Finish for Western Red Cedar
I'm building an outdoor dining table out of Western Red Cedar and wonder what sort of finish (if any) to use. I'd appreciate suggestions. Thanks.
Google "FPL-046 natural finish" - use the one revised in1979. I use it without stains on my outdoor woods. I've also varied the wax content. It works pretty well as is.
What do you use for the preservative? Are you able to buy Penta or do you use one of the other chemicals?

I built a garden gate several years ago out of Western Red Cedar and only oiled it. No other finish or preservative. I'm not at all convinced that the oil had any real effect other than making it look nice for a short while. I was wondering it there is anything more useful for this table. -Howard
There are two approaches:
Don't bother with finish and let it go gray.
Apply a stabilizer like Wood Juice followed by a finish like GF 450 or Epafines spar varnish. A friend has a small restaurant and he bought 4 unfinished Western Red Cedar picnic tables. He treated them with Wood Juice and then applied GF 450 finish. He has them on concrete so that the legs are not in contact with the ground. After 4+ years they are fine and still look good. He will likely need to clean them off with a pressure washer and apply another coat of 450 before too long. GF 450 works a bit better than Epifanes and is a waterborne so much less hassle to apply. If you go the Epifanes route don't screw with spar varnishes from the Borg. Another finish that can be used is SW A-100® Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint it is cheaper but not quite as glossy or quite as durable compared to GF 450.
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I bought some off of amazon - copper naphthenate I think - but it gives light woods a green cast. I have seen a powdered paint additive at Home Depot that is labeled as a fungicide/mildew preventer at the paint counter but haven't used. I have used that recipe a lot without any preservative - and would do so for cedar.
We've had a really wet July - I had a spot that got limited sun so I cleaned the mildew off, added some M-1 paint additive mildewicide to the mix - so far no regrowth of the mildew.


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