Outside locus sign - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-06-2017, 06:23 AM Thread Starter
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I purchased a farm which had lots of locus trees which needed to be felled. Out of those locus trees I decided to make a sign for our farm which was going to be seen from the road. I want to keep the original grain and everything. No paint, no stain but I need something to protect the wood from the elements. One thing that is already starting to happen is mold and that is only after 5 weeks or so of it being out.

I looked up boiled and raw linseed oil and found they were good for protection from elements but attracted mold. Already have that problem.

Did a bit of searching and found people saying acrylic waterborne would be good too.

Also saw enamel spray but couldnt see if it would protect the wood from mold or if there were any negatives to using it.

A friend recommended sparathane. Thoughts?

Ive used polyurethane before. Not good for outside use.

Someone else recommended copper coat but it seems that "Freshly applied COPPERCOAT dries to a rich copper brown. After immersion COPPERCOAT oxidizes to a dark, verdigris green color."

Looked at creocoat as well but it seems that creocoat inparts a dark color when it dries as well. Can anyone verify this?

What would be the best solution which wouldnt attract mold, last a reasonably long time, doesnt yellow from UV over time and helps to keep the wood from turning ash color?

Last edited by mystang89; 11-06-2017 at 06:27 AM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-06-2017, 08:09 AM
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Linseed oil isn't good to protect wood. It works alright for something that gets wet once and a while and is dried off but is terrible for something outdoors 24/7.

I think what you mean about sparathane is varathane. Most of what Varathane sells is interior finishes however they do sell a spar urethane which you could use but you would have to strip the linseed oil off first as well as any other product you might use. When using a film finish outdoors a spar varnish or urethane is normally used. A spar is made flexible enough to expand and contract with the weather without cracking. Polyurethane dries too hard to deal with the wood expanding.

Coppercoat is more or less paint. It's made to go underground. I'm not sure how it would take to being in the direct sun. The sun is what hurts most finishes.

Creocoat also is made to go underground or ground contact. I think it may work but is something you would have to recoat from time to time to keep the appearance. It would probably take the appearance and smell of telephone poles.

You could do what you originally attempted to do using an oil finish with tung oil. It would need to be 100% tung oil and not tung oil finish. Tung oil was originally used to finish the hulls of boats. You still would need to clean the linseed oil off but that could be done with a little paint stripper and a power washer.
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-06-2017, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. Just to clarify, I haven't put anything on the wood as of yet, a bit of age has taught me to research before acting lol.

It sounds like spar urethane is more of a permanent solution but I like tung oil. I'm not afraid of doing the work to get the spar urethane on the wood but the tung oil is more natural and seems to work well even if not as long lasting.

Do I have it right?
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-06-2017, 04:19 PM
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If you can still buy it, Penta is a wood preservative. (Pentachlorophenol)
Available at a good paint supply. Paint on the wood with a brush. Goes on clear.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-06-2017, 04:24 PM
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By the way, I have spent many dollars and many, many hours cutting and poisoning Locust trees.
The thorns can be 5 long.
Am I thinking about the same thing as your Locus?

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #6 of 11 Old 11-06-2017, 04:28 PM
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black locust is so durable that it can last decades without any treatment. Black locust fence posts are often good for 60 years here in the humid midatlantic. Honey locust is about worthless in outdoor use. Treated or not. Honey locust is covered in inch and a half to two inch long thorns that look like nails sticking out of the tree. Black locust has thorns like roses and is nasty enough. Honey locust has THORNS and many refuse to do anything except burn them down.
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-06-2017, 04:48 PM
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Tung oil can be a very durable finish but you can't just put one coat on and call it done. You have to apply enough coats that it appears to have a thin finish on it. The thing to do is brush enough oil on it keeping it wet with the finish adding to the dry spots for about ten or fifteen minutes and wipe off the excess. Then since tung oil is a slow drying finish wait about a week in warm weather and apply another thin coat and let it dry. Depending on the wood this may be enough but if it looks dry after it dries the next week do it again as many times as it takes. I've never finished locus before so I can't say how many coats it would take.

If you choose to use a spar varnish and want the best use Epifane's spar varnish. It's made to use for the deck of a boat. It's sold at marine suppliers. The worst spar that I know of is Minwax Helmsman. One that is about mid range would be Cabot spar varnish. It's at least a marine grade spar. With a spar you can just coat the sign like paint and let it dry. If it's cold where you are you might give it a couple weeks between coats. Most of these finishes say not to use below 50 degrees. The finish will work in cold weather but takes a great deal longer to dry and will stay sticky for a long time so at least do it on a day when it's not windy. It may take 24 hours before dry to touch and on a windy day the finish might get full of dirt.
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-07-2017, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, great info everyone. So yes. I have both those types of locus on my property. Fortunately the majority of the trees are black locus and this is what the sign is being made from. The honey locus is supposed to have some kinda large pod with sweet goo inside but I'll be darned if i saw any this fall.

Back to the sign though. From reading what you all have said, I like the tung oil because it's all natural and goes with the theme of the farm but it seems that the marine spar will last longer and might dry a bit faster with the weather getting cold around here.

I'll probably order it online. Doubt my local Ace will have it lol. Also thank you for the suggested products to use!
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-07-2017, 09:51 AM
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since wood expands and contracts relative to moisture, it is nearly impossible to obtain a seal that lasts without a need for re-applying the product periodically. the more it is exposed to the weather, of course the worse it will be.


so plan on occasional maintenance, or, let it age.
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post #10 of 11 Old 12-03-2017, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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So I decided to just spar urethane water based. It says it's superior uv protection, mold & mildew resistant and seals out water. It specifically states that it is for exterior use.

Today I went outside and there was coat on my sign so I wiped it off. It took some of the urethane with it! This is after 3 coats.

Sometimes PLEASE tell me what's going on?!
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post #11 of 11 Old 12-03-2017, 10:25 AM
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Use a fence paint. I have used it on fences, sheds, and gates. No Problems.
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