'Stains' such as Cuprinol etc are usually a finish in their own right (seem to think they used to be called 'microporous' when that was a buzzword in the external finishes industry!) and therefore I wouldn't have thought a varnish would be needed over the top of it, unless it is for purely cosmetic reasons.
If this is the case, be careful which varnish you choose as it could react with the stuff already applied; this might not show for some months either so a long term test would be advisable unless someone can give the definitive answer.
There's a bit of confusion here, caused by people who should have known better; some years ago the term 'stain' was suddenly adopted by the exterior coatings industry to mean a coloured microporous coating which gave a finish and coloured at the same time. Something which was used only to colour wood was called a 'dye'. I don't know why this happened and it wasn't something I subscribed to. These terms were only (to my knowledge) used widely in the retail/DIY market whereas the trade used the terms interchangably. Very confusing!
Our Spirit Stain is suitable for use outdoors as it is very fade resistant but should only be used on bare wood. However, it will only colour the wood and will need a coating over the top of it to seal it in and to protect the wood. (The pigments used are also soluble in water and rain will eventually wash it off if it can make contact with it).
If you are working on new wood I'd suggest either Finishing Oil which will seal the stain in and protect the wood and give easy maintenance or one of our Acrylic Aerosol lacquers; these are very hardwearing, have a UV filter and will withstand most weathering.
It would be helpful to know a little more about the project you are undertaking to double check that this is the right advice; it might be that these finishes are 'over the top' for what you are doing (for example, I wouldn't use these on a fence as it would be too hard to do! I'm guessing we're not talking about a fence here but I'm sure you get what I am trying to say)
We're not talking 'fences' Terry Thanks for the explanation about 'stains and dyes' as it can be confusing.
I'm in the very early stages of designing and making garden planters to hopefully sell as a business idea. At present I'm using cuprinol as the main preservative/stain or dye. I'm very pleased to know that your spirit stains can be used outdoors although requiring protection. I have been using untreated bare timber but will now be using tanalised timber and will also be using your products for both internal and external use. In the latter part of this year I'll be producing a small catalogue, on CD, and with your permission I'd like to mention that I use your products :wink:
*And a mention of this place of course, because without this Forum and all the advice I've received I wouldn't be where I am today!*
Sorry, the 'fences' reference was a bit of an in-joke; we sometimes get sales reps from magazines phone us up trying to sell us advertising space, suggesting that it would be a good month to be featured as "we are doing an article on fencing and you sell timber treatments don't you?". Research and knowing your customer is obviously a thing of the past!
By all means mention us in your catalogue, it's very kind of you and don't forget the gallery on our website which is crying out for submissions!