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I've posted the following message in the General Wood Section, but my question seems to be more a finishing question now:

I'm a high school student building an outdoor bar in my backyard. Everything has gone smoothly, but I'm debating on what to make the countertop out of. My family just redid our kitchen and we have all of this tongue and groove cherry wood left over. Not being too experienced with wood, I'm not sure if cherry can be put outdoors. While mostly under a roof, the counter would be exposed to rain and the New Jersey climate. I would definitely coat it with some preserver or sealer (monthly/yearly if I needed to), but some people I've talked to said cherry is not supposed to be outside. I want to be careful and I don't want to build the counter then have it be ruined in a year so any information would be greatly appreciated.

I've received answers in this forum and others, and most seem to agree that cherry can be used outside, but that it's just a matter of what to preserve it with. Someone suggested Spar marine varnish?? Someone in another forum gave some negatives to using Spar and suggested to paint it with a clear finish-I think (Here's the link: http://community.woodmagazine.com/dgroups/index.jsp?plckForumPage=ForumDiscussion&plckDiscussionId=Cat%3a8068d542-84e7-4789-9133-cb8743c46c54Forum%3a0dfd8ffc-8454-4518-a922-9eab1aed8cf1Discussion%3acbdd3b35-ef15-4729-941e-5e994902c749 ) Any more opinions on the matter would be great. Thanks for the help
 

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This is not another opinion like you asked for :laughing:, just the same one with some anecdotal evidence. My younger brother lives in the Tampa Florida area and does repair/resto on sailboats and motor yachts (he doesn't even have a house, he lives on a 50' Hatteras) The bulk of his work is refinishing the wood on these vessels. The Florida sun and especially saltwater is a harsh climate. I scanned through that link you posted and the complaint with the Spar was cracking and subsequent mold. That says to me improper application ,they didn't do the WHOLE piece just the "weather side". That allowed moisture to get into the wood which caused it to expand and crack the surface.

You can't just varnish the top, the bottom and mostly endgrain will absorb moiture, get under the finish and cause failure. My brother and I have talked about how labor intense it is to properly finish exterior wood like in his application. He has to pull all the deck hardware, make sure ALL the wood is sealed and replace the hardware. If it was not sealed properly (like just varnish around things) water would find its way under the the surrounding finish. He has to pull the portal trim and do all the endgrain...and so on.

Proper finishing is going to be key to success in any exterior application. Do it wrong, get bad results. I still say marine varnish. If it can stand up to corrosive salt air/spray and high UV exposure 300+ days a year (and in the case of ship decks, high foot traffic..most of the time the deck shoes are covered/embedded with sand, like walking around with sandpaper on your feet) It should work for a counter top. :thumbsup:
 
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