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Thread: Best outdoor oil finish for white oak??

  1. #1
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    Mar 2016
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    Best outdoor oil finish for white oak??

    I built two large octagon picnic tables of white oak two years ago - fun project but lots of work. No finish on either. One I kept covered in the winter at my house (from rain, no snow here) and the other not covered in the winter at my daughters house. Mine looks great, hers looks terrible. I will need to bring hers back to my shop and use some oxalic acid to clean it and lighten it, put some screws in to pull epoxied joints back together (relieve the stress on the top boards that have bowed upwards with saw cuts from underneath) and re epoxy them) and do some light sanding. I think I need to use some oil "finish" on hers. I don't want any kind of film finish as it will just peel. I'm located in central Calif. What a good outdoor oil that I should use, (want to keep wood color as light as possible)? Randy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
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    Denver, CO
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    I've had great results using Penofin Penetrating Oil Finish on several outdoor projects including a cedar bench. You'll want the red or blue can. But I would not join those boards back together. Leave gaps between the boards instead (if the design allows) so water can drain. That might've been partly responsible for what happened to hers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    WNY
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    Penofin Hardwood Oil on my Ipe' deck has been very disappointing; I guess it depends on what species you use it on. Ipe' Oil was no better. Both faded badly after just a couple of months and both acquired a nice (not) coating of grime and black mold over the Winter, requiring complete stripping the next Spring. I'm about to try Armstrong Clark Deck Hardwood Oil based on some reviews that say it shows the best performance; we'll see.

    WO is durable, but it's a coarse grained wood and mold/mildew turn it black if it gets wet much. Your best solution to prevent that is to keep it covered when not using it. That is what I now do with a black locust bench finished with Epifanes Marine Varnish, and a Sapele table finished with Penofin Hardwood Oil. Zero maintenance since I started keeping them covered.

    John

  4. #4
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    I've used Penofin (blue can) on a redwood table I built 20 years ago, put it on mostly every spring. It was outside in the elements, the redwood just got super soft and eventually desinagrated, so I built these identical tables out of white oak. As an aside, I used Superdeck semitransparent oil on my mountain cabin exterior plywood siding and deck 10 years ago and am very impressed with it. And of course rain, sleet, and snow on the non-covered deck a lot of the time during the long winter seasons. I'm almost tempted to use that, but maybe in clear, over all the traditional oil "finishes" such as tung oil, linseed oil, boiled linseed oil, etc as I really have no experience with them. Randy

  5. #5
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    Mar 2003
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    John, what do use for cover? Some waterproof-ish fabric?

  6. #6
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    I use a waterproof fabric cover that I found on the internet that cost $23. It was designed for covering round picnic tables outdoors (they offered different sizes and shapes - don't remember name of company. So far so good, two winters still water proof, fold up and store indoors in summer. It kind of resembles the old oilcloth that we used to cover tables many years ago. Randy

  7. #7
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    Dec 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton View Post
    John, what do use for cover? Some waterproof-ish fabric?
    Jamie, I bought this one for my bench: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I bought round ones from the same company for two tables. I noticed a small tear the other day in one that is seeing it's third Summer. For the price they are a real bargain in my opinion, cheaper than a quart of Epifanes - and a whole lot easier to apply.

    John

  8. #8
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    Mar 2016
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    Exeter, CA
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    Jamie - Now that I see John's picture, that's the same cover I'm using. Worth the coin in my opinion. Randy

  9. #9
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    Mar 2015
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    SE Michigan
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    Randall, I’m in a similar situation, looking for an oil for a mahogany table. I’ve been looking at General Finishes outdoor oil, but haven’t made up my mind yet. I’ve had good luck with Flood clear on my deck...considering that as well.
    Last edited by Phil Mueller; 06-28-2019 at 11:15 PM.

  10. #10
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    Exeter, CA
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    Phil - Makes sense to me. If you have used something already, in the same environment, and are impressed with it, why not? Know its not the traditional oils everyone uses but, if it works.... Randy

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Phoenix AZ
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    How do you guys feel about Thompson’s Water Seal?
    “Learn what you can control and what you cannot..” Epictetus, 100 A.D.
    It costs nothing to be kind to others

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Kansas City
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    IME no finish lasts for very long outside; you have to pretty much reapply every year. Thompson's or any other deck sealing product works for awhile, but its the UV that causes damage not is much the water. I used Penofin (green can) on a WO bench - it turned black anyway. I've had better success with Cabot Australian Timber Oil lasting longer. Dont apply it inside, however, it really smells.

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