And it wasn't until that very moment that I read the super helpful instructions, "I also recommend finishing your boards first, unless of course, you own a sprayer. Painting those tiny gaps is going to be quite tedious otherwise."
Clearly I didn't do that. Awesome.
Good thing my plan was to use my favorite wood finishing product of all time- India Ink. Long time readers (hi mom!) might recall that I used this on the kitchen table I refinished and the outdoor sectional I built for the Screened In Porch.
I buy this magical wood staining juice at Dick Blick Art Supply, and the big quart sized bottle is just $13. India Ink will give you a jet black finish in just two coats, rather than having to apply 5 or more coats of a dark stain to achieve the color. But the even bigger benefit for me in this little snafu I got myself in, is that India Ink is the consistency of water. It goes on thin and immediately soaks into the wood, so you don't have to worry about brush strokes, bubbles or flaws. I just used a cheapo foam brush and it was pretty easy to jam it into all the little cracks and seams in my piece.
After coat number one you can see there were still some lighter parts in the wood, including all my little "invisible" nail holes. I also clearly just missed a few spots. Oops.
It still looks a little flat though- huh? That's where the top coat comes in. While I fully intend to make a cover for this piece, let's be real and admit that I'll forget to cover it up during more than one rainstorm in it's lifetime. Since I didn't spring for the more expensive cedar or green treated wood that holds up to the elements better, I knew I was going to have to use a good quality top coat to protect it. Enter Spar Varnish.
I found this marine grade wood coating at Lowes, and I figured if it could protect the wood on boats which are always in the water, it would help my lounger avoid damage from the occasional shower. I bought the clear gloss to give my black piece a modern shine. The varnish went on thin and milky white, a lot like a water based poly, but with far less of those pesky bubbles that plague polyurethane. I thought it was really easy to use.
Easy, yes. Quick, no.
That's because I had to apply 4 coats of this stuff, to both the underside and topside of my lounger. Each coat took about an hour, since I had so much surface area to cover, and I had to be a lot more careful than I was with the India Ink with this stuff to avoid drips and runs. So by far the longest part of this project was the 5 days I spent applying varnish. Good news- it was totally worth it. Here's the lounger, slightly dull with 2 coats of India Ink:
And here she is all glossy and pretty with 4 coats of marine varnish:
That's as sexy as a piece of furniture can get, no? Probably not all that comfortable yet though. Don't worry- I have big plans for a cushion on this piece. I'll be relaxing on it and drinking a mojito in no time. Or sitting on it while I build another project. I can't help it guys, I'm not well.