Instructables

Can you varnish an oil-sealed garden table?

I'm asking this for a friend, who's recently bought a garden table that needs to be oiled to keep it waterproof. Would he be able to varnish over the top of the oil, to save the regular re-oiling? Would the varnish take over the oil?

rickharris5 years ago
Maybe but do you want to? Oil is easy to apply lasts at least a season and looks appropriate for garden furniture. Varnish gets attacked by sunlight and begins to look scrappy. then you are stuck with trying to smooth off the rough patches a nightmare. Also te residual oil even if you wash in a solvent may cause the varnish to lift off. Also good garden furniture will be made from a naturally oily wood which may not like varnish either.
alffly (author) 5 years ago
Thanks both. That's what I figured, but it's nice to get some confirmation. Cheers!
To be honest, I can promise you will not be happy with the results, but you could apply a good oil-based sealer after allowing the object to dry (without oiling) for a year or two. That's your best chance of getting it to stick. Problems? it's never going to be a perfect finish. The table will have discolored during the drying time, Oh, and even with some of the best sealers, you'll probably have to reapply at least every second year anyway. Best bet, keep oiling. It's tedious, sure, but you only do it once a year, Best of all, this finish WILL stick.