Applying a wax coating is foolproof, and though it’s not thick like a varnish intended to prevent dings in the surface, it will help to protect your table from inevitable water rings, spills, and rainfall all summer long. Maintain a wooden outdoor table properly, and it will serve you well for years.
There are several methods that work well for application: massaging it across the surface with a rag is preferred for finer furniture, but for a raw wood outdoor picnic table, a putty knife and an old toothbrush make for easy and efficient wax application. Begin the process by using the toothbrush to apply wax in all of the surface gaps on the table.
Use the putty knife to apply the wax against the grain. The knife makes it easier to compress wax into any cracks and knots in the wood surface, and when you’re able to prevent water from getting into the knots, you immediately help the longevity of the finished surface. Once the wax has been applied against the grain, smooth away excess wax by scraping with the grain. Continue over the surface of the entire table, and over the legs as well.
Upon application, the wax will leave the table feeling tacky. As the wax hardens over the surface, you may see the surface of the table getting hazy. After several hours when the table begins to feel smooth and not sticky, use a dry cloth to buff the surface. The wax requires no additional dry time, it will immediately begin to repel moisture, and is ready for summertime picnicking! Reapply the wax each year, and with heavy use, reapply mid-summer to ensure surface durability.