I read on another build thread where someone used aluthane. It looked like good stuff so I decided to bite. Well, today I applied the aluthane. So far I am impressed. The consistency is somewhere between stain and paint. I rolled it on and it both penetrated and coated the wood. It was very easy to work with however you will need a respirator. It is potent stuff. Also, wear gloves. If it gets on your hands they will be sealed really well :). The instructions mention that if you open it and reseal it the top will get stuck. They don't lie. It took 30 minutes to get the top off. The true test will be how it stands up to the elements. So far so good.