blobula

How to finish pine for outdoor use

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Hello,

 

I'm new to woodworking and had a question about the best steps I can follow to finish a pine table for outdoor use.

 

I know now after reading different forums that Pine was a very poor wood choice for outdoor use, however, I'm now a little smarter for future projects. Having said that I built a picnic table and chair that will go on my deck and was wondering what the best way to finish and seal it would be?  Is there a way to stain and seal it keeping the grain of the wood visible, or is is best to just prime and paint it? I live in an environment that sees all 4 seasons consistently.

 

What products would you suggest for either of those two options?

 

 

Thank you!

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Seal it with shellac and apply a semitransparent stain. After you colored your table apply 3-4 coats of marine varnish (spar) and enjoy. You should recoat it every couple of years though. 

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Hi blobula

 

Just to throw a couple of other options at you. 

 

if you like natural look for a UV resistant oil

 

If you want a more robust finish look at Sikkens or a similar maker of external finishes.

 

Whichever you chose make sure you take special care to coat the end grain when you apply your chosen finish.

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General Finishes Exterior 450 http://www.generalfinishes.com/professional-products/water-base-exterior-finishes/exterior-450-outdoor-finish#.UWp1BLXCbTo is a superb product and is designed for outdoor environments. It has UV inhibitors and is slightly amber in hue.

You can brush, wipe or spray it on and it is waterbased.

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I have never had much like with outdoor wood finish. In the future, I am planning on using "outdoor" wood like cedar, white oak, and teak (if I can afford it) -and skipping the finish. Interesting enough, there is an article in the new FWW magazine on outdoor furniture this month.

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Opaque and semi-transparent deck and siding stains can also help pine last outside.  If you can find it, the _oil based_ version of Olympic Maximum is also very, very good!  The water based version of the same stuff is awful.

 

With pine, I'd probably avoid film finishes, as the wood may check or crack a lot faster than a good outdoor wood.  Once a crack opens, films are often toast, and they're a bear to repair.  Most penetrating oils or stains are easy to add more, if the wood creates more exposed surfaces.

 

As a few others have mentioned, give the end grain surfaces as much as they can drink.

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I'll have to check my local stores for these options above. What about products from Cabot? 

 

Just so I understand.

 

If I purchase a stain & sealer in one that is all that I need. I'll just need to add a couple coats especially on the end grain. Something like this mentioned above. http://www.lowes.com/pd_15211-86-57505A/01_0__?productId=3014087&Ntt=stains+and+sealers&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dstains%2Band%2Bsealers&facetInfo=

 

If not, I'll need to seal it first then apply a semi transparent stain then a marine varnish on top of that.

 

Thank you!

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I'll have to check my local stores for these options above. What about products from Cabot? 

 

Just so I understand.

 

If I purchase a stain & sealer in one that is all that I need. I'll just need to add a couple coats especially on the end grain. Something like this mentioned above. http://www.lowes.com/pd_15211-86-57505A/01_0__?productId=3014087&Ntt=stains+and+sealers&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dstains%2Band%2Bsealers&facetInfo=

 

If not, I'll need to seal it first then apply a semi transparent stain then a marine varnish on top of that.

 

Thank you!

I don't know if the stain and sealer in one will eliminate blotchyness though. That's why you should seal it first and then apply your stain. Either way when finishing do an extra coat on your end grain for whatever method. 

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I made a picnic table years ago using pine and sealed it with 6 coats of Helmsman Gloss Exterior Spar Varnish.  (first coat thinned 50% with Mineral Spirits)  This set on a concrete deck, so it wasn't sitting in dirt.

 

Set out winter and summer uncovered for 7 years.  After 7 years, I sanded it lightly and put another two coats of finish on it.  When I sold that house I left it for the buyers, but it looked as good as the day I made it.  

 

Of course, if you don't like the glossy look it's not an option, but That spar varnish holds up wonderfully.

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Another product not mentioned, but I have heard good things about is Penofin. Very easy to care for your project as reapplication of the finish does not require stripping the old finish off. Just something to think about when maintenance of your project comes due down the road. HTH

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If you watch Marc's video about his outdoor table, he coated the parts that contacted the ground with CPES (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer).  Since pine is very susceptible to rot, you may want to do the same for anything with ground contact.

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I've tried a number of different things over the past 40 years on docks here.  Of course, it's all treated wood, but I would think that the longest lasting finishes would be directly proportional to the longest lasting wood under it.  One word   Sikkens. Apply it outside on a day when you have a light wind-it's strong stuff regardless of any VOC claims.  And at the other extreme, regular Thompson's is better than you might think.  I would do more on the end grain of untreated pine than just a couple of coats.  You want it to drink up as much as it will.  I'd leave any ends that will sit on the ground soaking in it overnight.

 

CPES is good stuff, but if you have some other epoxy sitting around anyway, just thin it about 10% with Xylene and let the end grain drink what it will.

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