one day include an anodizing line. Nathan showed me various auto parts and powder coated rims as examples (check out the company’s Instagram feed @powder_werx). After seeing some of their work, I was a little embarrassed at the state of my rusty old glider. As Nathan helped me pull it out of my pickup truck, I confided in him that I was a little worried about the rusty swinging mechanisms of the glider surviving the blasting process. Nathan assured me that he’d seen worse and we took it and the chairs into the shop.

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A new look for an old friend. Photo: PowderWerx

It’s kind of funny how the timing on things works out. Nathan was able to work on our furniture at the same time I had planned a trip to visit my dad, who had just finalized his COVID vaccinations. We hadn’t seen him in over a year. A nice family owns my grandfather’s house now, but it’s still there – just down the road from my dad’s place. We drove by it several times during the visit and I’d glance at the porch thinking of my pap-paw. Nathan called to let us know the glider was ready for pick up whenever we got back in town, no rush.

It turned out great.

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