Reply by redSLED

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Posted on wedding guest bench finishing ideas

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790 posts in 2041 days

#1 posted 03-22-2013 12:59 AM

I don’t know about how the cypress would colour-age over time, but if it were me I guess I’d do the following or consider these ideas – just ‘shooting from the hip’ here:

Writing and Finish Test – I’m guessing Sharpies will ‘bleed’ a bit into the grain, so maybe a finer-tipped good quality marker or thick ball point pen would be better – your test should quickly prove/disprove. Of course the wood should’ve been already sanded super-smooth to seal up the grain to make writing on it smoother. Now, in case the marker/ink signatures would react with anything you apply over them, perhaps a fast-drying seal coat would minimize this. Therefore I would go with 3 coats of 2 lb. cut clear de-waxed shellac and see what happens and to seal up the wood. I can’t imagine any slower-drying protective coat smudging the signatures less, but I am totally speculating here.

Final Exterior Finish – Having done some yearly wooden boat refinishing and various outdoor personal furniture projects, and based on what you hope for in terms of longevity with your weather, I would brush on 3-4 coats of spar/marine varnish as a permanent base coat over the lightly sanded clear shellac. Then, I would expect to lightly sand and brush on 2-3 coats of marine/spar varnish EVERY YEAR to keep your bench sealed and looking great (because the varnish will degrade every year – faster in the sun of course).

As The Years Wear On – You will tire of re-coating your bench as expected. But you know what, by then your daughter will want a fresh look for her patio/garden/porch (new outdoor furniture) and you can hang the bench seat on a wall in her house as commemorative decoration (another ‘fresh look’) – and voila! – no more yearly re-varnishing – everybody wins!

Hope that helps with any decision making. Good luck with the writing/sealing test!

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

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