Maybe it’s the fumes going to my head, but I can’t place the smell of Behr wood stain. It reminds me of something from the past – model airplane paint or the dentist’s office or something. Do you know what I’m talking about? Please tell us in the comments section.
I’m testing 5 types of wood stain for outdoor finishing of my Adirondack chair project. What I bought at the store differed from my original plan. That’s because I wised up about a couple things, and also because I was limited to what the stores had on their shelves. Here are the stains and finishes I now have on my cedar test boards:
1. No finish or stain
Over time, the wood will turn gray. But since cedar is rot-resistant, you can expect good durability. This option also leaves open the idea of priming and painting the chairs at a later date, if that’s what the end users want. Many folks enjoy the natural gray look.
2. Behr wood stain
You find this where you find all Behr products. I thought I’d give it a try since it is so readily available, and because you can buy it in quart-sized containers. The label reads “Transparent Weather Proofing, All-in-one Wood Finish.” It also says soap-and-water clean-up, so I’m thinking it is basically an acrylic sealer, with additives for color. There is a definite orange tone to the so-called “Natural” tint, as applied to cedar.
3. Spar urethane
I confused spar urethane with polyurethane in my first blog post. Spar urethane is usable on outdoor projects. Poly is for indoor furniture. Since I know urethane is easy to apply, I decided to try two varieties of spar and see how they compare. After the first coat, the Rust-oleum brand is bubbling more than the Minwax brand, but I think that is just some grain emerging from the wood. I will sand it down with fine paper and reapply each brand. After a third coat, I’ll place the board outside for a few months to see what happens.
4. Thompson’s Water Seal
Why not? It was available in a spray can for about $5, so I thought I’d give it a try in the name of science. After the first coat, I like how it reveals the grain patterns in the wood. We’ll see how it holds up. Thompson’s needs to be reapplied every year, I’m told.
5. General Finishes Outdoor Oil, with and without white stain
I bought this at the woodworking specialty store. I laid down a single coat of oil on two boards, then added a coat of white stain to one board. I finished each board with two more coats of oil, allowing the boards to dry overnight between coats. After a few days, the finish is still ever so slightly sticky. You wouldn’t notice it if you touched it, but I applied some pressure to the boards in a vise, and the finish came out marred. Given enough time to dry I am sure it makes a nice finish for the outdoors. But you definitely don’t want to sit down on something that might stick to your clothes.
Wait a minute, I think I just remembered what the Behr wood stain smells like! I’m going to hold off, however, and see if anyone else has ideas.
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