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Sanding Unfinished Outdoor Furniture

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Forum topic by endgrainy posted 206 days ago 661 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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endgrainy

109 posts in 523 days


206 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: sanding outdoor unfinished

Hi all,

First time starting a thread, long time reader of threads. I am building a set of Adirondack chairs for use outside if spring ever comes. They are made from white oak and I’m choosing to go with no finish and allow the chairs to weather to that silver-grey appearance that I’ve read about. I’m kinda excited to watch the process of wood aging naturally outdoors.

I’ve applied finish to all the projects I’ve completed so far in my short woodworking life. I usually sand to 220 grit, and sand in between finish coats with 400 grit. I milled the lumber for the chairs and the current surface is pretty clean out of the planer already.

My question is, should I sand the chairs, and to what degree? I’m almost thinking that any sanding I do will quickly be overcome by the elements and look the same regardless of what grit I would sand to (if any sanding at all.)

Any advice from the community is greatly appreciated. Thanks!


8 replies so far

View BHolcombe's profile

BHolcombe

83 posts in 710 days


#1 posted 189 days ago

If you have a set of hand planes you may be able to get a good finish right off the hand plane, but if not I would expect 220 would be fine.

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

3936 posts in 491 days


#2 posted 189 days ago

If you have a nice smooth surface out of the planer I think I would only knock down the edges and leave the flat surfaces alone.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View Vertigo's profile

Vertigo

817 posts in 272 days


#3 posted 189 days ago

Sanding would quickly be negated by the weather. Water will swell the fibers that are roughed up by sandpaper. Planing might work cuz it severs the grain rather then scratching it. But I would just leave it IMHO

-- Greg - Ferdinand and Son Construction: Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

View madts's profile

madts

1251 posts in 974 days


#4 posted 189 days ago

As far as I remember, white oak turns black because of the tannic acid it contains. You might want to think about another wood to use unfinished. I have used cypress with good luck.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1429 posts in 996 days


#5 posted 189 days ago

220 if they’re gonna be in a “clothing optional” environment; 100 otherwise.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

View woodchuckerNJ's profile

woodchuckerNJ

875 posts in 269 days


#6 posted 189 days ago

My white oak has turned both gray and black dots. Mostly gray.

-- Jeff NJ

View endgrainy's profile

endgrainy

109 posts in 523 days


#7 posted 189 days ago

Thanks for the responses! I’m into the assembly phase of the project at this point, and I decided to sand to 180 grit to smooth out the planer marks after rounding over the the edges with a router. Hand planing is a good idea, but my hand plane technique confidence is low, especially with smoothing large surfaces. I did use a newly acquired spokeshave on many of the curved edges.

I will take some pictures when complete, and then try to take some pictures as the wood weathers. Based on madts’ and woodchuckerNJ’s comments I’m interested to see how the white oak will age.

If I follow Clint Searl’s formula, based on the grit I chose, I guess it’ll have to be topless only.

View endgrainy's profile

endgrainy

109 posts in 523 days


#8 posted 155 days ago

Hi all. I finally got the chairs completed, I posted it as a project:

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/99146

Thanks for your help!

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