Beginner looking for advice finishing Adirondack chairs

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Forum topic by ScottWV posted 12-13-2014 08:14 PM 1244 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1740 days

12-13-2014 08:14 PM

Topic tags/keywords: adirondack chair southern yellow pine finish question advice help beginner

Hey everyone!

First post here. I’m pretty new to woodworking and am looking for some advice on how best to finish some Adirondack chairs I’m working on. I made myself a chair a few months ago everyone seemed to like it. So, naturally, I decided to make 6 more and knock out family Christmas presents in one fell swoop! I’ve got everything cut out, just have to sand, assemble, and finish.

The problem is, I have yet to put on a finish on my own chair and have no idea how I should finish the others that I’m giving as gifts! Although the pressure treated southern yellow pine decking that I used was cheap and convenient, I’ve since read that it probably wasn’t the best material I could have used. Doesn’t take stain well, can be pretty blotchy, doesn’t really paint well if wet (which a fair amount of the material is), prone to splitting/bowing, etc… All kinds of things that just make me second guess myself instead of making a decision.

Does anyone have any experience building/finishing outdoor furniture with this? Paint vs. stain? Maybe leave them inside for the winter and finish when more dry in the spring? I’m not expecting perfection; just a decent chair that will last at least a few years and put on a smile on someone’s face.

I’m excited to read what you all think about this and all my future projects. Thanks!

-- Woodworking beginner. I tend to over-think things.

5 replies so far

View ChefHDAN's profile


1440 posts in 3328 days

#1 posted 12-13-2014 09:51 PM

Thompsons water seal or look at the outdoor deck stains, they’re for use on PT and would likely give you the best results if you want color beyond allowing the clear to weather to grey

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View iminmyshop's profile


290 posts in 2473 days

#2 posted 12-13-2014 10:05 PM

The May/June issue of Fine Woodworking compared multiple outdoor finishes. Epifanes High Gloss Marine varnish was the clear (pun intended) winner ( The catch? It is expensive – but you get what you pay for and took 7 coats. But in the end, if you want your project to look good a year after exposure to the elements, that was the product that worked. It showed almost no color changes, flaking or deterioration.


View Quanter50's profile


278 posts in 2775 days

#3 posted 12-13-2014 10:36 PM

McCloskey’s Man-O-War Spar Varnish

View SouthpawCA's profile


272 posts in 3712 days

#4 posted 12-14-2014 02:33 AM

I like to use a product called Hemp Shield. I’ve used it on 3 [ark benches made of white oak with excellent results. The benches have been out in the weather for over a year and still look good.

-- Don

View ScottWV's profile


3 posts in 1740 days

#5 posted 12-14-2014 05:28 PM

Thanks guys!

I’ll look into all the products mentioned. At a glance, I can’t get Hemp Shield until spring in my area until spring because of freezing, but the others are still on the table.

I’m floating the idea of giving them all a single coat of Thompson’s Water Sealer now and letting everyone paint their own to match their patio furniture in the spring when they put it outside.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Until then, lots more sanding to do!

-- Woodworking beginner. I tend to over-think things.

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