Protecting a wishing well from the elements

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Forum topic by dsgreen3 posted 07-29-2021 08:50 PM 386 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View dsgreen3's profile


3 posts in 2549 days

07-29-2021 08:50 PM

What would be the best way to protect a natural finish from the weather Thompsons water seal a spar urethane or something else. Thanks.

6 replies so far

View splintergroup's profile


5725 posts in 2434 days

#1 posted 07-29-2021 09:22 PM

This is a common question but there is no permanent answer.

The death of outdoor wood projects is largely moisture and UV rays from the sun.

First off, a “natural” finish (I assume you mean a finish that will show the woods natural color/grain) means no paint, which would be about the best for both moisture and UV blockage.

Second choice is wood type, but I assume that decision has already been made? Many good outdoor woods that do well without any finish (redwood, cedar, tropicals, etc).

Any applied finish will need to be maintained, very few penetrating type finishes (oils) really last very long. I’ve had good results with “Penofin”, Thompsons water seal is about as bad as it comes.

One advantage of penetrating oils is to renew them you do some sanding/cleaning, then re-oil.

Plenty of film type finishes that work for a while before succumbing to the elements. Their problem is that once they start flaking off, you’ll need to scrape and sand the loose flakes off before reapplying.

“Marine” type finishes are better adapted to weather, they tend to stay flexible to help avoid cracking and letting water in. A “spar” type varnish is one of these. Plenty to choose from, but the typical hardware store type (Helmsman/Minwax) are generally sucky (IMO). A better choice is something like Epifanes which is more industrial strength (needs to be thinned a bit before applying). Check out the web site for other alternatives/info.

I’m sure others here will offer up great advice as they have before, but maintenance is the key since nothing lasts.

Keep it under a patio cover, dry and in the shade, for best results 8^)

I should have also mentioned the obvious: use the search box in the upper right or if you are more comfortable with Google, try this search term to avoid the junk: outdoor finish

View LesB's profile


3060 posts in 4655 days

#2 posted 07-29-2021 10:38 PM

Splinter pretty well covered it. Thompsons will work about as well as urinating on it.

My choice would be one of the transparent deck finishes, water or oil based, but you will have to re-new it every 2 to 4 years depending on the exposure to the sun and weather. Behr brand makes a good product.

If it is made from Cedar or Redwood you can just let it weather naturally and it will turn a gray color.

-- Les B, Oregon

View JCamp's profile


1413 posts in 1762 days

#3 posted 07-30-2021 01:21 AM

I think Thompson’s makes a hazelnut stain that I’ve used around a good bit. It hold up well. Regardless of brand the main thing will be continuing to stain it once or twice a year for a couple years then once every couple years after that. Depending on where you and it are the ole farms in my area would use old car or tractor oil to stain it. Maybe thin it with diesel fuel a bit even. Older man I knew years ago used oil, fuel and turpentine on his siding, never could figure out how it didn’t burn down.

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

7184 posts in 3705 days

#4 posted 07-30-2021 10:29 AM

Re-read splinter’s reply…he’s got it down. Just to emphasize something: if it’s a film finish at a box store, walk past it. Also, if the label says “urethane” or “polyurethane” run (don’t walk) to the next choice.

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

View Woodnmetal's profile


116 posts in 57 days

#5 posted 07-30-2021 08:56 PM

I’m no longer a Thompson anything…. stain fan, the online reviews speak volumes. I’m currently making a wishing well from cedar. I will be using Sikkens Cetol SRD, I find it is excellent for cedar that will live outside.

-- I haven't changed... but I know I'm not the same.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


6732 posts in 3521 days

#6 posted 07-30-2021 09:16 PM

Run as fast as you can away from helmsman spar.

I like this stuff. It is a penetrating deck and siding stain. I’m not sure if they make a clear one.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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