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Help with DIY Patio Furniture Project

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  • Help with DIY Patio Furniture Project

    Hey Everyone, first post here but I've lurked for quite a bit trying to soak up as much knowledge as I can.

    I'm new to woodworking and DIY, was sorta forced into it last year when my contractor decided he liked my money in his account more than purchasing materials for our deck. So with Youtube and a handful of powertools I was able to complete the deck and railing on my own and we're very happy with it.

    There was quite a bit of leftover 2x6 cedar boards from the deck and am now looking to build an outdoor dining table and a couple of dining benches with it. I'm in Toronto, backyard faces south, although I may buy a smallish umbrella for the table, otherwise it's basically going to be brutal on anything I build.

    I've left the deck to weather, not going to bother with it, but for the table and benches I'd love to put a finish of some kind. My plan (tell me if I'm crazy) is to edge join either the entire table top, or have two or three sections so there is a small gap for water drainage (will use titebond 3). My wife likes dark or greyish stains, and every time I find something I think might work, I learn of how bad it can get after a few years. I don't mind adding an additional coat every 2-3 years, my fear is having to strip and start over. I've read mixed reviews on the Cetal 1, 23 system, and it seems they have about 459 other finishing products so not sure what is best. Or if it's a matter of pick any stain I like, and then the protection lair is all that matters. Not sure if Marine Varnish is a good choice, or if it's just driving up the cost and degree of difficulty.

    My plan is to pain the base, so maintenance will be primarily just the table top itself.

    Any recommendations on how to proceed, or...something I should avoid?

    Thanks!


    Ps. Just read about table top fasteners....guessing this is a better idea than my original plan of pre-drilling larger holes so there is room for the screws to move.

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  • #2

    Re: Help with DIY Patio Furniture Project

    Quick update on finishes. I was looking at the Lee Valley offerings and it looks like General Exterior water based varnish is well reviwed, they have a water based stain as well in a black colour my wife I'm sure would like. Anyone use this before? I called Lee Valley and the guy on the line spoke about his own project and how he used the Spar poly stuff I see in tons of youtube videos, but have also seen tons of reviews showing how the finish cracked/flaked pretty quick.

    He did mention that his main concern was cost at the time, and he brings his outdoor stuff inside in the winter. For me at least, one quart should be enough for the entire project, or at least for the table top. My assumption is I don't need to do anything to the underside of the table, or at most a single coat?

    Sorry for the carpet bombing of questions here.
    Egon likes this.

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    • #3

      Re: Help with DIY Patio Furniture Project

      First, welcome aboard. Don't be stranger... I lurked for many years but you get more out the forum by being active. For the most part, we are pretty friendly.

      Now for my opinions, not necessarily in a random order.

      1. If you don't want to have the horrible task of refinishing every couple of years, AVOID a film finish such as marine varnish, paint or anything like that. It is going to peel sooner or later, then you will have to strip it off and restart. A good penetrating finish such as a transparent exterior stain (I like oil based for outside) is not going to peel. I will just slowly "disappear" and you can just recoat over it. I've used the Cetol SRD (shingles, roof and deck) on exterior furniture and quite liked it.

      2. I wouldn't edge join the table top into a single section ... or even into multiple sections. You will probably have problems with water sitting on the surface and maybe cupping issues. I would space the 2x6s maybe 1/8" apart and keep them all separate. If there is any cupping or other issues, it would a simple matter to replace that single board. You also will not have to worry about wood movement as each board is only 5 1/2" wide.

      3. I would probably use a stain on the deck ... a transparent oil based finish again. If it was fence, sure let it go but on a deck and railing, I would probably want to take better care of it and try keep the wood from drying out and splintering. Especially if you walk on it with bare feet. There are a number of qualified professional deck builder on this forum so hopefully you will get some good advice from them.

      Good luck on the project and please post a picture of furniture when you are done. Outdoor furniture is a great way to start in furniture making and woodworking.
      Egon likes this.
      the other Ken
      ------
      "Each flitch, each board, each plant can have only one ideal use. The woodworker, applying a thousand skills, must find that ideal use and then shape the wood to realize its true potential" - George Nakashima

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      • #4

        Re: Help with DIY Patio Furniture Project

        I have to agree with the other ken, i used a marine finish on the Adirondack chairs I built and they started to peel the following summer and needed to be refinished (completely) the year after that.

        Also, I would put at least one coat of finish on the bottom of the table top (and seal the ends), cupping is partially the result of moisture being drawn from the wood at different rates from each surface.

        Vince

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        • #5

          Re: Help with DIY Patio Furniture Project

          Don't VARNISH... You will be taking it off with a scraper in no time and wished you didn't.

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