Epoxy resin makes a great inlay material because it allows you to create delicat…

Epoxy resin makes a great inlay material because it allows you to create delicat…

Epoxy resin makes a great inlay material because it allows you to create delicate, complicated patterns without having to cut and match delicate, complicated inlay pieces. Here, Christopher Moore explains how to use resin to create stunning inlay and expand your design horizon. From issue #267—Mar/Apr 2018

In the world of furniture production, there are companies that specialize in indoor furniture, outdoor furniture and between the two there is a limited amount of crossing. Outdoor furniture is built differently than indoor variants, and while you can always use outdoor furniture inside, the opposite is not always the case. If you are discussing moving some furniture outdoors for a party or a much longer time, know what is going and should not be used, and what can be transferred to better manage the elements.

Be a material girl:
You don't have to be Madonna to figure out that some materials are better suited for outdoor use than others, depending on the type of furniture. Outdoor material must be robust enough to withstand variation temperatures, some moisture from rain, dew etc. and humidity.

Common sense dictates that there are certain materials that should never be taken out, unless you are absolutely sure that the weather will be perfect. For example, carpets are a disaster when it gets wet. It takes forever to dry, and can mold, and it also gets really stiff when it is cold. This is why carpets that are not intended for the outside should be inside. Similarly, materials such as suede, fleece and dry material should also not be removed. Companies produce pillow and deep seat pieces that mimic the feel of more luxurious materials, but are completely waterproof.

Then there are some parts that can go outdoors during limited periods before you need to worry. Wicker, for example, but technically considered outdoor furniture, is not so strong and much better in the sun rooms and away from prolonged exposure to sun and rain. Then there are things like thin ceramics, ceramic and plastic parts that are waterproof but not suitable as furniture, outdoors or in. They are not strong to cope with extreme temperature changes or strong, bad weather. Untreated metal is also okay to get wet for short periods, but for much longer than that and you risk to rust.

Then there are the materials that are intended to be used as outdoor furniture. Outdoor material is particularly strengthened but still looks visually nice. Examples of tables, chairs, planting machines and more can be seen in the following ways: treated wood and hardwood, galvanized metal, powder-coated metal (aluminum, wrought iron, zinc hardware), stone and cement (such as tables, benches and umbrella stands), marble, clay and reinforced ceramics (as planting pots), plastic resin plastic and waterproof nylon (used in canopies and as pillows).

This list just starts scratching the surface of the many materials that make up our lives. In summary, use your best judgment if something can go outdoors. Take into account weather patterns. If it is really nice, you can be more mild about what you take out as furniture. Outdoor conditions can change quickly, so watch it.

Treatment of wood
The best thing you can reuse for use as indoor furniture / outdoor furniture is wood. It's not harder than adding a little paint and it can save you from unnecessarily buying all new furniture. To begin with, take a look at the wood that you are working on. Stay away from old wood that is in poor condition, as it will deteriorate at an even faster pace once you have taken you outside. Then check what kind of wood you have. Some of the naturally stronger forests, such as teak, pine, cedar and cypress, are good on the outside. These forests are already strong and durable on their own and require some extra protection. More sensitive forests will require extra sealants and even then they will probably not be as long out as hardwood.

To start the weather insulation process, you need to cover wood with a pale-resistant, UV-resistant finish. Remove any paint that is already on your furniture. No matter which finish is on, it is probably intended for the inside, and while it gives furniture a high gloss, it is not the right type of paint to protect it from moisture and outdoor elements. After the surface is smooth, even and clean, you can apply a sealant, usually an oil-based varnish, unless you work with a wood that produces your own oils, such as teak and cedar furniture. Outdoor atmospheric elements will dry out wood faster than furniture that is kept indoors, so it is important to protect the surface and the heart from cracking, roting and twisting. When it's done, you're good to go. From then on, simply oil and clean your wooden furniture once a year twice to keep it healthy.