Yesterday we got a second-hand pub table off eBay... it is a great table, (weighs a ton! ) but it does need a bit of TLC.
I know it's going to need sanding and re-finishing, but the more I have sought for info via Google, the more confused I am by the range of products out there- all claiming miraculous things!
It appears to have been painted in a flat-matt sort of finish... I am presuming some kind of fence or shed paint, which is worn in places.
I'd like to be able to redo it in something that is:
1. Wildlife and eco-friendly, (of course) The birds are going to come in contact with it, and probably the fox. Plus, I don't want to be washing brushes and discarding stuff that going to be any more harmful than I can possibly avoid.
2. Has a slight sheen to it, if possible? I don't know if water-based finishes are capable of this.
3. Colour isn't that crucial- I don't think we can get all of the old paint off, so whatever we put on top will need to be slightly near to the same- it's a sort of dark ochre colour at the moment.
4. Nothing too fancy or complicated... I can't be boiling up turbs and linseed oil, if for no other reason that they cost £££ (have you seen the price of proper turbs these days? ) and I'd probably asphixiate myself.
I don't know if the wood has been pressure-treated or not, but this does seem to be a factor with some of the products I read about.
So, any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated!
I would definitely go for a water based product. We have used one for a good few years and it is very easy to apply, dries very quickly so it can be applied even if there is only a brief dry spell and a second coat can be applied very soon after the first, does have a bit of a sheen and cleaning the brushes is easy.
I don't know how good it is compared to other products. We tend to touch up our benches every year and do a full repaint roughly every other year, but the benches are in very exposed sites.
The problem is I cannot give you the name of it! I was convinced it was made by Ronseal and that the range was called something like, "Forest Colours" but searching the Ronseal website draws a blank and I don't have an old tin to refer to. There is a water based product made by Cuprinol and I'm sure there must be others.
From the look of it the last coat seems to be bog standard fence paint - cuprinol or something similar. This stuff, while being a reasonable preservative does tend to dry the wood out. There's a good chance the timber has been pressure treated, so in combination with the fence paint this means you need to be serious about breathing/face protection when sanding. Obviously it depends on what it's worth investing and I've no idea what the environmental audit would be but -- my inclination would be to use an electic sander to remove as much as the old colour as possible, maybe fill the cracks in the planking and perhaps use a wood stain to colour the whole, certainly check if the feet are sound, and then give the whole a finish with two or more coats of Danish oil. The latter can tend to stay tacky if applied too heavily so caution on the actual benches - but this will give you a satin finish and maintain the wood in good condition though needs to be repeated annually. A harder wearing option is to use Yacht Varnish but you may consider that to be an excessive expense, alhtough in my experience a little goes a long way, needs recoating every two to three years.
I've used Cuprinol Wood Shades on timber in the garden - water based, easy to use, quick to dry, has never damaged plants or wildlife (to my knowledge) and the wood grain shows through. Yes it needs reapplied most years but it's a quick enough job - I wouldn't go to the trouble or expense of anything more on a picnic table.