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Howdy all, new here and in working with WRC. I recently saw a bench I loved and got an ideal to build one of my own. I have just found the material and it has been air dried for several years and seems to be great. Before I put the bench together, I'd like to finish the wood at least up to the final coat. This bench will set outside, see the morning sun, and get limited rain on it since it will be under the eave of the house. I live in NE Texas were temps do get warm, and humidity pretty high at times. Cold is not a big issue but it does get cold at times. Down to the 10's sometimes.

I want to keep the wood natual color and not let it change to weathered grey. That looks good but the red is just so beautiful. My question is, what do I finish it with to keep it natural and to allow the color to shine through. I've read several threads about different finishes but am as lost as a goose in a pepper patch when it comes to finishing wood, especially WRC.

Appreciate your time and hope to get some great ideals on what to use.
 

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Howdy all, new here and in working with WRC. I recently saw a bench I loved and got an ideal to build one of my own. I have just found the material and it has been air dried for several years and seems to be great. Before I put the bench together, I'd like to finish the wood at least up to the final coat. This bench will set outside, see the morning sun, and get limited rain on it since it will be under the eave of the house. I live in NE Texas were temps do get warm, and humidity pretty high at times. Cold is not a big issue but it does get cold at times. Down to the 10's sometimes.

I want to keep the wood natual color and not let it change to weathered grey. That looks good but the red is just so beautiful. My question is, what do I finish it with to keep it natural and to allow the color to shine through. I've read several threads about different finishes but am as lost as a goose in a pepper patch when it comes to finishing wood, especially WRC.

Appreciate your time and hope to get some great ideals on what to use.
Everything is going to take a beating outside over time. For an exterior finish you want a coating that is on the flexible side, such as a spar varnish. I would search for one that has UV blockers in it, such as Epiphanes or Sikkens Cetol. What you DO NOT want to use is polyurethane, far to brittle for outdoor use, even if it says exterior on it. Most varnishes will have a slight amber cast to it, but will likely not shift the red of the cedar much at all. Whatever you use to a sample board before doing your finished product.
 

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There is no low maintenance finish I am aware of. You can do a good spar varnish but it will still need new coats regularly. You could do oil but it will need even more attention. There is not magic bullet for anything outside.
 

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We get about two seasons using spar varnish on the cedar boards I put on a couple cast iron framed park benches, then it is a light sanding and more varnish. Tried several oils, etc. but none of them stood up as well. One bench is located so it is more protected from the weather and it does make quite a difference.
 

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Your best solution is to apply a good quality semi-transparent deck stain of a color similar to the unfinished wood. The pigments in the stain are the best protection from UV rays which cause the wood to turn grey. You will need to clean the mold and mildew once or twice a year and renew the stain periodically.
 

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I agree with BColl. It will never look at good as the day you finished it, that I can guarantee.

You’re probably just as well off with maybe some deck sealer or oiling it as needed and let it nature age it.
 
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