Finishing Exterior Cherry Doors - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 06-25-2019, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
EdM
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Finishing Exterior Cherry Doors

I was wondering if anyone might know if first coat of spar urethane should be thinned if spraying on exterior cherry doors. I was thinking maybe not necessary if pretreating with a sanding sealer. Any input would be appreciated, thanks.
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post #2 of 5 Old 06-25-2019, 10:28 PM
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Most of us don't have the patience to do it but any finish interior or exterior is better done if the first coat or sealer is thinned. It penetrates better making a better bond with the wood. If you use a sanding sealer be sure it's rated for exterior use. Many are not.

The word spar urethane suggests Helmsman. While a spar varnish is a good product to use on an exterior door the Helmsman is one of the worst on the market. If the door is exposed to sun and rain you probably won't get but a couple of years out of it before it starts failing. It's also prone to yellow badly. Cabot makes a better spar but the best is Epifanes. It's formulated to use on the deck of a boat. It also provides more UV protection which is important with cherry. Cherry is very sensitive to sunlight. I saw a guy leave a saw blade on a sheet of cherry plywood for 30 minutes while he went to lunch. After he came back he picked up the saw blade and you could count the number of teeth the blade had in the sheet because the rest of the sheet had darkened.
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post #3 of 5 Old 06-26-2019, 06:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback, I will look into the Epifanes
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post #4 of 5 Old 06-26-2019, 08:16 AM
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The first coat could be thinned but spraying is not normally recommended with urethane. And why are you asking about the first coat in specific?

I have done a lot of boat work in my life as well as lived and traveled on my own boat and I agree 100% with Steve about Epifanes. That is all I use.

There is a 2 component urethane for outdoors but last time I checked, several years ago, it was about $150/qt. Great stuff and is very temperature sensitive for application.

As for MinWax Spar Varnish, it is a joke. It shouldn't even be allowed to be sold with a name like Spar Varnish. I doubt it would last more than 2 months in direct sunlight during the summer in the south.
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Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
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post #5 of 5 Old 06-29-2019, 11:18 AM
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Beautiful door.
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