what stain to use on Clear Cedar??
I am rebuilding an outdoor bench for my dad and don't know what stain to use. I decided to use a clear cedar insted of pine to prevent rot. This material is beautiful. The original bench was green and I want to make it resemble the original. Should I use a solid stain or a semi transparent? Or a good exterior paint? The bench will be outside in the direct sun.
Thanks for the advice.
Re: what stain to use on Clear Cedar??
Clear oil stains give the least protection for the wood. If this bench is to be left out all year, you will need to be doing yearly re-freshing coats. Semi-transparent oil stains will give somewhat more protection, but will still need almost yearly re-freshing. Solid hide stains are almost like paint in that they completely hide the grain and beauty of the wood.
A spar urethane varnish with sunblockers will give longer duration, but will also require periodic maintenance coats. Eventually, it will have to be stripped. It is kind of a trade-off between yearly periodic maintenance or maintenance every few years (3 or 4). I would personally opt for yearly oiling and storing the bench indoors in winter if possible. This is also how teak patio furniture is protected.
If you want a really nice solid look, I would opt for a high quality oil enamel. If possible, I would prime and paint the parts before final assembly. If you paint the assembled bench, water will work its way into all the jointery and eventually peeling will result. Oil paint dries harder than latex and will not have that tacky feeling when you touch it. Also, oil paint can be touched-up more easily as it sands smooth without gumming up your sandpaper.