Author Topic: Finish for Outdoor Learning Tables  (Read 2022 times)

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Offline rdr

  • Posts: 68
Finish for Outdoor Learning Tables
« on: May 19, 2017, 02:14 PM »
Guys Looking for some advice  [smile]

I have been "volunteered" to help create an outdoor learning area at the school my better half teaches at.

A local company has kindly donated some large cable reels which are to be used as tables. I have fetched one back today to have a look at and structurally they are sound but I'm trying to plan how to finnish them. First step is to go over them with a fine tooth comb removing nails then I will hit them with the Rotex 150 building up to about 180 grit (I think that will be enough?)

We are thinking a bright decking stain to add colour but I'm concerned as a work surface for learning they will soon end up green and slimy.  These are quite big and there are 6 in total, understandably there is a tight budget so spending a fortune on varnishes is something we would like to avoid.

Has any one any recommendations for a nice low maintenance finish that will hold up to the elements and not cost the earth?

Couple of pics of the reel No.1





« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 02:33 PM by rdr »

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Offline JustinWG

  • Posts: 36
Re: Finish for Outdoor Learning Tables
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2017, 02:54 AM »
Call around to local paint stores and ask what they have available in the "bone yard" or miss-match.  It's about the time of the year when people start ordering various products for outdoor projects and things get goofed all too often.  They may have nothing, but it's worth a shot.

You could also explain the situation to various retailers (paint stores and big box stores) - saying that you're other half works for a school and they have had some tables donated recently.  Be polite, but frank.  Simply ask if they would be willing and able to help donate a few gallons to the school for a project.  Some stores jump all over that.

If you do ask for donations, make sure to talk to the appropriate (admin?) people at the school.  Explaining your goal and asking for permission is just a good idea.  It is possible the vendor may want some official contact at the school to validate the claim and project.

You might be surprised at how many merchants are willing to donate to school projects.

Good luck!

Offline rdr

  • Posts: 68
Re: Finish for Outdoor Learning Tables
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2017, 03:02 PM »
Thanks for the pointers

Local business support is in the process of being sourced, we made progress today removing the nails and staples which took time and then worked up to 100 grit using the Rotex which completely transformed the reel. My other half got to grips with the RO150 in no time commenting how effective it was, she also learnt about different abrasive grits which she had no idea was such a thing until today [smile]

On seeing the bare wood we are probably going to go for a varnish and keep the natural colour.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 3609
Re: Finish for Outdoor Learning Tables
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2017, 03:36 PM »
Have you considered SurFix outdoors? The downside is that it needs to reapplied on a yearly basis.

Offline RobBob

  • Posts: 1165
Re: Finish for Outdoor Learning Tables
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2017, 03:41 PM »
I think priming and painting them with donated different colored exterior house paint as suggested by JustinWG is a great idea.  You can add anti-mildew and even anti-spider stuff to the paint.

Take a picture of the cable reels with the school in the background with you when asking for donated paint.   ;D

Do you have a paint sprayer?
« Last Edit: May 21, 2017, 03:49 PM by RobBob »

Online Holmz

  • Posts: 3984
Re: Finish for Outdoor Learning Tables
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2017, 12:47 AM »
Have you considered SurFix outdoors? The downside is that it needs to reapplied on a yearly basis.

Edit:
My 1 outdoor attempt looks pretty secondhand already.
The job on the shady side of the house stills look ok.

Even the best not varnishes require working every few years.
A paint sounds more easy to manage.

It is probably perfect for an RO150, or a belt sander.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 09:28 AM by Holmz »

Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 1958
Re: Finish for Outdoor Learning Tables
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2017, 09:02 AM »
I think priming and painting them with donated different colored exterior house paint as suggested by JustinWG is a great idea.  You can add anti-mildew and even anti-spider stuff to the paint.

Take a picture of the cable reels with the school in the background with you when asking for donated paint.   ;D

Do you have a paint sprayer?
  What is considered anti-spider as an additive to paint?  [popcorn]
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline RobBob

  • Posts: 1165
Re: Finish for Outdoor Learning Tables
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2017, 09:13 AM »
I think priming and painting them with donated different colored exterior house paint as suggested by JustinWG is a great idea.  You can add anti-mildew and even anti-spider stuff to the paint.

Take a picture of the cable reels with the school in the background with you when asking for donated paint.   ;D

Do you have a paint sprayer?
  What is considered anti-spider as an additive to paint?  [popcorn]

insect repellent paint additive

Offline antss

  • Posts: 1374
Re: Finish for Outdoor Learning Tables
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2017, 11:38 AM »
Can anyone vouch firsthand for the spire repellent additive ?

To me, it sounds a lot like an updated offering from the snake oil salesmen.   [unsure]

Offline Pnw painter

  • Posts: 113
Re: Finish for Outdoor Learning Tables
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2017, 11:45 AM »
Personally, I'd prep them up to 80 grit and apply 2-3 thin coats of solid stain. Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams and Storm Systems all make great solid stains. Solid stains don't require primer and you can easily brush and roll the paint on. This will be one of the easiest ways to finish the tables and provide a long service life before they need to be painted again.

Another option is to prime them and top coat with an exterior paint. I'd use something with high sheen for longevity and added scuff resistance.


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Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 3609
Re: Finish for Outdoor Learning Tables
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2017, 01:14 PM »

Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams and Storm Systems all make great solid stains.


I'll vouch for the Storm Systems solid stains. I've had good luck with them.

The reason I suggested SurFix is because the OP liked the natural wood look and wanted to use a clear varnish. I've used Sikens before and it works well but it's only for use on vertical surfaces, on horizontal surfaces it turns black from mildew and mold.