I have an outside bench that needs refinishing. It is made from redwood
2x3s with 1x2 spacers between each 2x3 over brick pedsetals. Outer edges
are covered with 1x5s to hide anchoring to the pedestals. I live in
Southern California and the location gets a fair amount of sun but not a lot
of rain. It is about 10 years old and had polyurethane varnish finish
I used a chemical striper, scrapper and sandpaper to remove all the old
finish on the parts I can reach. Sides of the 2x3s are only about an inch
apart and I can't get at them to completely remove the old varish. There
are a few rather minor blemishes in the wood and some nail holes where nails
were center punched down. I would like to fill these with something that
will look ok with the finish I use. I've seen some discussions about using
varnish, stain and oils but don't know how practical oil is even though it
seems like it would leave a nice finish. I don't much like the opaque
stains I have seen. I think varish would last longer but is a lot of work
to refinish and I would like to avoid going through this again.
My questions are:
1. Would tung oil or linseed oil be good to use for this outside
application? Would it protect the redwood? How often would it need to be
redone? Is there a better approach?
2. Should I use a sealer before applying oil (if that is what I end up
3. Would oil (or whatever finish you think best) stay on the parts of the
bench that does not have the old varnish completely removed?
3. Would a plastic wood or some other wood filler be ok to use to fill the
nail holes? If so, should I use some stain on the filled holes before
oiling so they would not be too obvious?
Thanks for your comments and suggestions.
Nobody said it, so I will- does anybody ever actually sit on this bench?
If so, whatever you put on needs to be non-marking in hot/damp weather.
If some lady in a white dress sits down during a lawn party, and ends up
with stripes, you will never hear the end of it.
Personally, I'd just clean it, and leave the wood naked. Redwood can sit
at the gray stage for years before it starts failing to the point of
being a hazard. That is why people starting using redwood for outside
trim and decks in the first place, back when mere mortals could afford it.
To all who answered my plea for help - Thanks very much! You all have had
some great ideas and suggestions. I had never heard of Penofin before but
it seems like maybe the way to go. There seem to be many different types of
exterior Penofin products. My wife and I will go to a dealer to inspect and
do some questioning. She is most concerned about the color and I don't know
what a "transparent tint" is. Has anyone found one of the products better
than the others?
As for the holes - they are about 1/8 inch to 3/16 in. diameter. They are
the result of setting nails and are only about 1/8 deep to the nail. Other
minor blemishes are not that deep and I might just ignore them.
I may have more questions after we look a round a little and I'll let you
know what we end up doing and how it turns out.
Good? Not really. Satisfactory? Yes. Best is paint.
From what? Sun, slightly; rain, so-so.
Whenever the wood starts wetting out from rain.
No, absolutely not. Oil is meant to soak into the wood. Apply liberally,
keep surface wet, wipe off excess after a half hour or so. Be sure to get
off excess or you'll have a sticky mess. Repeat at least twice at a minimum
of 24 hour intervals.
No, not if you wipe off as explained above. It would do no good even if it
Plastic wood isn't much good. Unless the holes are large your best bet
would probably be hard, colored wax like the "putty sticks" sold for the
purpose. Kid's crayons would work too but are too hard to rub in, need to
be softened with heat first. They can be mixed to desired color by heating
to liguid - careful, wax burns. Plain old putty (linseed oil + filler)
isn't too bad either.
All work best on holes that are smallish in diameter and relatively
deep...deep enough for a glob of whatever to have something to grab on to.
Linseed oil never fully dries, Tung oil and marine varnishes outside
wont last. If its still grey and you want it cleaner for a clear
finish Oxalic acid the main ingredient in most wood siding cleaners
will help, so can bleach. If it was mine id consider an oil house
stain, it wont peel you just recoat it when it wears away. I never
used Penofin, remove the old varnish if its visable. There are clear
oil house stains.
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