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Can I varnish on top of old Danish Oil?

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Anonymous

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My 1st post!
I made a nice 2 year old Iroko Adirondack chair that looked great for it's first summer and then suffered under a polythene cover over the winter, then the finish started to look pretty moth eaten over this summer with grey patches of weathered wood showing through and a roughness and blistering.
I am going to sand this grey wood away and then recoat with a spar or yacht type of outdoor varnish, will this work?
I know the problems with outdoor finishes (now!), would a breathable MVP finish be better. I have tried this on a yew table but it stayed quite tacky for weeks and I am not keen to try this on a seat.
Any advice, thanks folks.
Keith
 
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Anonymous

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Hi Keith and welcome to the forum

I can't offer a comprehensive answer but can tell you that during this 'summer'??? I have had two pieces suffer greatly due to the significant rain we have had. Both pieces were protected with 3-4 coats of Teak oil :cry:

Hopefully someone wioll come along soon with experiences better than ours
 

Chris Knight

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Friendly and knowledgable as we may be (indeed as we are!) I doubt this is the best place to seek advice on outdoor finishes. Most of us have made stuff for outdoors and it is often left unfinished ('cos we like the gray look) or we struggle with finishes (be they oil, or poly or whatever) that start by looking great and maybe survive for a couple of years before they too look like ess aich one tee.

My hardwood windows work best with Sikkens outdoor finishes but for really good stuff, I'd post on a boat building forum. I reckon that a canoe or yacht that survives more than a couple of seasons without lots of work must have been finished with something pretty good (better than "spar varnish" which is just a long oil, hence flexible varnish)
 

Alf

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Up the proverbial creek
waterhead37":2ctlnfkj said:
I reckon that a canoe or yacht that survives more than a couple of seasons without lots of work must have been finished with something pretty good
Trouble is those yachty types seem to re-finish every season, so how'd they know?


Welcome to the forum, Keith. I wish I had the answer - I'd make a fortune, but alas... We tried a very fancy and complicated 2-part yacht varnish on our south-facing front door (could well be Iroko in fact). Obviously it gets all the hot sun, plus the prevailing winds hit it pretty effectively. The varnish was giving way within a year. So we sanded it all off and switched to Danish Oil instead. It needs doing every year, but it's just a case of wiping on more oil, not taking back a film finish. In fact we've even been known to give it a wipe over even if it doesn't need it.
I don't think any finish really lasts more than a year outside, to be honest. On the whole though, if I was you, I'd learn to appreciate the silver grey Iroko weathers to. My Mum won an Iroko arbour a year or so ago and it's gone a beautiful colour having been sticking out like a sore thumb to start with. But that's just my taste I s'pose, and it helps to have granite walls all round it to match...


Cheers, Alf
 
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Anonymous

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Having owned boats for many years - until I could no longer afford my share of the hole in the water - I can confirm that spar varnish lasts for a year on a boat, just, but that's in salt water. I have varnished pine outdoor furniture with it and it lasted, well, almost two whole years!

Having also lived in the Adirondacks, my preference for that type of chair is no finish at all, or at most a colored (sic) stain. Perhaps a wipe down to get rid of dirt from time to time, but nothing else.
 
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Anonymous

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Keith

the answer to your original question is Yes!

'Rustins' who supply Danish Oil say on their tins that it
...may also be used as a primer before painting and Varnishing
Personally, I find that a few coats of sikkens cetol give a pretty hard wearing finish for outside

One tip for danish oil is it doesn't take kindly to being stored at low temps.
 

Sgian Dubh

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Keith, yes you can varnish over danish oil, as others have said. Danish oil is varnish, as are tung oil finish, teak oil, okene, etc.. They're just a variation on the varnish theme containing essentially either some tung or linseed oil, white spirits, resins and some metallic dryers. The exact formulation and contents varies, and manufacturers are secretive about exactly what goes into their polishes, but those are the essentials.

It's not a finish really suitable for exterior use being relatively easily damaged, but it's also relatively easy to fix.

Yacht and spar varnishes are long oil formulations with a higher percentage of tung or linseed oil in them than found in interior varnishes, which are collectively known as short oil varnishes.

Long oil varnishes are intended to remain flexible and comparatively soft to be able to move with the wood as it experiences rain, sun, snow, etc., leading to large wood movement. Short oil varnishes, including interior alkyd types (which I can't find in the UK) and polyurethane types are harder and more brittle and better able to withstand abrasion and wear used in interior conditions-- tables, desk tops, etc..

As others have said, exterior items that are varnished with yacht varnish require constant maintenance for them to look good. Many finishes designed for exterior use have pigments in them which help block light penetration. Keeping the light out helps preserve the both the finish itself, and the underlying wood. Sikkens and Sadolins are two names I can think of that have exterior protective formulations, and they seem to work quite well.

Of course, for better protection and ender user friendliness an oil based paint with lots of pigments blocks more light than anything else, but I suspect you don't want to go down this path, ha, ha. And paint needs to be maintained on a regular basis too. Slainte.
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks for that, folks.
I've sanded the worst of the grey wood off and I'm going to try a marine varnish on top (when I get around to it, after all that sanding, I never want to see the blooming chair again!).
 

beech1948

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Lets start with a :D big smile. Cause you will probably not want to hear this.

The originators of the Adirondak chairs would not have had access to varnish ( probably) so they would have let the wood grey with age. Why varnish etc etc....you are probably trying to get too high a level of finish on something which does not warrant it.

I wonder if the probelm is really that we put so much effort into projects that we imbue them with too much value....maybe one version of the best attgitude would be to replace them every 3 years..I don't know. But I am sceptical as to there being a varnish solution which will last longer than 1 year.....
 

Sgian Dubh

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No finish at all is a pretty reasonable approach beech. After all, as has been said by many of us here if you're going to put a finish on you're committing yourself, or your customer, to a regular maintenance programme for the finish to continue to look good and for it to be protective.

Most people can't or won't commit themselves to those sorts of demands for a mere bit of garden furniture. But if the no finish approach is to be taken a good timber selection makes sense. White oaks, genuine mahogany, teak, walnut, some cedars and ipe work well for instance, with perhaps ipe which is a pig to work being the most durable. They all rot away over time, but it's usually a good few years before the item needs to be replaced.

Now their pride and joy, the boat which cost them thousands, or perhaps hundreds of thousands is a different story. They'll be out there in all weathers uselessly tinkering about with the blasted thing, ha, ha. Slainte.
 
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