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I posted this in the general discussion area, but this is probably a better place for it.

I need some advice on finishing two "deluxe" cornhole boards (that is, a bean-bag-tossing yard game). From what I've read online, water-based poly is the best choice because it yellows the least with time and UV exposure? But I've got cherry edging and inlay, and I know from experience that water-based can take away a lot of the warmth from cherry. So my question: Would it be alright to have one layer of oil-based poly for the first coat, to give the cherry some warmth, then covering it with water-based? Or would that defeat the purpose of using water-based in the first place? Should I look into using two-part epoxy?

What would you guys advise?
 

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The best outdoor finish is paint, but it sounds like you want the wood to show through. In that case, good spar varnish is the way to go. The reason I highlighted "good" is because there's lots of stuff sold as Spar Varnish that is more flexible than regular varnish, but doesn't have the UV inhibitors to stand up to the sun. The sun is the real enemy, that's why paint holds up better than varnish. The sun's UV rays can go through the clear varnish, break down the surface of the wood, that breaks the bond between the wood and the varnish and it peels. The other thing to do is to keep them covered and/or out of the sun when they're not in use. Epifanes is largely considered the best spar varnish, followed by Interlux and Petit. Go to a marine supply store for Spar varnish rather than a big box store.


Epoxy could be used as a seal coat for Spar Varnish, but it really doesn't hold up in the sun. It has to be topcoated with something with UV inhibitors. Epoxy seems like a bit of overkill for cornhole boards unless you expect to have underwater tournaments. :smile3:


PS, Spar varnish will also pop the grain like you want.
 
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