How do I weatherproof this table?
June 17, 2010 7:41 PM   Subscribe

The soon-to-be Mrs. has this lovely wood table she's decorated with glass beads, unfortunately the table is entirely too huge to fit comfortable into our living space. I think that the table would work fantastically as outdoor furniture, however the fierce Floridian elements would quickly destroy it. How do I weatherproof this table?

More details, the table is approximately 48" x 30" x 24", and is made of wood and veneer. The glass beads are glued to the table.
My initial thought would be to encase the table in clear resin? Is that even possible? Any tips/advice/leads are greatly appreciated.
posted by nulledge to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total)
Polyurathane? Give it two or three layers with an air gun, and that ought to seal it up nicely.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:13 PM on June 17, 2010

You could encase (this TRULY FABULOUS) table (OMG I LOVE IT!) in a synthetic resin but it would then weigh about 40000 pounds and also the process would most likely take years off your life. Polyurethane, yes... but I'm concerned about it taking on water over time. I think I would do a two part process: a clear marine-grade polyester resin for the top? (Test it! Make sure it dries totally transparent, and has UV whatnots, because most resins yellow extremely.) Also wear a ventilator, seriously.

And then polyurethane for the rest of it.

And then let's hope it survives hurricane season this year.

posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:28 PM on June 17, 2010

Wow, that's an awesome table. Your idea of casting it into a block of clear resin seems like the best bet to me, though I guess you'd want to get info on how resin weathers.

Basic Resin Casting
posted by XMLicious at 8:32 PM on June 17, 2010

That's a seriously gorgeous table. If it was me, i'd respect the beauty of the craft as is, and not funk around with resin, polyurethane, etc. If it truly doesn't fit into your living space, I'd sell it, or store it for a time when it will.

(But actually, what I'd probably do would be to rearrange the furniture again and again until it fits! Tell your fiance she's done a beautiful job!)
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:36 PM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]

Plain spray on finishes aren't going to give you adequate protection. Even if you could get the finish in all the nooks and crannies the beads are going to expand at different rates than the veneer and you'll get cracks in the finish that will let water penetrate and destroy the veneer.

A product like Envirotex would do the job though completely change the look of the table. It pours on/brushes on so it'll flow into all the nooks and crannies. You'd need around a gallon and a half to two gallons.

I can't see anything on their site though about UV resistance which probably means it doesn't have any. They do have a similiar product called EX-74 that is UV resistant.
posted by Mitheral at 8:45 PM on June 17, 2010

omg, you're doing it wrong! DO NOT try to coat the glass with any kind of varnish or is inherently much, much more durable (and UV/sun-proof) than any of those a year or two that's just gonna look like hell. what you need to protect is the wood and this with grout (like between the tiles in your bathroom). any professional tile installer can do this for you, and it's generally a service that's surprisingly inexpensive (figure around $100-200). it will change the look of the table by filling the space between the beads, but it will still be nice and bumpy... ask or google around and you'll find that there are a bunch of groovy decorative options...such as colored grout, and even sparkly glitter grout (which i saw used on a beautiful fireplace made from smooth black river's not like giant craft glitter...more like fine make-up glitter...really gorgeous stuff)

that is an awesome table, btw...
posted by sexyrobot at 10:43 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

(you might even try grouting it yourself...look on youtube, i'm sure there's instructions...IIRC, you just slather it all over and then rub it off the glass/tiles with a rag)
posted by sexyrobot at 10:47 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Grout is not water proof, even if treated with sealers. It'll hold moisture against the veneer and destroy it.
posted by Mitheral at 11:07 PM on June 17, 2010

Get a bigger living space.

Seriously. That table is wonderful.
posted by SLC Mom at 11:52 PM on June 17, 2010

I don't think the table can be weather-proofed without fundamentally changing its design. I would not change it, it's perfect.

(Your fiancé should start a glass-table business. She'd get rich quickly and you could move to a bigger apartment.)
posted by The Toad at 12:55 AM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm with The Toad. And I would love to see the same style in a bedhead.
posted by Wantok at 12:59 AM on June 18, 2010

nthing that there's not much you can do to make this table endure the Floridian rain, humidity and sun over the long term, and even the things you could do to protect in the short run would look bad. Keep it indoors somewhere, or give / sell it to someone who will.
posted by jon1270 at 3:27 AM on June 18, 2010

Make room for that artwork!
posted by Chipmazing at 7:22 AM on June 18, 2010

Seconding grout. Definitely not resin! Grout will go a long way in protecting the table from the elements, providing it's done correctly. Here's a (not really that great) tutorial for glass pebble/marble mosaics, but a plethora of tutorials for grouting come up upon Googling.
posted by hecho de la basura at 8:31 AM on June 18, 2010

You can do the resin so it doesn't look too weird. I would go to your nearest woodworking store (or some art stores) and get the huge thing of two part epoxy resin. You mix it up then either pour or squirt it over, aiming to get a couple of thin even coats. It dries pretty quickly so work in small patches. Epoxy resin is a weird wonderful little miracle to me, I would of course try my technique on something less precious till I got it just right. I would also put it up on stilts or somehow suspend it so the excess resin can drip off rather than creating bizarre little puddle feet. I would still try to keep it out of direct sun, the resin can yellow over time, which may or may not add an interesting depth to it.
posted by stormygrey at 9:08 AM on June 18, 2010

Grout will provide a distinctly different look, plus it'll let water get up in there and your veneer will start to warp. I am afraid the whole intergrity of the piece would be lost going that route.
posted by stormygrey at 9:16 AM on June 18, 2010

I think we're all in agreement now. The only solution is to fit it in the house. Make it happen! Throw out the bed!

And then rent your partner a shop where she can sell such creations. Retail space is cheap in Florida!
posted by RJ Reynolds at 10:21 AM on June 18, 2010

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