First of all this site is a great resource! A big thanks to Paul and the team for making all this available.
I’ve been asked to make an outdoor table with a solid hardwood top, edge laminated boards with an exterior polyurethane finish. It’s to be used under a patio but of course will experience all the variations in humidity, and I’m concerned the joints will pull apart. Does anyone have direct experience with this? I was planning on using “exterior” PVA glue but just don’t have the experience to know if this will last long term. All outdoor tables I’ve seen personally have gaps between boards so this issue is avoided.
Thanks very much for any advice/experience anyone can offer!
A comment about the finish. not the glue. As I am sure you will find out, if you have not already, Epifanes Poly tends to be highly recommended for outdoor projects. It is common to use a fair number of coats to build up protection, especially UV protection I think. Epifanes is often put over a Penetrating Epoxy like Smith’s. Both Smith’s Clear Penetrating Epoxy and Epifanes are marine products commonly used on boats. (The epoxy works pretty well for restoring wood that is beginning to rot as well as being a preventative coat.) I would try these products on a piece of the same wood to see whether you like the result before putting it on your product. You want to check for color changes in the wood and for the attractivness of the funish. The result is not really all that attractive — very plastic like — especially if you do all the coats recommended of the Epifanes. I never tried just using fewer coats. That will be less plasticy but you will loose UV protection. Oh, one other thing, some folk recommend soaking the feet of an outdoor project in the Smith’s to keep those feet from soaking up water. I have never done that but will probably give it a try for my cedar outdoor table which is not aging wonderfully!
Thanks for your thoughts, sanford!
I have yet to try epoxy finishes. I’m pretty happy with my experience of a generic exterior polyurethane, satin finish. I have an old pine table (old hard slow-grown pine, not plantation pine) that I stripped the paint off and refinished with poly, and used under a patio. It has not discoloured significantly in over 6 years, might be slightly yellower. This is a similar duty to this new table I’m doing, so I’m fairly confident in the finish.
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