Looking for a finish to stand up to the elements for your outdoor wooden furniture? This 4 step process could make for something bomb proof.
There's nothing worse than spending a great deal of time building beautiful outdoor furniture just to end up having to sand and re-finish it year after year. That's why I wanted to share this process with you that I found from Marc Spagnuolo over thewoodwhisperer.com. He's been experimenting with some of the different finishing products listed below and has an interesting combination to protect outdoor furniture from the elements for years to come.
I'm sure there are many processes and products that work well, but if you're looking to experiment with something new then this might be for you. I like that he starts with epoxy fill to close up any gaps or holes and then epoxy sealer to block out moisture and essential create a waterproof skin around the entire piece.
The finish is a 1-2 punch consisting of an epoxy sealer and a marine varnish. Because the wood was in such bad shape and I didn’t want a high gloss finish, two additional products were added to the lineup. In short, the goal is to use epoxy to seal the wood fibers and essentially make them impervious to liquids. This provides an excellent base on which to build numerous coats of varnish. The varnish has a lot of solids and is made with very flexible resins that should have no trouble stretching when the wood expands and contracts. The varnish also contains UV inhibitors which will slow down the breakdown of the finish itself while also protecting the underlying wood fibers.
Step 1 – Epoxy Fill
My product of choice for this step is West System Epoxy. I usually buy the gallon size Resin, the 205 Fast Hardener, and the pump set for convenient mixing. The epoxy is spread along the surface and driven into the cracks with a putty knife. You can then use something like an irrigation syringe to push more epoxy into the deepest holes.
Step 2 – Epoxy Sealer
For this project I did a little more research and came across a zero VOC product called Total Boat Penetrating Epoxy. It mixed and applied easy enough and the smell was not unpleasant at all. The product also took 5-6 days to cure. But once cured, the surface can be sanded smooth in preparation for the varnish.
Step 3 – Marine Varnish
I’ve been using Epifanes Marine Varnish for years on my outdoor projects. I apply a total of 4-5 coats, the first few diluted by 50% with mineral spirits. The last coat or two get diluted a little less at 25%. Application is done with either a foam brush or a good quality natural bristle brush.
Step 4 – Matte Varnish
The regular Epifanes product is high gloss. And after 4-5 coats we’re talking a seriously substantial film! To give the piece a little more of a “relaxed” look, I like to apply two additional coats of Epifanes Wood Finish Matte. This stuff is flat as flat can be and I love the appearance. I only have to dilute it by about 10% to get the flow just right.
Check out the rest of his article and blog at thewoodwhisperer.com
Photo courtesy of thewoodwhisperer.com
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