I just made some Adirondack chairs from the scraps
of a refurbished cedar deck. The wood looks great
after I ran it across the jointer. My question: should
I let it go gray again with the weather, or should I
put something on it (and if so, what?) to keep the
The weather is not really what is fading the wood to gray unless you
consider sun light as being part of the weather.
You need UV protection to keep the color. Most outdoor varnishes will last
2 to 3 years maximum so it will be an ongoing process.
We've got a two-seater curbside grab that got tossed when one side
came away from the main chair. Looks like standard cedar, hand built.
Took me a couple hours and one piece of 2x10 to fix. Looks like it
might have been finished with something a long time ago but we both
like the smell of the cedar too much to cover it. We're going to let
it go grey and see what happens. For the price of two hours and one
piece of wood, we think it's worth the experiment. Looks really nice
next to the lilac bush, though. :-)
My own feeling is that the varnish might be sticky in hot weather and
I'm doubtful that it really increases the life of the furniture by a
large amount especially if it's getting well used. Getting it under
cover in wintertime would probably be more important, in my own
opinion. But I don't have the experience to be sure yet.
I like Olympic Maximum Cedar Tinted oil on cedar. It's an oil, so
there's no film. It's an oil so you need to reapply it every other
year, or so.
A guy local to me uses the stuff on the furniture and pergolas that he
The cedar tinted mix is better than the clear, as the tint provides UV
My vote is bring them in during off season and let them gray in the
summer. I have enough stuff to maintain without adding an other thing.
My gray chairs look great in my mind, Some people color there hair and
some let it go gray.
Never would I put varnish or any other film-forming finish on anything
going outdoors. When the sun destroys the finish (and it will) the
result is a flaking mess. I'd use a penetrating oil finish that you
can just renew instead of having to sand off the old finish to put the
new one on. Most cedars will form splinters if you just let it
"There's a difference between doing things right and doing the right
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