Guild of Oregon Woodworkers

7634 SW 34th Avenue Portland, OR 97219

Waterproof / Water resistant sealant

  • 20 Feb 2014 3:30 PM
    Message # 1502512
    Deleted user
    Waterproof finishing was brought up in last night's meeting. I had to make sure I remembered the additive before bringing it in..

    For a short time I read everything I could on more natural finishing. And some people suggest a 20-25% turpentine, 75-80% boiled beeswax for a waterproof finish. (I considered using a natural cold pressed oil, but have not yet.)

    I can't personally say if it would need continued application, or if it would waterPROOF, such as in standing water. But logically it should help to make a piece water resistant.

    Has anyone else tried using this in Oregon weather?
  • 06 Mar 2014 3:58 PM
    Reply # 1512476 on 1502512
    HI Jerod, THis is Julie Niemeyer. Talk to Jim Madaras. He has an outdoor finish that I cannot remember the name but I plan on trying it out on some mahogany chairs that will be outdoors. He uses it commercially and it is from Texas but I've seen his chairs and they are beautiful
  • 29 Mar 2014 10:51 AM
    Reply # 1527539 on 1502512
    Hi all thanks for the ideas here.

    I built a cabinet for plants this past summer that has unfortunately succumbed to the Oregon weather somewhat.  

    Here are some pictures.  

    I used Sealfin Aquaspar for most surfaces and System 3 two-part epoxy in areas where I thought there would be standing water (basically the horizontal surfaces). 

    The epoxy surfaces look good except where water has seeped under.  The epoxy was an incredible pain to apply: the wood off-gasses upon application -- particularly in the middle of the day when it's warm -- and forms lots of bubbles.  Anything that touched the epoxy could not be cleaned and had to be disposable -- generated lots of waste.  However, the surface seems to be truly sealed after just a couple of coats.

    The Sealfin was easy to apply but has allowed water through particularly in areas of heavy grain.  I applied at least four coats to most surfaces, but that just wasn't enough. 

    I think most of my problems came at the joints: water seems to have seeped in.  I tried really hard to seal these with finish, dripping and forcing the finish in there, but again it's not sealed.

    Any ideas on cleaning this up (I imagine impossible) or even just what to do better next time?  

    Thanks!
  • 04 Apr 2014 9:36 AM
    Reply # 1531406 on 1502512
    Jeffrey Zens (Administrator)
    The notion of a practical, "waterproof" finish is pretty much a fallacy.  Any finish that is exposed to the elements is going to degrade; the only question is how quickly.  That is why wood that is exposed to water is constantly being refinished.  Consider high-end yachts, wooden trim on cruise ships, wooden doors, and so on. 

    There are two reasonably practical solutions to this dilemma.  The first is to use a wood that is naturally rot-resistant (white oak, teak, mahogany, and so on), don't finish it at all,  and accept that it will weather to a silver-grey color over time.  The other option is to use a finish that is reasonably easy to renew, and then resign yourself to periodic refinishing as needed to preserve the look of the wood.  Even in the second case, using the appropriate wood is really important.
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