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Thread: Picnic Table Finishing/sealer? Tips? *Pics*

  1. #1

    Picnic Table Finishing/sealer? Tips? *Pics*

    Hello All,

    I'm new to the forum and of course new to finishing wood. I'm pretty handy with a drill or hammer but in the past if it needed sanding it wasn't getting done, period. I don't mind using a drill to build stuff but sanding by hand just bores the life out of me. But, Hubby just got me a random orbit sander! Why didn't we get one of these fascinating little workers sooner!

    I need help with a picnic table I have been wanting to fix since we bought our house two years ago. The picnic table was left by the previous owners to my surprise and I would love to fix it up.

    Here's the poor 1/2 dismantled table. The old, cracked, paint peeling, wood bench seats are still on it but I took the top boards off. I plan on cleaning up the frame, repainting it black and bringing it back to life. It's actually a very solid heavy table when it's put together, doesn't look like much here but I know with a little work I will love it.







    Ok, so we went to Lowe's and purchased:

    The Table is only 70" long so these 8 foot boards will be cut down to size.
    3- 2x10x8 Top Choice GDF (don't remember what kind of wood it was) for the top.
    2- 2x12x8 Top Choice GDF for the bench seats.

    Plus new bolts and nuts needed to fasten them down.

    I really like the natural blond wood look so I'm wanting to seal it clear. The problem is, I have no idea what to use or how to prep the wood.

    I've been sanding it with my awesome sander (I'm in love with this thing!) and rounding out the edges but what do I do next? Note: the board on there now I just started working on.

    Please, help...what sealer would work best for outdoor use and would waterproof it against the misters on my patio? Any tips on applying the finish, do I need a wood filler or not?

    I know it's a simple project but it's a first for me so any help or advice you have is appreciated. If this goes well and turns out nice I'm hoping to get more creative in the future with stains and router bits on other projects

    Thankx,
    Erin

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Posts
    8,529
    Hi Erin and welcome to the Family. I take it since you mentioned misters you are somewhere in the southwest. Anything you use will require reapplication in time also with the brutal sun we have in the southwest it will be hard to keep the color. If it were me I'd just apply Thompsons water seal and let the color fad to a nice rustic grey. It won't require you to strip it down which just about anything else you woul use would.

    I did this to a deck when I lived in Southern Cal and 15 years later it looked great.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Hello Don and thank you for the welcome

    I think you have a good idea, I didn't really think about the sun or having to reapply the finish latter. I know with my rustic bench out front the wood slats are losing there finish and sun bleaching in spots. So, I'm guessing that's what my table would do if I didn't take the time to refinish it each year.

    Your right, I live in Southern California. The heat, sun and dryness takes it's toll on wooden patio furniture. I think I might just take your advice and do the Thompson's water sealer, I don't mind it fading though I do really like the blond natural color, I just want to see the knots and have it look more natural, not painted over.

    Thankx for your ideas. If I used the Thompson's what kind of prep work would I need to do and how easy is it to apply?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Posts
    8,529
    Just Sand it down good and then apply the water sealer like you would paint. It is very thin. Keep applying it until the wood quits soaking up the sealer. Next year repeat and you will get many years of service out of the table. After you are done sanding, then drill the holes you will need to assemble but don't bolt them down. Apply it to all of the board on all sides before you assembling the table. If you don't have a good drill then have you hubby get you one. It's always nice to get new tools..
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    Thankx for the tips

    Hubby and I have different ideas of "cool tools". He can spend $200 on a torque wrench and think that's an awesome tool where as I don't understand spending that kind of money on a tool that doesn't even have a motor.

    But, we have different hobbys, he fixes the cars and I fix just about everything else. I don't have the patience for fixing cars and he doesn't have the creativity or interest to build stuff. lol We stay out of each others hair and get along just great. hahaha

    He did get me a 19.2v Craftsman drill 2 Christmas's ago, so I do have a nice drill I use all the time. Now I have this nifty little sander to get creative with. Next I think I want some decorative router bits for the Dremell

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    new york city burbs
    Posts
    10,188
    I keep my favorite outdoor wood tables under a little canopy so the direct sunlight doesnt fade them all that quickly. I also redo them when they take on any greyish tint. You have the sander, every few months throw a few drops of water on it, if it beads up, the thompsons sealent is working fine, just try to keep the sun off of it as much as possible, if possible.
    I love outdoor wood furniture, I have a few chairs and tables myself.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
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    8,529
    Quote Originally Posted by Erin Reichelt View Post
    Now I have this nifty little sander to get creative with. Next I think I want some decorative router bits for the Dremell

    Nah you need to get a proper router. Like this one.
    http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...1&d=1249861567
    Also a table saw, a band saw, planer, joiner, band saw and lathe. This is just the short list. Oh and don't forget a Lathe..

    Your in for a whole new world of consumer spending.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails router.jpg  
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,008
    Erin, the light blonde color you're seeing now in the wood will eventually darken into more of an amber color, then eventually it'll go gray like most of the rest of us. As Allen mentioned, keeping the wood out of direct sunlight will be a big help towards retaining the color.

    And the Thompson's Water Seal is a good idea. The spar varnish I mentioned earlier in my e-mail message would require periodic re-sanding and re-application. That's what's often used on boats and such, but it does need regular maintenance.

    Quote Originally Posted by allen levine View Post
    ... I have a few chairs and tables myself.
    That's like saying Los Angeles has a few cars and trucks.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  9. #9
    Thankx for the tips, Allen. I plan on putting this on my back patio and I'm hoping it won't fade out that fast, it will be under the patio. So, it will only get morning sun then be shaded for the rest of the day.

    If it was on my front patio I would be in trouble, everything bakes in the sun out there from noon tell sunset. Lately we are having a cooling trend in the 90's but last week it was 105 most of the week. You could cook an egg on my front door step it gets so hot out there, we are eventually going to extend the patio to make a drive under car port and to keep the sun off the front patio. Until then I don't plan on putting anything that's nice wood out there.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Don Baer View Post
    Nah you need to get a proper router. Like this one.
    http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...1&d=1249861567
    Also a table saw, a band saw, planer, joiner, band saw and lathe. This is just the short list. Oh and don't forget a Lathe..

    Your in for a whole new world of consumer spending.
    ohhh, noooo I can't bring a list to Hubby like that! One thing at a time and I have to show him I can finish a table before I want to convert the garage to a wood shop!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Erin, the light blonde color you're seeing now in the wood will eventually darken into more of an amber color, then eventually it'll go gray like most of the rest of us. As Allen mentioned, keeping the wood out of direct sunlight will be a big help towards retaining the color.

    And the Thompson's Water Seal is a good idea. The spar varnish I mentioned earlier in my e-mail message would require periodic re-sanding and re-application. That's what's often used on boats and such, but it does need regular maintenance.
    Ohh, ok. So it will get a little darker first before starting to turn gray. I will just make sure I keep it under the patio and put a few good layers of the sealer on it. I'm sure it will turn out great, I would like the amber color too and I'm sure I would get used to the gray too as long as it was sealed and didn't look dry or splintery.

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