Finish for pine slabs, outdoors?

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Forum topic by Walker posted 05-07-2017 02:55 AM 630 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Walker's profile


198 posts in 1084 days

05-07-2017 02:55 AM

Recently I had a large conifer fall in my yard. I cut some nice plates (3 to 4” thick) and would like to use them as stepping stones in the garden. What would be the best finish to deter rot, bugs, and slow discoloration from UV? My initial thought is marine varnish, but it’s quite expensive. Is there anything that would work just as well?

Here’s the idea:

-- ~Walker

8 replies so far

View Aj2's profile


2658 posts in 2409 days

#1 posted 05-07-2017 04:08 AM

No there is nothing man can do to stop Mother Nature.Somewoods will not rot and decay for a very long time but it’s not something man did.
If you like that look your better off buying those fake cement ones that look like wood.

-- Aj

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

4480 posts in 1194 days

#2 posted 05-07-2017 12:16 PM

Pine is low to medium on the rot resistance scale, and putting it right on the ground like that would lead to a pretty short life. Just coating it with a varnish that doesn’t soak in is going to leave the wood susceptible to rotting from below or from any crack that opens in the finish.

I’d try impregnating it with something – maybe an epoxy – but that’s going to be pretty expensive for the amount of area you’re looking at. I would also make sure it had good drainage beneath it. Bed it in sand, perhaps? Maybe someone else will have a suggestion. Maybe if you put the pine on top of some other more rot-resistant wood?

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2573 days

#3 posted 05-07-2017 01:36 PM

With pine you’re better off considering the natural patina a feature. You’ll have several years you can enjoy them for. The ones in your inspiration picture probably don’t look much like that now either.

View Walker's profile


198 posts in 1084 days

#4 posted 05-08-2017 01:00 AM

I know there are no miracle solutions here. In fact, all of the sites I’ve been able to find where people tried this, the result is always rotting, gray wood. A few suggest things like shellac (no UV resistance) or poly, but I can’t find any ‘results’ pictures. I was just hoping to slow down the process a little. What about Thompson’s water seal? If it works for decks it should work for raw wood right?

Maybe the question I should be asking is, “anyone have ideas for something cool to do with tree slices?” They are between 18 and 24” in diameter.

-- ~Walker

View BurtC's profile


103 posts in 3742 days

#5 posted 05-08-2017 01:16 AM

I’ve used Epiphanes with good results on Cedar. Like you said, it’s pricey.
As others said, pine is not the best choice for outdoors, especially in contact with ground.

View builtinbkyn's profile


3001 posts in 1552 days

#6 posted 05-08-2017 02:29 AM

You might try Thompson’s Australian Timber Oil. I used it on the pergola I built for the yard and it’s really holding up well. I’d probably leave them soaking for a while.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View AlaskaGuy's profile


5523 posts in 2921 days

#7 posted 05-08-2017 02:34 AM

I believe if you put a finish on those you’re creating maintenance nightmare.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Woodknack's profile


13027 posts in 2992 days

#8 posted 05-08-2017 06:16 AM


-- Rick M,

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