How to Create a "Stone" Trough from an Old Belfast Sink

If you have an old belfast sink that is beyond practical use in the kitchen give it a new lease of life as an aged and weathered "stone" trough in the garden or patio.

Steps

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    Reuse your old belfast sink (sometimes known as a butler sink). Typically they made from heavy white glazed earthenware. If you don't have one they can sometimes be obtained from architectural salvage yards or country auctions.
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    Thoroughly clean away all traces of grease or soap.
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    Obtain a can of black bitumastic sealant from good hardware store or builders merchants.
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    Use an old fence brush you no longer value.
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    Paint all around the outside, including the rim, and, to a depth of 4 inches (10.2 cm), around the top of the interior.
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    Allow to dry completely.
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    Thoroughly mix up a dry combination of: 3 parts sharp sand; 1 part Portland cement; 1 part just slightly damp garden peat.
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    Make a mound of the mix with a well in the middle and gradually introduce water into the well, mixing thoroughly. Do not make the mix too sloppy or you will not get it to stay on the vertical sides of the sink.
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    Starting from the base with a brick trowel, liberally apply the mix (about 1" thick) to the external sides. Next do the same to the interior sides. Lastly, carefully apply the mix to the rim, taking care not to dislodge the mix from the sides. Do not try to get the surfaces perfect - its supposed to resemble rough stone!
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    Carefully use an old stiff nylon pot brush to texture the render, but take care in your enthusiasm.
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    Throw handfuls of well-fragmented, dry peat at the rendered surfaces. You only need a small amount to remain all over the surface.
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    Leave to dry out and cure.An old damp hessian sack draped over the sink will prevent the render from drying out too quickly during hot weather or if there is a risk of frost.
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    When the new trough is completely hard and dry you can apply a wash of either cow manure or natural yogurt. Both will encourage mosses and lichens to colonize the rendered trough.
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    Carefully move the trough to its new site.
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    Fill the trough with good topsoil mixed with well rotted compost and plant your favorite plants.
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    Don't be too impatient for the "stone" to colonize - it's a slow and natural process. You could take photos at regular intervals and compare the progress made - you'll be surprised.
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    Enjoy!

Warnings

  • Be careful when moving or lifting the heavy trough. Be aware of guidelines regarding manual lifting.

Article Info

Categories: Landscaping and Outdoor Building