redwood question

I generally make indoor stuff, so I thought I would defer to the experts. I just finished a patio set (picnic table and benches). Everything is redwood. Now the question. What finish would you all suggest? Would a good water sealer (eg. Thompsons) be sufficient, or should I go with an exterior varnish? Would both be overkill? Is there a better finish?
TIA Glen
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Glen wrote:

I wouldn't recommend varnish unless you are prepared to reapply it every season. I've made both cypress and redwood outdoor furniture. At first I varnished it, but quickly realized that it looked terrible within a year. There are better sealers than Thompsons (Cetol comes to mind), but perhaps no finish at all is really the best . . .
Rick http://www.thunderworksinc.com
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Rick,
Thank you. It is good to check with the experts.
BTW, you have a very impressive web site.
Glen
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Rick Stein wrote:

I'm with Rick. I'm about to build some Adirondack chairs out of WRC, and I have no plans to finish them at all. However, that all boils down to personal preference. Finishing with spar will require re-finishing. If that's not an issue for you, it may be your best bet.
Tanus
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I've found that with things that get used, (sitting, eating, spilling drinks), I like a staining oil... You get some penetration and then some sealing.. I was always taught that you didn't really want to "seal" outdoor stuff, it should still be able to "breathe".. Lots of folks here that are way more knowledgeable than I am there.. lol
I used it for years on a redwood deck.. There's better stuff out there, but I used the brand from good ol' Home Depot.. came in "Natural Redwood", which was pretty much an oil/sealer with a very slight tint.. We used it every few years, whether it needed it or not, and since it was a deck around a pool, did the steps and "water splashed" every spring, just to keep it looking good.. YMMV
mac
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On Thu, 05 Jun 2008 05:54:30 -0700, Glen wrote:

Whatever you put on outdoors is going to require frequent maintenance. I'd go with something that made that maintenance easier. Both Watco and General make an outdoor oil finish with UV protection. I'm sure there are others. Or you could just leave it unfinished. I don't have that option - my wife really detests the gray of weathered wood :-).
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Regardless of which finish you use you will have to reapply it every couple of years if it is exposed to sun light. Pick the one that is the easiest and quickest to reapply every couple of years.
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RE: Subject
Two choices:
1) Natural
2) Be a slave and refinish every year.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

Or from another perspective:
1) Build replacements sooner
2) Do a little preventative maintenance occasionally.
Personally, I'd rather build new ones occasionally. It's more fun than reapplying finish.
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Doesn't have to be slave work, Lew.. In our case, not what I'd call refinishing, either.. lol
We had a huge deck around an above ground pool and 130 feet of redwood fence.. Half a day, once a year with a Hudson sprayer and big roller and it's done.. (I'd roll and the wife would follow with the sprayer to get anything the roller didn't)
mac
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"mac davis" wrote:

Understand.
Personally, would rather be sailing with a little greenie in one hand, and something enjoyable in the other, as opposed to finishing wood work.
Lew
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Thank you all for your input. I appreciate all of your suggestions.
Glen
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On Thu, 5 Jun 2008 16:32:06 -0500, "Leon"

I have two redwood chairs, over 12 years old and still in very good shape. Every 3 years I will lightly sand and apply a UV protection oil. What is really making them last is that I bring them indoors for the (wet) winters.
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