Sealer and clear coat for picnic table - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 03-31-2014, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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Sealer and clear coat for picnic table

Hello everyone. This is my first post so bear with me. I have been into woodworking for the past few years now and am currently just a hobbyist. I recently built a picnic table for out doors, using untreated lumber. Specifically white oak. I am wondering what your opinions are for treating and sealing this wood? I understand that nothing will be permanent and that I will have to redo the process every so often. But I would like something that is long lasting and safe. Also I was planning on clear coating the whole thing with a polyurethane once treated.... Mainly just to give it a bit of a shine and some added protection. So what do you guys suggest? Thanks in advanced. Oh yea, and I am not looking to spend a fortune on a sealer, but doesn't have to be bottom dollar either. Thanks again!
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-01-2014, 12:17 AM
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Hello everyone. This is my first post so bear with me. I have been into woodworking for the past few years now and am currently just a hobbyist. I recently built a picnic table for out doors, using untreated lumber. Specifically white oak. I am wondering what your opinions are for treating and sealing this wood? I understand that nothing will be permanent and that I will have to redo the process every so often. But I would like something that is long lasting and safe. Also I was planning on clear coating the whole thing with a polyurethane once treated.... Mainly just to give it a bit of a shine and some added protection. So what do you guys suggest? Thanks in advanced. Oh yea, and I am not looking to spend a fortune on a sealer, but doesn't have to be bottom dollar either. Thanks again!
You don't want to use polyurethane on a outdoor table. For a film finish you need a marine grade spar varnish. Lowes sells a Cabot marine spar that works pretty good. The best though is Epifanes. It's available at places that sell boats. You don't use a sealer, you just thin the first coat 50/50 with mineral spirits if brushing or naphtha if spraying and continue with the finish not thinned. Another option is oil finishes which have the potential of getting it on your clothes and some that are not any better than vegtable oil like Penofin. The best oil finish I've used is Behr oil-based semi-transparent wood stain. I stained a fence which is in the direct Texas sun in 2007 and it is just beginning to fail. Personally I like a film finish. It's easier to keep clean and when the finish fails isn't that big of a job to refinish. It can easily be done on a weekend.
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-01-2014, 07:11 AM
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I'll second the Epifanes (or other quality marine grade spar). Another choice would be untinted oil based exterior paint (base). If you get the darkest base (normally #4, in Olympic it would be #5) it will look very much like varnish, have the UV inhibitors, and no urethane resins. To prove this, just put a paint stick into the can and wipe it off.

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post #4 of 10 Old 04-01-2014, 07:14 AM
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We have an introduction section where you can say a few words about yourself. If you fill out your profile in your "User Control Panel", you can list any hobbies, experience or other facts. You can also list your general geographical location which would be a help in answering some questions. In doing that your location will show under your username when you post.

I've tried a variety of finishes for outdoor use, and decided a film finish may look good for a while if you like that kind of look. But, all film finishes will fail, some sooner or some later. When they do some major sanding will be in order. If you trap the air inside of the wood, it will react under the film. It will turn cloudy and crusty.

Suggesting a product like Epiphanes, seems to happen to go along with what others suggest. It's like contagious. I've used it and other top spars, like Interlux Schooner. They are good finishes, and it's recommended to apply 6-7 coats. At the cost of that stuff, 6-7 coats of any spar should work for a year or so.

Penofin is a penetrating finish that when used you don't have that problem. If maintenance is necessary, there's no sanding, just clean and re-apply. Just like spars, (which take forever to dry, and don't really get hard) once cured doesn't rub off on clothing. Steve mentioned Penofin is no better than vegetable oil. He admittedly never used Penofin. It has a high UV factor, comes in clear and colors.









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post #5 of 10 Old 04-01-2014, 07:56 AM
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We have an introduction section where you can say a few words about yourself. If you fill out your profile in your "User Control Panel", you can list any hobbies, experience or other facts. You can also list your general geographical location which would be a help in answering some questions. In doing that your location will show under your username when you post.

I've tried a variety of finishes for outdoor use, and decided a film finish may look good for a while if you like that kind of look. But, all film finishes will fail, some sooner or some later. When they do some major sanding will be in order. If you trap the air inside of the wood, it will react under the film. It will turn cloudy and crusty.

Suggesting a product like Epiphanes, seems to happen to go along with what others suggest. It's like contagious. I've used it and other top spars, like Interlux Schooner. They are good finishes, and it's recommended to apply 6-7 coats. At the cost of that stuff, 6-7 coats of any spar should work for a year or so.

Penofin is a penetrating finish that when used you don't have that problem. If maintenance is necessary, there's no sanding, just clean and re-apply. Just like spars, (which take forever to dry, and don't really get hard) once cured doesn't rub off on clothing. Steve mentioned Penofin is no better than vegetable oil. He admittedly never used Penofin. It has a high UV factor, comes in clear and colors.













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I did use Penofin. I applied it according to directions and in two weeks faded away to nothing so I put a second coat on and in three months faded away to nothing again. It wasn't until I put the Behr finish on the deck it stayed finished.
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-01-2014, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the quick responses. I think Im going to go with either the Behr or Epifans. I take it both of these are safe to use on a picnic table where little hands may be involved. That was one of the reasons I chose to stay away from treated lumber. I know there is much debate on treated lumber being safe/not safe, and Im not trying to get into any of that. LOL. But I would still like to make sure which ever product I choose to use will be safe to eat off of should my little one happen to misplace his plate. LOL. Thanks again to everyone!
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post #7 of 10 Old 04-01-2014, 03:38 PM
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Thanks everyone for the quick responses. I think Im going to go with either the Behr or Epifans. I take it both of these are safe to use on a picnic table where little hands may be involved. That was one of the reasons I chose to stay away from treated lumber. I know there is much debate on treated lumber being safe/not safe, and Im not trying to get into any of that. LOL. But I would still like to make sure which ever product I choose to use will be safe to eat off of should my little one happen to misplace his plate. LOL. Thanks again to everyone!
I wouldn't worry about treated wood anymore. The enviromentalist have pushed for the wood not to contain chromated copper arsnick any more. Now it's only in larger timbers like 4x4's and larger. Most of what is in the stores today is treated with alkaline copper quaternary which is safe for children unless they are chewing on it. Really the biggest problem building out of treated wood today is if it's fresh from the factory you may have to wait a couple of months to finish it. Some of it is really wet.
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post #8 of 10 Old 04-01-2014, 03:46 PM
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I think Im going to go with either the Behr or Epifans.
Finishes once cured are food safe. Your choice in using a film finish or a penetrating one is determining how much of a maintenance hassle you want to go through.





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post #9 of 10 Old 04-01-2014, 05:40 PM
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There is also the issue of usability of a film finish compared to an oil finish. With an film finish it's much easier to keep clean with spilled food, dirt and bird droppings. Often with an oil finish these things need to be sanded off and retreated with the oil.
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post #10 of 10 Old 04-01-2014, 07:00 PM
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To all the above posts I would add that using turpentine to thin produces a better finish. Google it and you can learn about the many benefits.

Al

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