46 – Desert Outdoor Finish

Video - April 14, 2008

Outdoor finishes can be one of the trickiest types of wood finishes to master. Why? Because there is never a one size fits all solution. As woodworkers, we are used to dealing with the seasonal wood movement of our interior pieces. But when one of our creations is destined to live outside, there is much more to consider. Depending on your region’s climate, your project could experience anything from snow and ice to hot desert sand storms. How the heck do we prepare for that?!?! Well, it is still an area that I am learning much about. I haven’t built many outdoor pieces and most of my knowledge comes from my reading and conversations with other woodworkers. Here in the Arizona desert, we have mild winters, occasional isolated rain spells, monsoon season (a temporary time of increased humidity), frequent dust storms, and of course, blazing hot summers where my shop can reach 125F, if left to its own devices. So in these harsh conditions, how would you finish your solid alder front door? For me, the answer lies in something most of us use on a daily basis: our workbenches. Much like your workbench, an Arizona front door will receive a great deal of punishment. And when an item is going to see that much abuse, sometimes the focus has to shift from absolute protection (a losing battle), to repair-ability. And that’s where my special homemade oil/marine varnish blend comes in handy. Watch the video and see what you think.

The product I recommend using in the video is Epifanes Marine Varnish.

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