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As one of my next DIY projects I'm going to build an outdoor bench for my front patio.  I found plans for one on Ana White's blog and will likely use it as the template.  I plan to build it out of 2x4 and 1x pine stock staining it dark and then applying an exterior finish of some type.

That is where I am having trouble identifying the better or best finish to use.  Polyeurethane products I am finding are not exterior grade.  The bench will see a lot of morning sun and of course rain, ice, snow, etc. 

Suggestions?

Thank you,

Bryan Ebling

 

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I like a good redwood stain.  I used Thompson redwood stain last year like that real well. 
Hi Bryan - you can go with a Spar Polyurethane. That has UV inhibitors in it. I did my picnic table and benches with Benjamin Moore semi transparent stain.

Minwax oil stain, followed by Minwax Spar Urethane. Spar Urethane is actually Marine quality, meaning you can use it on boats and it holds up well. Proper application is the key. If staining, follow the directions and sand it to a nice smooth finish, then apply the stain, and remove. Allow to dry as the directions say. Feel the wood and see if the grains have stood up any. If they have use 220 or higher sand paper and do a very light sanding, more to remove the standing grains then to remove the stain. Wipe up all the sanding dust. Get your Spar and follow the directions. There are some videos by Minwax on applying the Spar (just do a google video search for minwax spar and you will find it) do not apply thick coats, only thin even coats. If you want a nice thick coat, use 220 between coats very lightly only to score the finish to allow the next coat to bond with it. Allow to dry per directions between each coat. your last coat, you can use a 400 grit sand paper and use mineral spirits to lightly do a wet sanding. This will get any dust or whatever that settles on the final coat when drying. 

Hope your project turns out nicely, be sure to post pictures of it.

Bryan,

I built a picnic table at my cottage a few years ago.  It was built with the same wood you note above.  I stained it dark and used marine varnish from a local big box hardware store to seal it.  it still looks great 3 years later and it has seen every element and temperature from -40F to 95F.  The only downside is that is does have a glossy finish to it.  If you don't like that look then I would use a fence or deck stain.  Hope that helps.

Thanks; That is actually the look i'm after.  Glad I dont see that -40F though!  However, we will see 100+ a few days a year.

Mike McGuire said:

Bryan,

I built a picnic table at my cottage a few years ago.  It was built with the same wood you note above.  I stained it dark and used marine varnish from a local big box hardware store to seal it.  it still looks great 3 years later and it has seen every element and temperature from -40F to 95F.  The only downside is that is does have a glossy finish to it.  If you don't like that look then I would use a fence or deck stain.  Hope that helps.

Thanks for all of the replies, they are all helpful. 

If others have suggestions or thoughts please respond too.

B

Bryan,

 

For all my outdoor cedar furniture, I'm now using Epifanes marine boat varnish that Fine Woodworking Magazine reviewed on a while back.  It was one of the most durable and lasting finishes available.  Their website instucts on how to apply it (thinning coats up to full strength).  So far it's holding up very well!

 

Larry

I have always had problems with using polyurethanes meant for wood. I have tried, automotive polyurethane. The logic is cars take a heavy beating with respect to the weather, still they go on with little maintenance.  I would not be very sure, because it's just been a year since I have done it, it is still holding. I will know what happens in another year  I suppose.  The major factor with wood is the expansion and contraction, which could break the film. Any way all the manufacturers I contacted here were not sure, so for me it's a hit and miss situation.
Thanks everyone... I used a Minwax Spar Urethane over a light walnut stain.  Three coats of spar urethane.  Time will tell how it holds up in the elements.This is what it looks like now.
Looks great Bryan.
Fantastic job also being a mason for many yrs I love patio

Bryan,

I know that this is an older post, but the bench looks great.  Are you still happy with the finish a year later?  What sheen did you go with; high gloss, semi gloss, or satin?  I am finishing an Adirondack Chair and I had the same question you did.  Thanks for any feedback.


Bryan Ebling said:

Thanks everyone... I used a Minwax Spar Urethane over a light walnut stain.  Three coats of spar urethane.  Time will tell how it holds up in the elements.This is what it looks like now.

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