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Forum topic by Joel89 posted 802 days ago 3805 views 3 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Joel89

14 posts in 802 days


802 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: adirondack chairs finish ponderosa pine

Hello,
I am a novice woodworker and in need of some experienced advice. I built this adirondack chair set out of untreated ponderosa pine, which i realize is certainly not the best outdoor wood to use, but it was cheap, easy to cut, and like I said, I’m a newb, so I don’t know entirely what I’m doing when it comes to building furniture anyway. So that leads me to this post. I need advice about how to finish the chairs. They will be on a covered patio getting about 4 hours of sunlight a day, but I’m in the navy so who knows what conditions they’ll be in in another 3 years. I want to stain them to bring out the grain, so painting is out. I know I need water and UV protection, but the best way to achieve that I don’t know. I don’t have a sprayer or anything, so I’d be wiping the finish on with a cloth or a brush. I was initially leaning towards a spar varnish, but the space between the slats is tight making it pretty difficult to smoothly coat everything with the varnish. I was looking at oil finishes too but I don’t completely understand the level of protection it provides. Then last night on this sight I found out about “One Time Wood Protector”, which seems like a great product, but some of the user reviews I found on the internet were a bit iffy. Lastly, there’s also products like Thompsons Water sealer… Bottom line, the more research I’ve done, the more I’ve gotten confused. Could you please give me your suggestions and please be as specific as possible concerning the actual product you would use. Any and all help will be greatly appreciated!!

-- Joel


20 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2476 posts in 975 days


#1 posted 802 days ago

I just refinished some older Adirondack chairs made of pine and using one of my favorite home made finishes. One third spar varnish, one third boiled linseed oil (BLO) and one third mineral spirits. You get UV protection from the spar varnish and increased flexibility from the BLO the mineral spirits makes it thin so it penetrates well and is easy to apply w/ a brush and will run into the spaces between the slats. You can cut back on the mineral spirits for subsequent coats but I like the initial coat to be real thin so that the wood drinks it in deeply. You also get a little color from the varnish and BLO. I pay special attention to all of the end grain areas and really go over them w/ several coats as the cells really drink in the finish and helps to seal out future moisture.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

955 posts in 1314 days


#2 posted 802 days ago

I’m with Bondo! Good advice. I would still spray it.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "finished"!

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HerbC

1161 posts in 1483 days


#3 posted 802 days ago

Coat the bottom of the legs with clear epoxy to protect them from “wicking” up water when the ground or floor is wet…

Thanks for your service to our country.

Be Careful…

Herb
EMC (SW) USN

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

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Joel89

14 posts in 802 days


#4 posted 802 days ago

Bondo,
I’ve heard people talk about that 3 part finish in other forums as well. Can I still stain the wood before applying it or does the finish serve as a stain as well? Do you happen to have any pics of the chairs you refinished? I’d love to see how it looks. Lastly, any particular spar varnish you recommend? Thanks so much for the help and thanks to the other guys as well for the useful information.

-- Joel

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2944 posts in 910 days


#5 posted 802 days ago

I used Australian Timber Oil on the latest one I built, then spar semi-gloss over it to bring the grain back out. Two coats of pre color conditioner first.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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RussellAP

2944 posts in 910 days


#6 posted 802 days ago

They look really nice, it’s the popular mechanics plan I believe. I made that one my very first time.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2476 posts in 975 days


#7 posted 802 days ago

I didn’t take any pictures and unfortunately they are over 100 miles away from where I live. I like Cabot Spar Varnish, I get it at Lowe’s. Pine is notorious for staining blotchy. So I would use the 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 mix for the first coat. Then I would mix a second batch w/ 1/3 Spar, 1/3 BLO and 1/6 mineral spirits and 1/6 stain for the second coat. Make sure whatever stain you use is is an oil base stain, It is going to be diluted by this mixture so it is going to come out lighter than the product label says, take that into account. I highly recommend that you experiment on some scraps to get the effect that you like and don’t be afraid mess w/ the formula to achieve the desired effect. Personally I prefer not to stain pine, but that is just my taste.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Joel89's profile

Joel89

14 posts in 802 days


#8 posted 802 days ago

Russell,
Thanks for the input. Your furniture looks great, and it sounds like you use a similar technique as others have stated here with oil and spar varnish to finish. Did you apply the varnish with a sprayer or a brush? Yes, my chairs are the popular mechanics plan, and they are my first chairs as well.

Bondo,
Thanks for answering my questions. I would not have thought to mix the stain in with the original mixture. I’ll definitely experiment on some scraps, but I’m excited to try it out!

-- Joel

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RussellAP

2944 posts in 910 days


#9 posted 802 days ago

I use a sprayer with spar.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View JR_Dog's profile

JR_Dog

526 posts in 944 days


#10 posted 775 days ago

Joel,

I don’t have any info for you but I wanted to take a few extra minutes and say thanks for posting these questions. I”m building a few of these as we speak and was wondering the same things. So thanks for asking and thanks to the ones that responded your experience and feedback goes a long way.

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Joel89

14 posts in 802 days


#11 posted 774 days ago

JR,
Glad you could gain some insight from this thread as I certainly have. I’ve just finished applying the last coat of finish, so I’ll post some pics soon so you can see the results.

-- Joel

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Joel89

14 posts in 802 days


#12 posted 745 days ago

Sorry it took me so long to get a few pics posted, but here’s the finished product:

-- Joel

View RichInSoMD's profile

RichInSoMD

10 posts in 946 days


#13 posted 744 days ago

What did you end up using to finish them?

-- RichInSoMD

View Joel89's profile

Joel89

14 posts in 802 days


#14 posted 744 days ago

Good questions. Should have included that info with the pics. I went with Bondo’s recommendation: 1/3 spar (Cabot high gloss), 1/3 BLO, and 1/3 mineral spirits. I applied 4 coats total. I planned on doing several more coats, but the 4th coat took nearly 3 days to dry so I didn’t think the additional coats with BLO would take very well. It ended up being a very close-to-the-wood finish. There is not really a distinguishable protective layer over the wood as most of it seeped down in to the pores. Even with the high gloss finish on the spar, the chairs have a nice satin look which I like. Had I done one or two more coats, I’m sure the gloss would have shown through more.

-- Joel

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RussellAP

2944 posts in 910 days


#15 posted 744 days ago

Next time, try making them out of red cedar. They look a bit more rustic and people really seem to like them. I’ve sold 4 chairs this past week. You may want to consider using one screw instead of two on the lower back.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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