Turd in the punch bowl

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To make a long story short, I've got to make two Adirondack chairs out of Red Oak and have them ready, painted and presented by Christmas. I've been told by soo many people how bad Red Oak would be for soaking up water and that they'd have to be repainted almost every year, but I have no time to get a more proper species so I'll have to go with what I've got.

I'm writing to ask what I can do to make these chairs weather a little better. I've been told to coat the bottom of the legs with epoxy and that would help stave off water absorption. Does anyone have specific advice on how to do this? I've worked with two part epoxies plenty before now so this isn't totally unfamiliar territory. I'm assuming thinner epoxy would be better. The chairs will be sitting on concrete so maybe that'll help.

I've also been told to paint all the parts separately before putting them together, and that this would help with not absorbing water as well.

Any other advice on what I can do to help these chairs weather better?
Thanks
 
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Gary Beasley

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Possibly soak the cut ends with wood hardener to help seal the pores. Red oak pore are pretty continuous. Ive seen a demo of blowing bubbles through a stick of red oak. Thats a recipe for absorbing a lot of water.
 

jttheclockman

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I was one who told you there are better options than red oak as an outdoor furniture. But to get to your questions. Not sure if you painted these yet from what you said but my suggestion is to use a UV penetrating stain. If you paint then use an outdoor paint and suggest you go to a true paint store to get expert advice. For the bottom of the legs being they will sit on concrete which is a sponge for water I suggest you make pads for under the feet out of a poly material or use Ipe. To cover the end grain. Now you are going to have end grain throughout the chairs and that is why it is not a good material but using a conditioner or moisture blocker made for outdoor use will work. Stay away from epoxy. It will only wear off. Red oak if left untreated will turn black from moisture so need to protect. Good luck.
 

rherrell

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First, use Titebond III glue, it's waterproof. Second, use the same glue to seal the end grain on the bottom of the legs. With the bottom of the legs facing up, apply a liberal amount of glue and let it sit for awhile but keep an eye on it and don't let it dry. When it starts to turn clear apply more glue. Keep doing this until it won't take any more glue. After that you can coat the bottom with some kind of sealer.
 

randyrls

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For the bottom of the legs being they will sit on concrete which is a sponge for water
To Contribute; If the concrete is the least bit level, the legs will be sitting in a puddle. Though it looks terrible, those steel bottom bumpers may be a partial solution for creating a "water gap".
 

Lew

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I have had success using penetrating epoxy to seal outdoor furniture and especially open end grain. It is a very thin epoxy with a relatively long set time. It is often used in marine applications so you know it can be very effective.
 

GaryMGg

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I've used Construction Adhesive to coat the end grain of weather exposed wood.
After completing your chairs, just squeeze some onto the bottom of the legs and spread it with a glue spreader or spatula.
Easy-peasy.

One more thought:
You might consider an Epoxy paint such as designed for Cabinets.
It's a little pricey but it's probably worth it for your needs.
 

Woodchipper

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Good luck. Lots of choices here.
FWIW, I was in Lancaster, PA, a few years ago. The Amish are now using colored synthetic wood for all their outdoor furniture. No need for painting and lasts for centuries.
 

Fine Engineer

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Would Cactus Juice be a good material to seal the end grain of the wood? I'm thinking that all the end grain should be sealed, and not just the parts that will be in contact with the ground. As was said before, if the grain is so porous, it will absorb moisture from the air as well as the ground and that will cause swelling which will likely crack whatever paint is applied and accelerate the weathering.

If not Cactus Juice, then maybe thin CA glue to seal the end grains. You need something thin that will wick into the grain and harden to seal the wood.
 

jttheclockman

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For those that are suggesting using some sort of sealant on the legs portion of end grain, you have to remember that chairs will slide on the concrete thus opening more end grain and sealant is not going to prevent this.
 

jttheclockman

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A PVC sleeve would work.
My post #3

I was one who told you there are better options than red oak as an outdoor furniture. But to get to your questions. Not sure if you painted these yet from what you said but my suggestion is to use a UV penetrating stain. If you paint then use an outdoor paint and suggest you go to a true paint store to get expert advice. For the bottom of the legs being they will sit on concrete which is a sponge for water I suggest you make pads for under the feet out of a poly material or use Ipe. To cover the end grain. Now you are going to have end grain throughout the chairs and that is why it is not a good material but using a conditioner or moisture blocker made for outdoor use will work. Stay away from epoxy. It will only wear off. Red oak if left untreated will turn black from moisture so need to protect. Good luck.
 

RunnerVince

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Would Cactus Juice be a good material to seal the end grain of the wood? I'm thinking that all the end grain should be sealed, and not just the parts that will be in contact with the ground. As was said before, if the grain is so porous, it will absorb moisture from the air as well as the ground and that will cause swelling which will likely crack whatever paint is applied and accelerate the weathering.

If not Cactus Juice, then maybe thin CA glue to seal the end grains. You need something thin that will wick into the grain and harden to seal the wood.
I'm not certain, but I believe Cactus Juice is heat cured, so you'd have to have an oven/kiln large enough to accommodate your pieces that would also hit the target temperature.
 
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