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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

My first post. I’m a super newbie to woodworking, started last year.

While I have some projects under my belt, I have near zero experience with finishes.

For a family member’s birthday I’m making a little outdoor end table for the patio.


What are some of the go-to combinations for exterior protection? Any suggestions appreciated 👍
Wood Rectangle Circle Table Pattern
 

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For an exterior finish you need a spar varnish. Probably the worst is Helmsman spar urethane. The best is Epifanes but is somewhere around 50 bucks a quart. A mid range varnish you could use is Cabot or Olympic.

The reason a spar is needed is it's elastic enough to withstand the wood movement from it being outdoors. A finish that is too hard is likely to crack from the weather extremes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
For an exterior finish you need a spar varnish. Probably the worst is Helmsman spar urethane. The best is Epifanes but is somewhere around 50 bucks a quart. A mid range varnish you could use is Cabot or Olympic.

The reason a spar is needed is it's elastic enough to withstand the wood movement from it being outdoors. A finish that is too hard is likely to crack from the weather extremes.
Thanks Steve,

I’m usually all about trial and error but I’d rather not err this one too bad as it’s a gift.

I’m going to go read up on spar varnish now 👍 looking to see if I should/can use an oil first…I’ll update the thread afterwards.
 

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Thanks Steve,

I’m usually all about trial and error but I’d rather not err this one too bad as it’s a gift.

I’m going to go read up on spar varnish now 👍 looking to see if I should/can use an oil first…I’ll update the thread afterwards.
Using an oil is unnecessary, there is the same oil contained in the varnish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Using an oil is unnecessary, there is the same oil contained in the varnish.
Yea so I read! Definitely going with some Epifanes…

I’m curious about the differences between their clear varnish and wood finish but I suspect either would work well for this.
 

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I'm being nosey here, but how thick are those inlayed pieces?

If this is going outside, you will get a lot of moisture swings, and I would predict a decent amount of wood movement. Be advised it might not last too long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm being nosey here, but how thick are those inlayed pieces?

If this is going outside, you will get a lot of moisture swings, and I would predict a decent amount of wood movement. Be advised it might not last too long.
Thanks for the insight,
You’re probably highlighting some newbie design methods here as inlaid stuff like this might not be the best pick for outdoor projects.

they’ll be about 1/8th inch thick after everything.
 

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Yea so I read! Definitely going with some Epifanes…

I’m curious about the differences between their clear varnish and wood finish but I suspect either would work well for this.
The wood finish is formulated for types of wood that are oily such as teak. When you finish teak it's difficult to get a good adhesion because of the natural oils in the wood. A lot of teak fresh out of the planer feels like it's been rubbed down with paste wax. Most people will wipe down teak wood with acetone to remove as much of the oil as possible before finishing it. The clear varnish is just a marine grade spar varnish which you would use for normal wood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The wood finish is formulated for types of wood that are oily such as teak. When you finish teak it's difficult to get a good adhesion because of the natural oils in the wood. A lot of teak fresh out of the planer feels like it's been rubbed down with paste wax. Most people will wipe down teak wood with acetone to remove as much of the oil as possible before finishing it. The clear varnish is just a marine grade spar varnish which you would use for normal wood.
gotcha 👍 Thanks for the info!
 
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