I bought my significant other a nice pair of unfinished adirondack chairs for the yard and stained them Federal Blue with a Cabot acrylic stain and they look great. The color is exactly what she wanted, but she doesn't like the "feel" of the chairs, says they feel like a chalkboard! argh!! I promised to "fix" them but I'm torn about whether I should cover the stain with a clear exterior varnish, or simply paint over the stain with a semi-gloss paint. I cringe at the thought of painting and completely covering the wood grain, knots, etc, but I'll do whatever works for her. My concern about the varnish is that I'm afraid it may yellow and crack and not hold up nearly as long as paint. Any Suggestions?
Before you go through all that could it just be the grain raise that is bothering her? What you could try doing is go over the chairs with some fine steel wool or sandpaper and see how that feels. If that is acceptable to her, I would just give everything a sanding and apply another coat. If that isn't smooth enough than you could certainly topcoat with an exterior poly or varnish. They will change the color slightly and will have to be reapplied more often, but hey, whatever makes them happy. If that doesn't do it, then maybe a long sleeve shirt for her birthday might be a good idea .