What have you used on cypress outdoors with good results?
I have built an Adirondack chair using the popular "Jake's Chair"
(Whatever happened to Tom Gauldin? Tom-if you're reading this,
I used cypress, and after a bit of reading and googling I was hoping
to use Cabot's Australian Timber Oil, which is a linseed-tung oil mix
with UV additives and coloring.
(Norm seems to like it:
The label specifically says "test for drying on cypress" so I bought a
sample size can and tried some out. It's been a few days and still
dried. Rubbing a piece of paper on the surface will yield a brown
I also tried a piece that I wiped down with mineral spirits before
application and had the same result. I realize mineral spirits might
not be ideal to use here, but I didn't have any acetone.
A call to Cabot tech support indicated it's the tung component that
doesn't play well with Cypress resin. Unfortunately I didn't ask if
it's a matter of time, or that it will never cure. I'm going to see
what my test pieces do.
I'm looking for a little darker color, and I need protection from
the elements. On cypress. I'd prefer oil-based, but it's not a
hard requirement. What have you used with success?
I'm looking for personal experiences here.
One answer is spar varnish -- how has it worked for you?
Another answer is "let it go gray naturally" but I feel about that
the same way my mother-in-law feels about natural gray hair. ;-)
Any experiences you could share would be welcome.
Thanks for your time,
Cypress is very porous. Almost anything you put on it will soak in,
at least, 1/8" in some spots. The more viscous a coat is, the less it
will soak deep into cypress. BLO or tung oil don't dry fast, anyway.
When either has soaked into the wood, it will take even longer to
dry. Your chairs may take 2 or 3 weeks to dry sufficiently for
sitting on them.
If you coat cypress with anything, try to get your coating into every
little nick and cranny. It may have been best to apply the (any)
coating before assembly, then soak nail holes (spots), screw spots or
other attaching apparatus. If there is one little spot where rain can
penetrate, it will often wick into other areas of the cypress from
that entry point, even though cypress has its own natural oils.
Finishing cypress for outdoor (exposed to the elements) use is a hit-
or-miss proposition, often missing over the long haul. When exposed
to the elements, the wood will expand and contract, eventually making
an opening, somewhere, and rain will penetrate and get under your
Penofin is not available locally, but I suppose can be ordered. I've
read the specs on Penofin, and I'm not convinced of its reliability,
since it seems to have the basic ingredients of other similar
finishes, so I've been hesitant to order some. I've never used
Penofin, so I really can't say anything negative about it.
I've worked with cypress, old and new, for 35 years and I still don't
always get it right all the time. I do like BLO only or tung oil
only, but you just have to let them dry fully, about 2 to 3 weeks, at
least, in my opinion.
For fine furniture pieces, I rub it in (the BLO or tung oil), in small
spots at a time, until heat is produced, kind of like cooking it into
the woodwork. That's lots of work and I wouldn't do that for outdoor
I hope this helps...
And also this: http://www.craftsman-style.info/finishing/069-cypress.htm
I've used it for a few year on many woods, but not yet on cypress. The
mohogany and Spanish ceder still looks great after four years of New England
On cypress I used Minwas Helmsan with good results on a bench that is out of
hte sun and it is holding up well. I use Cetol on another pice and I'm
sorry I did.
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