I’m going to show you how to make your exterior furniture go from looking like this or this to looking like this Or this now right off the bat you are going to notice that these two finishes are quite different from one another each system that I’m going to show you has both it’s advantages and disadvantages from the other with the hardwood oil that you see here the main advantage is that it is a finish that if kept up will literally last indefinitely but that is also it’s greatest disadvantage as it is a maintenance coating that will need to be reapplied annually now the varnished piece that you see here is a different style of coating all together and it’s main advantages is that it is more of a permanent coating that will last a few years before it needs to be dealt with again however varnishes fatal flaw is that has a finite life span and can and will peel if left neglected too long, which can make it more difficult to refinish down the road now ultimately you should go ahead and pick the finish that you like the look of better all while considering the advantages and disadvantages to each system if you are the kind of person that doesn’t like to apply maintenance coatings then hardwood oiling is probably not a good system for you conversely if varnish is left neglected for to long it is a system that can and will peel whereas hardwood oil will simply wear away if left neglected neither system is more correct than the other and both are simply different ways of protecting your exterior furniture alright before we go and apply any coating we need to prepare the surface of each bench this bench right here had no previous coating on it the wood was just weathering and my favorite way to prepare a surface like this is with a pressure washer.
I’m able to get in all the corners really good and there are some guys will tell you to go ahead and sand the bench down as a means of preparing the surface and although that can get pretty good results I find that this is faster and it gets inside the corners better than just strictly using a D.A. sander so I really like to use this on a weathered piece of furniture now you are going to notice right away with this bench that I went ahead and took it apart and the reason why I did that is because we’re going to get a much nicer job taking a bench of this style apart and finishing all the pieces separately then if were to leave it together now this bench is going to require more preparation than the other bench or any garden because this bench had a coat of varnish on all of the planks now I’m pressure washing the wood right here because there was quite a bit of lichen growth on this bench and I thought it would be a good idea even though most of the preparation for these planks is going to come from sanding with a D.A.
It really wasn’t a bad idea to get all of that growth off before we went ahead and started sanding on them after you pressure wash a bench that had no previous coating on it you’re going to be left with something that looks very similar to this at this point you are going to want to go ahead and let the bench dry out a couple of days and let all that moisture wick up out of the wood before we go ahead and apply any products or start sanding on the bench at all alright grab some , , grit sandpaper something in that range and go along and do all of your exposed areas with the D.A. like I’m doing here afterwords I went though with a piece of hand sandpaper and got in between all the slats and got rid of all the rough wood in between where the D.A. couldn’t get although sanding isn’t necessary after pressure washing it really will make this bench look quite a bit nicer and it will feel quite a bit nicer when you go and rub your hands along it so I think it’s really important on a piece of furniture like this to go ahead and sand it all down and really manicure it this is what we had and this has still go quite a bit of varnish on it and the stain obviously you can see that pretty good and this is what I did how I did this is I’ve got a couple of sanders out that I’m playing with I’ve got a belt sander and I’ve got a D.A. most of you probably won’t have both but you’re going to need one of these. to take it down like this this is a D.A. right here
I’ve got grit paper on here grit is going to take this down really good you’re not going to want to try and take this down with grit you’ll be here for quite a bit longer now let me show you a little trick and what we do is we take a little bit of paint thinner and we put a little bit of paint thinner on our rag and we wipe that paint thinner here on our piece and what that does is that shows us what this is going to look like once we go and put our spar varnish on you’ll notice that it will darken up and this black stuff kind of appeared out of nowhere and that’s what it’s going to do alright at this point the bench is all prepped out and we’re ready to apply our finish and for this bench right here we’re going to go ahead and apply a hardwood oil and what we’re going to use is Penofin’s hardwood oil it’s a fantastic product and it’s kind of on the pricey side but it’s well worth it it’s a really nice product and you’ll really like this and what we’re going to do is we’re going to apply this stuff with a brush to all of the underside first and what you do is you just apply it with a brush and we are going to let the product saturate into the wood for maybe about minutes-
Whatever hasn’t been absorbed into the wood or has got more of an excess we are actually going to wipe off with a rag so you’re going to need a brush, a bucket and some rags for this and once we go ahead and to the entire underside we’re going to flip it over and we’re going to do the top side the top side that you see and we’re going to do the same system so we’re going to apply it and wait maybe about minutes for it to absorb into the wood and the wipe off the excess with a rag because if you leave any excess it’s going to leave just a sticky tacky film and we don’t want that alright after you go through all of those steps give your bench a couple of days to dry and then it’s ready to enjoy Penofin recommends that you reapply the oil after months and the every year after that after every application of the oil the piece of furniture is going to look better and better each time so continually keep up with your maintenance schedule and this finish will last you indefinitely so what we’re going to do is I’ve got all of these laid back sides facing up and what we’re going to do is I’m going to come along with my marine spar varnish and I’m going to do all the back sides right here and then what I’m going to do is take my hardware that I saved from when I took this bench apart and when I paint this back side right here and when I paint this back side right here what I’m going to do is I’m actually going to put a coat right here maybe do the sides and the corners and stuff and then what I’m going to do is take the bolts.
I’m going to flip this over while it’s still wet, and I’m going to lay it right there on the bolts and what that’s going to do is it’s going to keep it up off of the saw horses here and it’s going to allow me to put a full coat all the way around this thing without having to paint the backs wait hours and then flip them over and then paint those for hours because this is going to need like – coats so if we can’t do all of these at once then we are going to be here for quite a while so you can even lay dowels or something like that and just have them strike where they are going to be hidden by the metal on the bench and that would be fine too but this is the way I’m going to do it so that I can get a coat all the way around them all at once alright after you go though and apply three coats of varnish and sand in between each coat you’re going to be left with a piece of wood that looks like this make sure you follow the manufactures recommendations on how long you should wait in between each coat as going over a finish too soon will cause your top coat to wrinkle. alright with this frame what I did to prepare the surface is I took a wire brush, and a putty knife and some sandpaper.
I got all of the loose paint that was on there, off and then I smoothed it out with a piece of sandpaper and made sure that I had a really nice tight surface for everything to adhere to you could if you had access to a bead blaster, bead blast it and get all the way back down to the bear metal and that would be an even better job than what I did here or a sandblaster, or maybe a wire wheel would do a better job than what I did here but this seemed to work out fine and after I scraped everything down and got it all nice and tight what I did is I applied a coat of primer that’s the red color that you see there is a red rust primer it’s a rust converting primer, because these things did have a little bit of rust on them and then after that primer dries you can see me applying the finish right here this finish that I’m applying right here is Rust-Oleum oil based enamel in high gloss and although this finish will caulk up outside over time it’s going to be a good enough finish for what we are doing here this is just a bench you’ll also notice that I went ahead and hung up the frame here on this ladder you can find something else in your garage to hang these things up on and the reason why I did this is so that I can get all the way around the frame and not have to lay them down on anything and then what I did for the second coat is I just rehung them up the opposite way so that I made sure and got all of my angles so after you go though all of that and put your bench back together you’re going to be left with this as your final product.