I have built four oak wine barrel chairs that will be outdoors in a dry, high-UV climate. I see other chairs in our climate that the poly finish cracks and doesn't last long.

I would like to put on an oil finish (Danish or tung) for the health of the wood but don't want to be doing it monthly.

Can I put poly over oil if I change my mind? Any suggestions on best finish for my situation?

  • mostly a duplicate of this question woodworking.stackexchange.com/questions/1520/…, but the question of putting poly/new finish over oil might make it unique enough...?
    – aaron
    Jul 11, 2018 at 19:00
  • Related: woodworking.stackexchange.com/q/7983/5572
    – user5572
    Nov 16, 2018 at 20:05
  • This question feels like a duplicate. We have some very good answers related to finishes suitable for the outdoors. Maybe the answer here can be merged into one of those?
    – user5572
    Dec 11, 2018 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


UV exposure is best dealt with using something with UV inhibitors: paint, stain, or marine spar varnish. Oil finish will not last long at all, ie it will require frequent renewing (monthly in a sunny climate seems about right!). Do not use regular poly, it will degrade and be very unsightly. However, you CAN put spar varnish directly over oil if you change your mind (at that point the oil will basically be gone, or soon enough, anyway). same goes for oil-based stain. Paint can be applied also, but do a spot check of adhesion with the right primer... eg, latex paint won't adhere to a newly oiled surface.

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