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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We had a large (6') tiki carved for us out of an American Elm that we had to remove. See pictures here. I'd like to protect the wood from splitting and water (I've already coated the base with copper naphthenate).

Any suggestions for the right oil to use? Tung / teak / Danish / rosewood / etc? Or something else entirely? This sculpture will be outside year round in the SF Bay Area.
 

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How long has it been dead? Do you think it has stabilized?
If it has, protection from moisture would be most beneficial.
You might look at products from these folks. http://www.nam.sikkens.com/index-english.cfm
We've used their products on decks and mountain cabins with great success. 100% moisture proof for 4 years (so far) and UV tolerant.
A less expensive route would be "Shingle oil", by Chevron. But it requires reapplication more frequently.
Please bear in mind, the above suggestions have been used on flat work that has been kiln dried. However, They should work well for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Gene: It was cut down around October 2009. I don't think it's fully dried out yet.

Woody: Why a lacquer over an oil?
 

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any oil will work, but you must let it cure completely, a couple of weeks perhaps. To my knowledge,and i may be wrong, the differences in the oil is the amount of solvent mixed with the oil. Some may cure quicker and some may change the color of the wood more. The oil will help with moisture control (swelling and shrinking). Then if you want more protection you can hit it with spar varnish.Spar varnish is made with resins that will cure softer than regular varnishes and will flex as the wood swells and shrinks
 

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Gene: It was cut down around October 2009. I don't think it's fully dried out yet.
If the tree was alive when it was cut, it's probably not dry yet. The general rule is 1 year for each inch of thickness. YMMV.
In that case, I would definitely go with one of my earlier suggestions.
Either product soaks in well and is easily re coated as necessary due to shrinkage/cracking. Both will offer protection from the weather. Whatever you use, I wouldn't coat the bottom, in order to allow moisture to escape.
Ideally, you'd want to keep the bottom clear and dry, too. Not handy for displaying it, though,:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Based on various suggestions (here and elsewhere), I added a few coats of tung oil (real, not synthetic) product (Waterlox, shown in the Flickr set, basically tung oil with mineral spirits, ester gum, phenolic resin and a bit of linseed oil) since it would accommodate expansion and contraction of the wood. I expect to add a coat every year.

The current issue is what (if anything) to do about the mold / mildew that has accumulated over the winter (see the last three photos). I actually don't mind the discoloration that much--some natural weathering is expected. I just want to make sure that the wood survives for years to come.

Does the mold / mildew actually damage the wood, or is it purely an aesthetic issue? Anything I can or should do?
 

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Based on various suggestions (here and elsewhere), I added a few coats of tung oil (real, not synthetic) product (Waterlox, shown in the Flickr set, basically tung oil with mineral spirits, ester gum, phenolic resin and a bit of linseed oil) since it would accommodate expansion and contraction of the wood. I expect to add a coat every year.

The current issue is what (if anything) to do about the mold / mildew that has accumulated over the winter (see the last three photos). I actually don't mind the discoloration that much--some natural weathering is expected. I just want to make sure that the wood survives for years to come.

Does the mold / mildew actually damage the wood, or is it purely an aesthetic issue? Anything I can or should do?
putting a lacquer or any film finish on that pc would be a big mistake
mildew/mold is a living fungus, and if let go will grow into the pours of the wood and wrot it from the inside. here is a great recipe for an outdoor varnish finish.
Used on wooden decks for schooners, fishing boats, and porch decks. Makes for an amber finish. To customize the mixture, add more pine tar for a darker color or add less for a lighter color. Allow more drying time for the darker mixture.

* Covers approximately 100 square feet.

Turpentine 1 qt
Boiled Linseed Oil 1 qt
Pine Tar 1/2 pt
Japan Drier 1/2 pt
 
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