Staining pine (Whitewood) for exterior use - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 08-09-2015, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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Staining pine (Whitewood) for exterior use

I'm fairly new to woodworking with the exception of a few random projects here and there (headboard, nightstands, etc). I have recently built myself an Adirondack chair from plans I found in a book and a few people have expressed interest in having me make some for them. In order to keep my cost down for my original chair, I purchased all whitewood pine and finished it using countersunk deck screws covered with plugs. I finished the project with Olympic Elite "Mountain Cedar" stain/sealer. Water beads off of it quite nicely, in my opinion.
Now, having said that, I have since learned that pine is obviously not a proper choice for outdoors use (I knew this but was keeping my initial cost down since I didn't know how the first would turn out). I have also learned about wood conditioner, other choices of wood, etc. My question is this:
These interested parties obviously would like to keep their costs down as well, otherwise they would buy pre-built chairs, but they also like this design. I'm wondering what, if anything, I can do to help keep the wood protected without having to step into something like cedar? Will the Olympic Elite work fine or should I abandon the pine and simply not offer the chairs unless they agree to higher priced materials such as cedar (not necessarily cheap in Middle TN.... ~$20 for 1x6x8)? If pine will work (they're sitting on patios/pavers, not bare grass or earth) what would be my best method of sealing/staining? From what I've gathered, you cannot seal over Olympic Elite because it has a sealer in it already so adding marine varnish won't work. What other options are out there for staining/sealing pine for exterior use and what would be the proper process to ensure it holds up? (not forever, but for a few years anyway. We don't get real harsh winters here but we have plenty of rain in spring/summer and the humidity is stupid high).
I know that I need a conditioner first, but then I'm sort of not sure where to go from there because the Internet is full of information, some right and some wrong. Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Also, I tried searching first but didn't get many results (searched for: exterior stain pine, pine stain exterior, exterior pine stain, staining pine for exterior, and a few others). I'm on my phone so not sure if that affects search results or not. A link to a good posted discussion is helpful, also.
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post #2 of 3 Old 08-09-2015, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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The chairs mentioned above.
Four plugs are missing from the front, if you noticed please don't ding me on that.
Also, the garage is a wreck but I work with what I have. I'm by no means a professional woodworker.

(I've tried rotating these photos on my phone but they still post sideways. Apologies)
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Last edited by Steve Neul; 08-09-2015 at 07:22 AM.
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post #3 of 3 Old 08-09-2015, 07:18 AM
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Pine isn't quite as durable as cedar and some other woods for outdoor use but if you keep the chairs on the concrete pads and maintain a finish on them will give you many years of use. It's only when you allow water to get to the wood it starts to fail. Much of the exterior of your house is pine and if kept finished doesn't rot on you. Your chairs would be the same.

If you are going to put a very light colored or clear finish on the chairs then you don't need a wood conditioner. A wood conditioner is a sealer which helps you stain woods like pine in order to stain it without the color going blotchy. Woods like pine have hard and soft places and the soft parts of the wood tend to go very dark when you stain it.

About the Olympic Elite finish, it would work for you alone if you would apply a fresh coat every few months. You mainly look for the wood to start looking dry to tell you when to recoat. If you didn't have more than a coat or two of it on the wood there is also no reason you couldn't use a marine grade spar varnish over the top of it either. Just be sure it has dried about a week first. What you would need to especially make sure you get a lot of finish into is the ends of the wood. The bottom of the legs especially as it will sit on the concrete and soak up water like a sponge and cause the wood to decay. It would also help in you would put nylon tacks on the bottom of the legs to lift the wood off the concrete. Just put a little silicone around where you drive the nail in.
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