Trials and errors in Illinois

Sometimes, we cross our fingers and give something a try. We’re hopeful that it will work, but not quite sure how it might turn out. That’s the case in many aspects of life, but especially DIY. Sarah in Illinois is back today to report on the results of two experiments.

There have been a few projects in the past that I have posted about and said that I would report back how they turned out. I thought I’d report back on two of them today.

The most recent was the storage tomatoes. You can see the process I used here. But unfortunately, it didn’t work at all. Two weeks after I put them away, they looked like this:

My best guess is that the garage that I stored them in was too warm. Next year I plan to try again but find a cooler storage spot. I may also try another variety like Longkeeper.

My second follow-up is for the table that we refinished for the deck.

I said in my original post that the epoxy we used stated that it wasn’t for outdoor use, but we chose to use it anyway.

They are a few small issues that popped up after a summer of outdoor use.

There are small cracks appeared in the epoxy which allowed moisture to sleep down underneath.

Also something that sat on the table, possibly a pot of plants, held moisture against the epoxy and made a cloudy ring where it should be clear.

I wouldn’t consider this a complete failure for the project, but it tells me that the finish won’t hold out as long as I hoped. My plan is to see how it looks after using it again next summer then possibly trying a different method to coat the wood.

So unfortunately, both trials didn’t go perfectly, but that is why they were truly experiments for me. Most things in life are trial and error. The best thing to do is learn from it and move on.

That’s about the only choice, Sarah! I’m sure these results are a bit disappointing, but they are absolutely learning experiences.

I have to say I’m bummed about the tomatoes and the table for you. We lost a bunch of our favourite potatoes this year just a couple of weeks after we put them in storage. There wasn’t anything to do but move on, but it was frustrating that we’d had such a good harvest and then so many didn’t keep–and especially that it was our favourite variety that was hit. Also, the last time you shared that table, it was so shiny! 😦

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8 thoughts on “Trials and errors in Illinois

  1. Even if outdoor rated epoxy was used, failure may have occurred. Wood, when exposed to outdoor moisture and temperature fluctuations, will expand and contract. This will cause most any finish to fail. Note the failure appears along the joint lines in the wood table. I’m not sure what to recommend. One thought is to strip the top down to raw wood, stain and then finish with several coats of a good marine spar varnish. Work the varnish into the seams. Then let the table do it’s thing when exposed to the elements. Varnish will fail over time. Before it gets bad, lightly sand and finish with a coat of varnish. Good luck.

    • You make a very good point, Howard. I am probably dealing with a bigger issue than using the correct epoxy. And that makes sense that the wood would expand and contract. I may have to rethink my whole approach.

    • In this case the wood top movement is going to be a problem regardless of finish used. Epoxy forms a thick solid layer over the wood. The movement causes linear cracks along the seams allowing moisture. Also the epoxy may de-laminate from the wood allowing moisture to invade between the layers. Varnish will penetrate the wood making separation less likely. Yes, cracks may develop along the seams, but moisture should be less invasive. Again, good luck.

    • Chris, I am not giving up completely. It works for some people. And I want to avoid eating grocery store tomatoes as long as I can! 😉

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