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White Oak Outdoors - Maintenance/Graying/Color Question

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Forum topic by Keith Kelly posted 09-15-2016 05:35 AM 1340 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Keith Kelly

223 posts in 1123 days


09-15-2016 05:35 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question oak

In the next 24 hours or so, I need to choose the wood I’ll use for my big green egg table. I’m debating between white oak and aromatic red cedar.

White Oak
  • have it on hand. Plenty of it. And, I need to use it.
  • I like the look of it off the bat and oiled.
  • I fear the weathered, all-gray, hairy, stringy, neglected look. (perhaps the latter attributes are only from lack of maintenance)
  • Good harness and strength
Red Cedar
  • is cheap
  • more weather/insect resistant (I think?)
  • needs less maintenance (I think?)
  • I dislike the look new (it seems to make a statement I dislike)
  • I sort-of like the look once the reds have faded.

I’m having a ridiculous time finding pictures of actual weathered oak. First, people seem to consider every wood oak, so searching “weathered white oak” on google shows lots of pictures of pine stained to look like weathered oak, oak floors made to look weathered, minwax stain called weathered oak, techniques of making oak gray faster, etc. I anticipate that white oak, oiled yearly, will not turn full-gray but might actually look nice over time. That’s just an uneducated hunch (if that) though.

So, perhaps I like the weathered (but maintained) look of oak after all. I just don’t know what it ought to look like at all.

If I seem confused, that’s because I am. Perhaps I can wrap up in a few actual questions:
  1. What would an appropriate, oil-based, non-film (or very low film) maintenance process be like for white oak?
  2. What oil? Would I be out of my mind to do some soaks of BLO + Mineral Spirits?
  3. Is there such a thing as UV-absorbed, but cared for oak?
  4. I’d like to determine a process easy enough that I’ll actually do it.

-- Keith - Bolivar, Missouri, http://www.SquareOneWoodworks.com


19 replies so far

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3547 posts in 1227 days


#1 posted 09-15-2016 10:40 AM

I build a bench that sits outside under a porch and used Watco teak oil on it. Every Fall I wipe it with bleach and give it another coat. It has pretty much maintained its integrity after 4-5 years. If you like the grey look, maybe let it weather for a year, sand it and wax it as needed. If you don’t mind a film over it, Zahr outdoor poly does a really good job.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1571 posts in 1935 days


#2 posted 09-15-2016 11:52 AM

I use 100% pure tung oil mixed 50:50 with mineral spirits. Intially, put on 4 coats per directions on the container. Once thoroughly oiled, it will bead water. If you oil it several times a year, it should do well. Only the red heartwood of ERC is rot resistant.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

View Keith Kelly's profile

Keith Kelly

223 posts in 1123 days


#3 posted 09-15-2016 01:54 PM

Oh, that’s interesting about the ERC heartwood.

Ok, so you’re telling me there’s a chance of at least keeping it maintained with an easy application. Good news, thanks!

-- Keith - Bolivar, Missouri, http://www.SquareOneWoodworks.com

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1610 posts in 3330 days


#4 posted 09-15-2016 04:30 PM

White oak is an excellent exterior wood and very durable, Its what I prefer. However exterior finishes are another issue, I am at present heavily involved in researching them after I had what was supposed to be the best , totally fail after 12 months. But this I can tell you, you want a penetrating oil, that can be easily renewed as needed.

View JCantin's profile

JCantin

165 posts in 2871 days


#5 posted 09-15-2016 04:59 PM

Aromatic cedar, no. Western red cedar, yes.

View Keith Kelly's profile

Keith Kelly

223 posts in 1123 days


#6 posted 09-15-2016 05:42 PM

JCantin, good note about cedar distinctions. Perhaps this is why aromatic red cedar in this area (particularly in Branson) most of the outdoor cedar furniture is coated in plastic.

Thanks Charles. I’m aware that you know a thing or two about wood finishing, and your advice seems to align with my concerns/hopes. I’ll go with white oak along with a penetrating oil, oiled often.

For an application like this, is the forever-drying-time of Tung oil (not tung oil finish) really an issue? Is there a negative to it not being dry?

-- Keith - Bolivar, Missouri, http://www.SquareOneWoodworks.com

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1610 posts in 3330 days


#7 posted 09-15-2016 07:21 PM

At the moment we are looking at one called Redi Seal, Home Depot carries it, one of the guys on my Forum build exterior furniture for a living, and said it was the best he had found, and the reviews look good , just Google it

View Keith Kelly's profile

Keith Kelly

223 posts in 1123 days


#8 posted 09-15-2016 08:48 PM



At the moment we are looking at one called Redi Seal, Home Depot carries it, one of the guys on my Forum build exterior furniture for a living, and said it was the best he had found, and the reviews look good , just Google it

- CharlesNeil

Charles, is this the one you referred to failing in 12 months or a different one you’re trying out?

That’s intriguing, because the larger part of my project is an entire deck build. This looks only slightly more expensive than the Flood product I used on my treated-siding shed (and have been planning for the deck). The reviews for Redi-Seal do look very nice. Also, their video shows it being sprayed with a pump sprayer, and I much prefer spraying.

-- Keith - Bolivar, Missouri, http://www.SquareOneWoodworks.com

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6564 posts in 1609 days


#9 posted 09-15-2016 09:01 PM

White oak makes a good outdoor wood. It’s used in wooden boats for frames, afterall. I’d go with that since you have it on hand.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View nightguy's profile

nightguy

213 posts in 122 days


#10 posted 09-15-2016 10:27 PM

White Oak and NO film finish, NO Thompsons water seal which is a wax based. Any good exterior type soak in finish, and yes, it will NOT last forever, so a light sanding when needed and reapply what you put on it should keep it fresh looking. I like and have on 2 WO Andorandock chairs, Australian Timber Oil by Cabot, comes if a clear and a few shades. I used the Teak, a nice light tanish brown.

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7902 posts in 1840 days


#11 posted 09-15-2016 11:59 PM

White oak is extremely durable without a finish. I know of white oak farm buildings that are over half a century old and the wood is rock solid and good for another half century at least.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Keith Kelly's profile

Keith Kelly

223 posts in 1123 days


#12 posted 09-16-2016 12:49 AM



I know of white oak farm buildings that are over half a century old and the wood is rock solid and good for another half century at least.

- Rick M.

I just assumed they were rubbed down annually with steel wool soaked in vinegar.

-- Keith - Bolivar, Missouri, http://www.SquareOneWoodworks.com

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7902 posts in 1840 days


#13 posted 09-16-2016 01:10 AM

Nothing says farm like a faux finish. The manure smell is fake too, just something to keep away city slickers.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View nightguy's profile

nightguy

213 posts in 122 days


#14 posted 09-16-2016 01:36 AM



Nothing says farm like a faux finish. The manure smell is fake too, just something to keep away city slickers.

- Rick M.

What you say??? Just dumb, now if you want to keep City Slickers away have a Pig Ranch.

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1610 posts in 3330 days


#15 posted 09-16-2016 01:05 PM

Keith , no the one that failed after 12 months was System Three Marine spar varnish.

showing 1 through 15 of 19 replies

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