From antique manger to magazine holder

14 Sealinthefog Antique Manger

It’s been ages since we last shared something here on We have been slightly ‘trapped’ between works and new life in Melbourne and weeks passed by without even noticing!

But it is finally time for another DIY!!!

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The antique manger that you see in the pictures is one of the many projects Matteo and I worked on last summer, between leaving Jerusalem and moving to Melbourne. We found it during the numerous days we spent through the huge amount of car parts of Matteo’s grandad, selecting them, rearranging and selling them.

This manger is pretty old and when we noticed it laying underneath dust and some car seats, we knew we wanted it. Matteo told me that it must have been from his great-grandfather, that had a shed there with chickens, rabbits and a pig. It was probably the pig’s manger and thus it dates back to the beginning of the 20th century or maybe the end of the 19th. Later is surely served other purposes, including being a bucket for  the cement preparation.

The years left it in rough conditions, and although is seemed rotten is some parts, we decided to give it a try: it was hand-made (and later someone added some metal nails to prevent it from falling apart) and it is part of the family’s history!

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Once home the first thing we did was sanding it: we was able to eliminate almost the entire cement that was stuck to the inside, the dust that had accumulated and unveil the original and beautiful grain of the wood.

One of the base slats was missing so Matteo made one from some scrap wood: we didn’t want it to match perfectly, we just wanted it to be of similar dimensions and not too different in color. We attached it with wood glue and some nails: pretty good job, right?!

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Once this first phase was done, we thought it would be really important to apply a woodworm treatment product to the manger. We are quite sure it didn’t have woodworms, but just some very old holes. However we thought that it was just easier to do it in that moment instead of taking the risk of having to do it later.
We bought a big can of liquid product, that we used on the manger and on other diy projects we worked on (and that we will hopefully share in the near future).
Applying the woodworm treatment is a time-consuming process: the best way of doing it is injecting the liquid in each hole with a syringe and later apply it with a brush on the entire surface. And that’s what we did!
Once done we wrapped the manger in a big plastic bag and left it outside in a protected area for one week: this resting period is very important, since the treatment has to penetrate the wood and kill the larvae of the woodworms.

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After one week we took it out of the bag and left it a few hours in the sun, so it could dry out completely. At that point the wood was very light coloured and we loved it. We knew though that it wasn’t going to stay like that. Because of the woodworm treatment, of the cement, of the dust, the use, the years the wood was very dry and we were sure that once we would start applying a varnish, the wood would absorb it completely and turn darker.

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We were right. We used a transparent matte water based varnish and I had to apply 3 coats. As soon as the varnish had cured it was ready to shine as a magazine and books holder at Matte’s mum house. Each old mark and stain of the wood is evident and reveals it’s story.

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