Help - Finish

I'm new at this so if I am posting to the wrong location please advise and I will post at the correct location.
I am just starting making outdoor furniture from eastern red cedar - mostly 2X6, 2X4, 1X4, 5/4X6. I live in the Midwest with a wide variety of humidity and temps. I want to provide a finish that will withstand the elements with minimal upkeep. Specifically, I want to maintain the new wood color, repel UV and water and be able to handle the seasonal expanding and contracting without problems. I don't mind using some expensive finish and applying multiple coats if it will really work.
I have tested about 20 samples and have found several that provide the appearance I am after. My concern is about wood/finish discoloration over time and the seasonal impact. I have been told that a "stain" is required to repel UV. I do not want to use a stain unless it is necessary due to the effort to maintain the new wood color.
I have asked a lot of questions and received a lot of different answers - both from individuals and finish manufacturers - and have decided to try this process to get to an answer that will work for me. I do not feel comfortable with my knowledge in this area and I am looking for help.
Thanks for any suggestions. SGM
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says...

Spar/marine varnish contains UV inhibitors. As far as I know that is about it for normal woodworking finishes.
Down side, the UV inhibitors do break down and the varnish will need to be redone, depending on exposure, on occasion.
Actually no finish is proof against UV rays for any real length of time.
Pigment stain will give good protection from UV because of the pigments contained in it. They pretty well block UV from the wood and since they are usually naturally occurring earths and such. However the binders used to hold the pigments in place will break down and the job will have to renewed periodically.
Cedar is a pretty resistant wood that will weather better then most without any finish but will change color. I think I would use one of those clear deck oil protectors for the job. Easy on, easy to renew, and no peeling and flaking when it starts to wear out.
--
MikeG
Heirloom Woods
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wrote:

This stuff is great for cedar: <http://www.ppg.com/ppgaf/olympic/tint.htm
I learned about from this guy, he's local to me, and it's the only finish he uses: <http://www.baldwinlawnfurniture.com
Barry
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I'd suggest just using something like Thompsons water sealer. Varnish would be the best film finish and it will wear and peel after about a year (or less) of continuous harsh elements. Cedar is a premier weather resistant finish. The water sealer will help keep it form discoloring (look for the version for decks with UV protection).
Then every other year or so, you can get the acid based deck renewing type products that burn away the oxidation and rebew the color of oxidized wood. It might take some scrubbing too. Then recoat with Thompsons.
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