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Outdoor Tree Slide Finish Suggestions?

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  • Outdoor Tree Slide Finish Suggestions?

    Finally got my workshop setup, and took on a small project to keep me busy....

    I am in the process of building an outdoor playground for my daughters school (volunteer/donation), and one of the main components is going to be an 8' slide made from a log of Ash. We've taken an 8' piece, split it length-ways, and have only removed a channel 11" wide, and 2" deep from the entire length to keep as much as the log remaining as possible for strength. Have gone at it with some 80 grit, some 120 grit, and plan to do something higher to really make it quite smooth.

    Where I am a bit stymied, is how I might go about finishing it so that it could stand a chance against the outdoor elements in Southern Ontario. Have emailed a few finish manufacturers for suggestions of products, but it seems like they might be too busy to handle a new customer... The Ontario Science Centre also has a massive log slide, but never heard back from them either when I inquired about how they maintain it.

    Basically interested in suggestions to help protect the slide throughout the year. Would like to avoid anything that would flake off, or generally cause issues being a slide and all. Don't mind doing a "servicing" in the spring, and could reasonably cover it over the winter if there is a finish that is ideal for the summer but not winter.

    Appreciate any suggestions, and I'm hoping to possibly finish it sooner than later so that I can actually move it outside to let it go through a winter to know what I am up against before moving it over to the school.

    Thanks in advance,

    T.
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  • #2

    Re: Outdoor Tree Slide Finish Suggestions?

    Sounds great but it is doomed in my opinion. There might be n epoxy coating that could work for a while but it won't last on a log that is going to move. Sorry. Cover it in metal or plastic.
    "Do it Right!"

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    • #3

      Re: Outdoor Tree Slide Finish Suggestions?

      How about this? HDPE Sheet
      HDPE Sheet has very low coeffcient of friction which are some of the best within the engineering plastics range an so produces low friction components. HDPE Sheet also has excellent abrasion resistance for high abrasion applications. HDPE Sheet will absorb very low amounts of moisture which help make it stable over a long period of time.​​​​​​
      https://goindustrial.ca/index.php/en...a-board-detail

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      • #4

        Re: Outdoor Tree Slide Finish Suggestions?

        Doug and Rusty are right in my opinion for what its worth.

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        • #5

          Re: Outdoor Tree Slide Finish Suggestions?

          I’ve had good luck with this
          http://www.woodessence.com/Exterior-...h-P204C61.aspx

          Ive done an exterior door and an outdoor bench with it.

          It’s not going to be a lifetime finish, count on redoing it every few years.

          im not really sure how long between recoats , the oldest thing I’ve used it for is three years old.


          Nathan

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          • #6

            Re: Outdoor Tree Slide Finish Suggestions?

            Rusty - I think there is a solution here somewhere, but might take some trial/error. Considered epoxy, but mostly concerned there about potential high friction, and re-application should it need it.

            Doug - HDPE is our plan of last resort (or I just start notching the thing and make some stairs for them to climb up..)

            NNieman - I have come across this before while doing some research trying to figure it out and might have to grab some for a test run and see if it might work

            Just thinking about well worn public wooden benches, railings, and even roots on hiking trails where they are worn smooth and seem to be standing up to weather fairly well - is there a process that can be replicated in a shorter period of time...? Dunno. A friend suggested pieces of denim on a buffer to simulate 10,000 kids sliding down it and it does pique some curiosity as to what the finish would be like - likely not a viable long-term solution, but interesting nonetheless.

            Appreciate the feedback!

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            • Thread Continues Below...

            • #7

              Re: Outdoor Tree Slide Finish Suggestions?

              As that log is going to expand and contract a lot over the course of a year be prepared for plenty of maintenance if you go the film finish route. IMO you will need a very high grade marine varnish to even stand a chance. There are plenty of boat repair/maintenance places in and around Hamilton, so you may want to start asking them what products they use or might recommend for wooden structural parts. I have used Epifanes with great success for exposed outdoor items but these were either furniture or railings, not whole tree trunks, so the expansion and contraction processes were vastly different than your project will encounter.
              Good luck, it's definitely a challenging project and I for one would be interested in what you come up with.
              Paul

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              • #8

                Re: Outdoor Tree Slide Finish Suggestions?

                Get it well soaked (saturated ) in linseed oil and then polish.

                Splinters may may be a concern with just wood.
                Egon
                from
                The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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                • #9

                  Re: Outdoor Tree Slide Finish Suggestions?

                  Id be more concered about the liabilities then the finish.
                  • “The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”Winston Churchill

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                  • #10

                    Re: Outdoor Tree Slide Finish Suggestions?

                    Originally posted by Tullstoy View Post
                    Rusty - I think there is a solution here somewhere, but might take some trial/error. Considered epoxy, but mostly concerned there about potential high friction, and re-application should it need it.

                    Doug - HDPE is our plan of last resort (or I just start notching the thing and make some stairs for them to climb up..)

                    NNieman - I have come across this before while doing some research trying to figure it out and might have to grab some for a test run and see if it might work

                    Just thinking about well worn public wooden benches, railings, and even roots on hiking trails where they are worn smooth and seem to be standing up to weather fairly well - is there a process that can be replicated in a shorter period of time...? Dunno. A friend suggested pieces of denim on a buffer to simulate 10,000 kids sliding down it and it does pique some curiosity as to what the finish would be like - likely not a viable long-term solution, but interesting nonetheless.

                    Appreciate the feedback!
                    Tullstoy. there is no easy way to say this is not going to work without sounding bad but it won't work. Sorry! The litmus test is being able to slide on a piece of wood without getting injured,, and no, you can't say that will occur on a consistent basis with a piece of wood like this. If you were to saw up the log into strips and glue it back together like a hardwood floor you would have a fighting chance but even then I would tell you it is an injury waiting to happen.
                    "Do it Right!"

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