Outdoor Cedar: Finish or Just Weather?

Park bench.
Slats are 2x6's and rotten after 40 years.
Just bought cedar to replace them.
The choices I see:
- Just leave it raw/natural and let it weather
- Stain it with the darkest stain I can find and then slap on a couple coats of spar varnish and figure on re-applying at some interval (yearly?)
- Paint it white (as the rotten ones were) and figure on re-painting it every year
#'s 2 and 3 seem like high maintenance to me.
Is there any conventional wisdom here?
--
Pete Cresswell

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wrote:

WRC will go bad eventually but you will get 10 15 years out of it before it really gets bad
I have a rough sawn 2x12 as a walk board on my boat trailer that has been in the weather for 10 years, occasionally dunked in salt water and it is OK but looking weathered. Lower right of this picture
http://gfretwell.com/ftp/trailer.jpg
The pieces on my boat are doing worse, getting pretty fuzzy and the corners are just gone. A coat of paint or some other sealer would go a long way toward making these last forever.
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Per snipped-for-privacy@aol.com:

I think I'll go with just letting it weather then.
10-15 years is more than enough. I'll let my survivors worry about the rest.... -)
--
Pete Cresswell

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