I am finishing up my first table. I made the top by gluing together
several pieces of wood. I made the legs out of 1X2 glue together to
make a right angle. One piece of the leg was ripped so the total leg
was the same length on both sides.
The legs were together with 1X3.
Now the table is nearing completing, I have a concern. I have attached
the top to the leg assembly with cleats dadoed in to the sides of the
leg assembly (1X3) The cleats securely hold the top to the legs, but I
would like to glue the cleats into the dado.
Alse since this will spend some of its time outside I would like to seal
all surfaces of the table by varnishing it before completion.
Will titebond or any glue make a satisfactory joint with a varnished
Typically, no - the glue may stick well to the varnish,
but then the varnish will pull off the wood.
Typically what's done in cases like this is to tape over
the area that will be glued, then varnish (or whatever),
remove the tape, and glue up the joint.
If it's going outside, you'd want to use Titebond III
Also, you'd probably want to use spar varnish. Spar
varnish is softer than regular varnish, and tolerates
thermal expansion due to sunlight better.
Your best bet is to epoxy coat all parts before assembly, use epoxy for
the glueup then varnish after assembly with a GOOD brand of marine
varnish (i.e one sold in chandlrys not DIY stores). Even so, most boat
owners revarnish brightwork every year or two, unless they have fitted
covers for it to prevent UV damage, so dont expect your table to be
Dont stand it on grass or bare earth and add plastic feet on the bottom
of the legs so they aren't in direct contact with the ground, or you will
be stripping and refinishing the legs long before the rest of the table.
Ian Malcolm. London, ENGLAND. (NEWSGROUP REPLY PREFERRED)
OP Thanks for the comments.
The outdoor stone-patio use would be occasionally during the summer. It
would spend a lot of time on a wooden floored covered porch. The rest
of its time would be in my wife's studio.
I planned on putting some sort of button feet on the legs so they are
not in contact with the ground.
I assume the porch has one side open to the elements?
If so, its going to be subject to significant humidity and temperature
changes that make epoxy sealing the best option for long term stability,
especially if you haven't allowed for wood expansion/contraction due to
varying humidity in your design. If not its effectively indoors so dont
worry about it apart from a table cloth to keep the sun off it in the
porch, as indoor finishes and glues are fine for occasional outdoor use
in fair weather as long as you never leave it out if there is any risk of
rain or dew.
Ian Malcolm. London, ENGLAND. (NEWSGROUP REPLY PREFERRED)
Let the cleats float in the dado.
Do NOT use spar varnish, this table is not a spar.
Do use epoxy. I'd use a slow hardener so you get about 30 minute
pot life at 77F.
Jamestown Distributors and System 3 are good sources for epoxy.
Assemble everything then apply a marine coating.
Epoxy requires UV protection, plan accordingly.
My choice would be Epifanes marine coatings available from
SFWIW, Jamestown Distributors is in Rhode Island and I'm in LA
which puts them about 3,000 miles from me so I just drool when I look
at their web site.
They have good engineering data.
As far as button feet are concerned, make your own.
Get some 1/2" PVC sheet.
I had access to a lathe to make mine, but a band saw or even a
disc sander will allow you to make round buttons 1/2" thick from sheet
C'Bore each button to accept a pan head screw recessed into button.
17/64" dia thru hole in plastic, 3/16" pilot drill in the wood to
button to wood.
Use stainless #14 x 1" coarse thread self tapping pan head screws.
Better figure refinishing every 3-4 years along the coast of the
More frequently as you go south.
You might get 2 years in Miami Beach.
??? You're contradicting yourself. Epifanes is spar varnish.
So is Pettit Z-Spar (my preference) or Interlux.
Now, if you mean "do NOT use MinWax brand spar varnish" (or
any other brand sold at Home Depot), that I could agree with.
The label notwithstanding, I don't consider MinWax to be a
true spar varnish.
(btw, beware that Epifanes, et al, also make interior
varnishes which are not spar varnishes, and are not intended
for exterior use...read the labels).
A few years back Practical Sailing did a test of 54 finishes. After two
years the coating integrity of Epifanes, Helmsman, and Z-Spar Captain
were Fair-, Fair, and Fair+ respectively. There was no single-component
product in the test that got better than "Fair+".
Now, you may think it's worthwhile driving across town and spending
twice the price to get a product that is "Fair-" but I think I'd go with
the cheap stuff.
There was only one product in their test that really held up after two
years, Interlux Perfection. That's twice as expensive as Epifanes and
it's a two-part urethane which means that once you've mixed it you throw
away any that you haven't used, and that making repairs that don't show
is a pain in the butt.
Note that Perfection, like much else in the paint and coating industry,
has been Californicated (aka "reformulated for reduced VOC") so the
current product many be better, worse, or the same, but usually products
suffer during Californication so we all know how to bet.
I wonder if they tested any Home Depot grade products, or if
the comparison was strictly on marine finishes.
In my experience the Petit is markedly superior to Minwax,
altho it's not a head-to-head comparison since the little
boat sits out in the weather, and the Minwax coated stuff
is sheltered on the patio.
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