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Thread: Outdoor furniture finish

  1. #1
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    Outdoor furniture finish

    A few years ago we bought some wooden outdoor furniture -- from the store that supplies the pictographs of the least creative way to assemble the parts. Even though they've been stored in the garage for the winters, the finish isn't holding up.

    If I recall, they are made of acacia wood. I ended up giving everything a light sanding and gave them a coat of a dark gel stain to even out the colour variations.

    Once that dries, I want to apply some sort of finish to provide some protection from the elements. Am I better off applying something like a spar varnish, thompson's waterseal, or something else? I'm sure there are a variety of opinions on the matter -- so let them fly!

    If it matters, the furniture is the table and chairs we use on our deck.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  2. #2
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    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  3. #3
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    I've used epifanes spar varnish with good success. No greying after 3 yrs now on some morris chairs that get direct sun for over 1/2 a day. It's about time to recoat them I think. from what I've read, you need to put on another coat of finish every 2-3 yrs because the UV protectant breaks down.

    It's not the easiest product to deal with and it's expensive. It would be great for a boat or nice stained wood entryway door that are expensive/need the best protection. It does a great job, but I'm not sure if it was worth the trouble for patio furniture.

  4. #4
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    Hi Chuck,

    Thanks for the tip.

    Have you tried spraying it on, or should I stick with a brush?

  5. #5
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    I don't see why you couldn't spray it.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Ducar View Post
    ... the finish isn't holding up.

    If I recall, they are made of acacia wood. I ended up giving everything a light sanding and gave them a coat of a dark gel stain to even out the colour variations.

    Once that dries, I want to apply some sort of finish to provide some protection from the elements. Am I better off applying something like a spar varnish, thompson's waterseal, or something else? I'm sure there are a variety of opinions on the matter -- so let them fly!

    ...
    If you find ANY long lasting outdoor finish, please let me know.

    Thompson's water seal is a cheap light oil that soaks into the wood, and in my cynical opinion washes off with the first rain. Not good on stained/sealed wood, and ... well, not good. I sometimes use it on weatherbeaten fences and decks, which soak anything in.

    Spar varnish is a soft varnish designed to flex with the changing temperatures, etc. Your primary choice of varnishes for outdoor use. (Spar comes from boat spars - masts).

    I have had mixed luck with Cabot's Australian Timber Oil. It is designed for a hard oily wood, where not much sinks in. Therefore it forms a film on the surface - a cross between oil and varnish. My problem is that, as it wears off, you have an uneven surface, which makes refinishing hard. I am waiting for it to finish wearing off some ipe outdoor furniture, then I don't know what I will use - maybe nothing.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  7. #7
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    I made my first piece of outdoor furniture in 2006. Ive used white cedar, red cedar, redwood, white oak, mahogany, spanish cedar, ipe, pressure treated pine, and maybe a few others I cant think off.

    I dont care what anyone says, not one finish Ive used held up well over the years or prevented discoloration. The sun will ruin any finish.
    I typically use an oil, but it has to be done yearly if you want to keep the furniture looking good.

    The only product Ive used that I have yet to have to retouch after 2 or so seasons, is mahogany with Sikkens and Thompsons.
    Its not furniture, its trim work, shutters, but its the original color and looks the same as the first day I applied it.

    Ive spent a fortune on epifanes, and its looks great for the season, but never holds up.

    A few weeks ago, I sanded down an Ipe outdoor table I made, one I havent touched in 2 years, it was turning grey, and reapplied Messmers deck oil.
    It looks great again, but will need sanding and recoating every year to stay in that condition.

    I gave a neighbor of mine, a set of pressure treated adirondack chairs 3 years ago.
    He paints them redwood color every year, then puts many coats of what I believe is thompsons redwood colored deck treatment. He fusses over them, they look better than the day I gave them to him.
    Last edited by allen levine; 06-07-2011 at 01:09 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by allen levine View Post
    ....
    I dont care what anyone says, not one finish Ive used held up well over the years or prevented discoloration. The sun will ruin any finish.

    ...
    My experience exactly

    Quote Originally Posted by allen levine View Post
    ...
    A few weeks ago, I sanded down an Ipe outdoor table I made, one I havent touched in 2 years, it was turning grey, and reapplied Messmers deck oil.
    It looks great again, but will need sanding and recoating every year to stay in that condition.
    ...
    The local ipe importer here in Austin says that you can power wash and refinish to regain the color (rather than sanding). I have power washed but enough film finish remained that I chose not to refinish... yet. Or may learn to love the gray.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  9. #9
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    I powerwash all my outdoor furniture each season but this year my son borrowed the powerwasher so I havent done it yet.

    I have decent success with thompsons, as far as waterproofing, if I apply at least 2 coats and really let the coats dry thoroughly before applying another.
    sometimes, I have to wait 5 or6 days unti I feel its totall dry.
    water beads up on it like a freshly polished car, dont know how much help it is, but at least I figure the chairs arent getting water ruined.

  10. #10
    My home is located about 10 minutes from the beach...so we all have a big issue here in Florida with not just UV rays destroying a finish....but the salt air as well.

    I have used this product and am very happy with the results. I brushed on and the coat was very even.....try it....not very expensive at all

    http://www.amazon.com/Man-War-Spar-M...ref=pd_cp_hi_3


    Good luck to you!

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