Finish recommendations for Sapele in exterior setting
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  1. #1
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    Default Finish recommendations for Sapele in exterior setting

    I made a tree swing seat 8.5” x 28” x 2” using Sapele. I’m an amateur woodworker and do not have much experience finishing. Digging around the interwebs I think I need to seal the wood, use an oil finish, then a urethane. Jon Peters used Teak Oil on an outdoor table and it turned out well. I’m going to try and buy quart sizes as gallons would be a lifetime supply. I want the most durable finish I can afford, it will be exposed to rain, snow, and UV. The location and size will make it easily available to refinish in the future.

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    Waterlox maybe? Its easy to use and to patch up later. Just pay attention to how you store the left over. You will need to remove all air from the can or it will harden in storage.

    Waterlox Marine Finishes seal finish and protect wood boats, decks and outdoor furniture from UV rays, sunlight, moisture, harsh weather conditions

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    Paint is the most durable. But if you want a clear finish, The longest lasting one I found was Man-of War spar varnish.

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    Follow Up:

    I used CrabCoat exterior marine finish using the manufacturer's recommendations. Application was straight forward, a foam brush to apply 6 coats, sanding between

    coats 2 and 3 with 320 grit sandpaper. We will see how it holds up, please wait for next follow up in 3 years.




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    My recommendation is to put a coat on every six months. If you wait a year it will need sanding all the varnish off then applying several coats. A single coat every six months will last. The tree will help shield it from UV but I don't think there is a clear wood finish that does not need regular maintenance in outdoor applications.

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    Once I started to use Tung Oil I stopped searching for "the finish". Homer Formby is something I used and is not too bad.
    I also bought Tung Oil in a bottle and mixed it in combination with other things, like the way Sam Maloof explains in his book.

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    How is the chair swing holding up

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Smith View Post
    Follow Up:

    I used CrabCoat exterior marine finish using the manufacturer's recommendations. Application was straight forward, a foam brush to apply 6 coats, sanding between

    coats 2 and 3 with 320 grit sandpaper. We will see how it holds up, please wait for next follow up in 3 years.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikdugal1 View Post
    How is the chair swing holding up
    It is holding up well. I'll take a couple pictures this evening.

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    Marine spar varnish is likely the best. a light sanding between coats.
    oak is a good wood choice.

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    This is the first I have really looked at it in about a year, and it seems like the deterioration has sped up from what I remember. It gets a fair amount of use and has had some battles with the lawn mower, overall I'm happy with the finish considering the environment and 2.5 years.



    Picture of underside:


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    Sun bleached is not deterioration, just sun bleached. The sun changes the color of a lot of woods. My sapele back steps are about a year old. Turning silver. Nice sapele color when wet, but getting more silver. Good for 25 years I guess. I'll post back in 2036 and let you know.

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    Nice rope splicing!

    Just for reference: In the marine world I like to coat with three layers of west system epoxy sanding between each layer and then 3 topcoats of a good spar varnish. The spar varnish is for UV resistance.
    One trick for coating the bare wood is to wipe the wood with acetone before coating to soak up the oil that occurs naturally in exotic woods. The epoxy really creates a hard shell that can take a few impacts and not breach the finish.

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    So, has it had much use? Sure is inviting looking!

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    Quote Originally Posted by richard newman View Post
    So, has it had much use? Sure is inviting looking!
    The kids use it quite a bit. The broad platform makes it easier for them to stand up and they seem to like that. The only negative is that it is a difficult swing to keep going. I'm not sure if it is the pivot connection or just the overall mass of it.

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    I would second the recommendation for marine spar varnish. That stuff is fantastic. I would refinish with that this time around. I finished the man-door of my garage with it at least 10 years ago and it's just now starting to need a redux.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eKretz View Post
    I would second the recommendation for marine spar varnish. That stuff is fantastic. I would refinish with that this time around. I finished the man-door of my garage with it at least 10 years ago and it's just now starting to need a redux.
    Does your door see direct sun? That seems to make a big difference in aging


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