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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been doing much research and there seems to be mixed opinions on both urethane's.

I am building a bar with wheels on the bottom for outside use. Bar is 45" tall with the wheels, 6ft long X 35" wide. After staining, I plan on using a few coats of spar urethane, sanding between coats. Do you all prefer spar urethane over poly? If so, why??

The bar will be stained ebony black before the urethane is applied
 

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I don't prefer one over the other. The difference between them that the spar is called a "long oil" varnish (or formula) versus the other. The moniker "long oil" simply means it has a higher percent of oil in the mix that gets cooked to become varnish. That allows it to move more freely than a lower oil formula, hence the perception it's best for outdoors. For outdoor projects I never use anything that has a urethane resin in it. Urethane's do not fare well in a high UV envirionment. That of course, is just my opinion....
 

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I would use one of 2 things: either a non-poly varnish, this would be an alkyd or phenolic resin varnish. Examples would be Pratt and Lambert #38 (can be hard to find), an alkyd/soya oil varnish, Waterlox Original (phenolic/tung oil) or Sherwin Williams Fast Dry Oil varnish (and alhyd/linseed oil formula). That's what I would use if is rolled back and forth between shelter and the outdoors. But if it's to sit outdoors, I'd use untinted paint. I've had great success with that, though you have to be careful, some of the bases don't dry clear, and Lowes has stopped carrying the Olympic brand I liked so well. Here is a link to another forum where I first read about this, and it has since become my goto outdoor finish when I need something that looks like varnish.
Edit in: should mentioned this earlier, a lot of water borne guys like GF 450 for outdoor use, and claim very long life from it. It's very high on my want-to-try list. If none of this appeal to you, consider a true marine spar varnish, like Epifanes. The resin in it is alkyd, and it's a really good finish, but fairly expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The entire bar will be stained with Minwax ebony oil based. Between the two mounted boxes on top will sit the Jagermeister machine. The rectangular openings you see on each or the towers sides will fit frosted rectangular plexiglass pieces. On top of those towers, I will be drilling holes and placing the alcohol bottles over them. The lower part of the bar, the 2 6' sides will hold 2 pieces of plexiglass each and the sides will have 1 each, all in which will be frosted as well. Once all done, there will be led spotlights placed within it lighting up the bottles on top and the frosted plexiglass around the whole bar. With the wheels attached, the bar sits 45" high.
 

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The biggest difference between a polyurethane and a spar is the spar is made more elastic to withstand the weather extremes of being outdoors. Even the humidity in the air will make wood swell and since a polyurethane is a harder finish is more likely to crack because of the weather. Then there are different grades of spar varnish. I would use a marine grade spar. Lowes sells a Cabot brand marine grade spar that is pretty good but the best would be Epifanes. It's available at boat supply stores.
 

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Has anybody here used spar urethane on a bar top??
Keep in mind that spars are a soft (so-to-speak) film finish. If you used one of the top grade marine finishes, that stuff is very expensive, and directions suggest 5-7 coats. Any film finish will fail under exterior use sooner or later, and it's a PITA to refinish. If the bar can be stored inside until use, and you want a film finish, an oil base polyurethane may hold up for a while.

Or, for the exposed surfaces, instead of a film finish, use ¼" clear plate glass, and seal it in with GE silicone II.






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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I just applied my 2nd coat of polyurethane on my bar top but still need several coats to create a level surface. Is it possible I can pour Parks Super Glaze Epoxy over the polyurethane?

If so, will masking tape around the edges stop the epoxy from running down?

Will I still have the "glossy" appearance?
 

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In my part of the world, seasonal temperature swings of -25F to 90+F (hotter in the sunshine) are common.
Outdoor furniture, most chainsaw carvings (8' bears and so on) and serious log homes are finished with Sikkens Cetol.
That's only if you want to do it right, from the start.
 
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