Mailport January 2011 Issue

Mailport: January 2011

DIY Wood Finish Test

 I just downloaded the December 2009 Exterior Wood Finish Exposure Test results. My special interest is in the single-part varnishes comparisons.

I’m doing my own testing on panels of white oak and cedar, which includes a comparison of McCloskey’s Man O War varnish (budget) with Epifanes Clear High Gloss (top quality), over different undercoatings. Unlike your test, I’ve applied the same number of varnish coats. I have started exposing my limited test panels to the weather here in Portland, Ore., and I’m updating the progress monthly online at

My impressions so far (the panels have been exposed since Sept. 24, 2010) on the coatings on the white oak: I can tell no differences between the two varnishes. The Cetol finish looks stable. The straight tung oil also seems stable, though it’s a more matte finish. There is no black staining.

On the Port Orford cedar: The tung oil is definitely the best after 2½ months. The linseed oil is showing dry spots. The Thompsons’ Water Seal looks dry; however, water still beads on the TWS area and sheets more on the oil areas.

My plan is to let it go through the winter and then scrub the panels with a Scotch Brite pad and then re-coat.


Mark Anderson
Portland, Ore.

Photo courtesy of Mark Anderson

Reader Mark Anderson is conducting his own test of exterior wood finishes. His panels (above) are made of white oak and cedar. For the latest on the PS test see the accompanying January 2011 article.

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