Oak park bench and the weather. Need help.

I've got a nice oak slat park bench that I pulled from the trash and fixed up with stainless fasteners and new wood a few years ago. The problem now is mildew affecting the oak.
Originally I covered the wood with something called ClearThane (from a "Wood You" store) which I assume is a thinner version of polyurethane which works well on indoor furniture.
I would like some help with the next restoration. Besides the mildew the wood is still good, so I'd like to use it, although I would guess teak, cypress or cedar might be better.
My plan it to sand down the mildew and recoat it with something. With what I don't know. I'm open to suggestions. Help appreciated.
Thanks, Stan
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If the bench is made from red oak it will not be very weather resistant. You can paint the red oak with exterior house paint or something similar to give it some weather protection. White oak is weather resistant and will give you years of service. The white oak left unfinished will weather to a grey color and be rot resistant for many years. If the ClearThane finish you used on the bench is an interior polyurethane it will not hold up outside due to the Ultra Violet rays that are in sunlight. If the finish you applied has turned a dark brown or black, it probably has been degraded by the UV sunlight. You will need to strip this old finish off and either leave the wood bare or refinish with a finish that is formulated to be UV tolerant. Spar varnish, or spar polyurethane are two top coats that will work to varing degrees. If you apply a clear coat finish to the white oak you will probably need to reapply it every year or every other year to protect the wood. The white oak will probably darken over time even if a clear coat finish is regularly applied to since the UV will also affect the wood.

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On Sun, 19 Sep 2004 11:19:08 -0600, Stan Mulder wrote

I'm repairing an oak slat park bench as well. The original was located on a porch so the only "problem" was the finish flaking. I re-sanded all the slats and covered it with a spar varnish. THis lasted about a year in the elements (exposed) so now I have a supply of ipe which I will use as a finish free-maintenance free replacement. At about $7 a bf, much cheaper than teak, although I had to mail order it since the closest supplier is 300 miles away.
-Bruce
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Like Joe mentioned, If the bench is red oak, it will not last long. White Oak being the better Oak for out door applications.
Better yet, replace the wood with Ipe. You will never have to use a protective finish and the wood will last out doors for 40-50 years.
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