Help with Finishing Redwood Outdoor Table

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Forum topic by MilesofLief posted 05-06-2021 10:49 PM 389 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 44 days

05-06-2021 10:49 PM

Hi All,

I have my grandparents Old Growth Redwood picnic table that we use.on our deck. Over the years I’ve tried to finish it various ways but just don’t have success with something that stays. When I sand it down its the most beautiful Redwood and I’d love to figure out a way to do it right this time. I was actually considering costing it in epoxy and then finishing with a spar euruthane or Bristol finish UV protector varnish. Any suggestions on what the best way to finish this table would be so it lasts for years. Gets sun thru parts of the day. Thanks

12 replies so far

View AADavidBB's profile


12 posts in 43 days

#1 posted 05-07-2021 12:14 AM

I would ask the guys at a paint store- one of the paint stores where professional painters get their paint, not a hardware store.

-- David Abbot

View woodman71's profile


199 posts in 4443 days

#2 posted 05-07-2021 12:28 AM

I would look in to total boat lust finish . I used this on a outdoor chair and table set I built. It seat on my deck all summer my deck faces south. Sun beating down on it all day it hold up good. You can by this off of amazon I feel it a good product. Also holding up good to rain also .

View Foghorn's profile


1243 posts in 505 days

#3 posted 05-07-2021 12:37 AM

Messmers oil.

-- Darrel

View Aj2's profile


3890 posts in 2917 days

#4 posted 05-07-2021 03:27 AM

My suggestion is to keep it covered when it’s not being used. All woods will turn grey exposed to the sun.
Think about what you want to experience the feel of a wood table or the feel of a thick plastic coating of resins.
Og Heart redwood is very nice.
Good Luck

-- Aj

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

7024 posts in 3612 days

#5 posted 05-07-2021 10:31 AM

You’ll need a good marine grade spar varnish. Skip the epoxy and anything labeled “urathane”. The urethane resins just don’t last in the UV of sunlight. But you will need maintnenance over time regardless of what you choose….clear finishes work by absorbing the UV rays, and they loose that ability as they age. So a periodic re-coating will be needed.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View LesB's profile


3011 posts in 4562 days

#6 posted 05-07-2021 10:57 PM

There are a lot of good suggestions above but when you get right down to it there is nothing you put on wood short of a good outdoor house paint will stand up to the sun an weather for more then 2 to 4 years. All that spar varnish, deck sealer, oils (by the way teak oil us just BLO with additives) and so on will break down and need to be re-done. So the best bet is to strip the old finish with a deck stripper, then brighten it up with a deck brightener (basically oxalic acid) (read instructions on these products); followed by any sanding needed to smooth it out. Then reseal it with a deck sealer, clear or with what ever color tint you prefer. In 2 to 4 years do it again.
Remember those hard finish top coats like varnish or urethane will be a pain to strip of when the time comes.
Other wise just let is turn grey and treat periodically with some BLO or tung oil. Even the you will need to strip it periodically to clean the built up dirt and stains.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Aj2's profile


3890 posts in 2917 days

#7 posted 05-07-2021 11:13 PM

That’s a good way to put it Les.
I believe some just don’t realize they are fighting Mother Nature. Who do we think will win. :)

-- Aj

View Loren's profile


11209 posts in 4767 days

#8 posted 05-07-2021 11:29 PM

I made a redwood sign over 20 years ago, spar varnished it and it still looks alright. I haven’t touched it since I put it up so I don’t know if the finish wore off but it didn’t peal and it still looks like good redwood though the color has probably shifted. I haven’t really noticed other than to glance at it and see that it’s still in good shape.

Opinion worth about 2 cents.

View newwoodbutcher's profile


863 posts in 3969 days

#9 posted 05-13-2021 11:09 PM

I wouldn’t put any top coat on it at all, it only peels over time and requires new coatings

-- Ken

View Foghorn's profile


1243 posts in 505 days

#10 posted 05-14-2021 12:13 AM

I wouldn t put any top coat on it at all, it only peels over time and requires new coatings

- newwoodbutcher

Oil finishes don’t peel.

-- Darrel

View zzzzdoc's profile


573 posts in 4122 days

#11 posted 05-15-2021 01:42 PM

I would go the epoxy then marine spar varnish route. I’ve had success with System 3 epoxy, top coated with a number of coats of System 3 Marine Spar Varnish on a mahogany deck chair. In the harsh South Florida climate, with constant sun and rain, the deck chair I treated this way lasted 4 years before needing refinishing, which I’m doing now. Didn’t even need to sand to bare wood, I’ve been able to just scuff sand the surface. Personally, I consider this impressive longevity.

The advice to do it this way came from Charles Neil, who I asked for the best finishing technique for longevity in my climate. This was his suggestion.

My $0.02

-- Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

View Axis39's profile


496 posts in 716 days

#12 posted 05-16-2021 05:13 PM

I have recently been using System 3 ClearCoat sealer with Epiphanes Marine Varnish over top. I am afraid I don’t have any long term experience with it. But, everything I’ve read seams to point to longer term outlook is good. I’ve read that folks in the boating industry have been using this combo for a while with good results.

I’ve done some work in boat yards. If boat folks say it holds up well, I trust them.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

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