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Forum topic by fuzzface posted 02-23-2017 11:34 PM 647 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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69 posts in 2877 days

02-23-2017 11:34 PM

Hi folks. I’ve volunteered to repair a damaged baptismal font for my church. I’m sure some of the damage is from water dripped during the baptism, but it appears most of the damage is underneath the part that is normally covered with a lid. The wood appears to be red oak.
My first thought was to just sand it down and cover it with a few coats of exterior polyurethane, but I’m wondering if anyone has had some experience with this and would have some better suggestions.
Also, seems it would also be good to come up with a way to leave a gap between the lid and the font so moisture has a way to escape.
Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

-- I'm a LumberJock and I'm OK.............. I sleep all night and I work all day !!

4 replies so far

View mrbob's profile


182 posts in 1575 days

#1 posted 02-23-2017 11:39 PM

I dont have all your answers, but if Red Oak and water dont mate well, RO rots easy with water, funny White Oak weathers well with water.

View CharlesA's profile


3462 posts in 2804 days

#2 posted 02-23-2017 11:50 PM

I’m building my third font at the moment. I also spend a lot of time heling cingregations engage baptism more deeply. Here’s my advice:
1) rout out the hole to a bigger diameter
2) get a bigger bowl, preferably trnansprent (or thin metal that reverberates when water is poured on it)
3) ditch the lid. (Thus solved mg that problem).

Since most folks probably this discussion a bit off topic, private message me if you’d like to discuss it further.

As for the wooD, after you get the color you want, waterborne poly will build up quickly to protect it.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View mrbob's profile


182 posts in 1575 days

#3 posted 02-24-2017 12:15 AM

Also a good oil based Poly will help.

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1926 days

#4 posted 02-24-2017 02:32 AM


I would think that sanding down to bear wood and applying multiple coats of polyurethane or even spar urethane would restore the beauty of the font and prolong its life. I would think 5 coats on the upper and bottom surface would be sufficient. At least 5 coats on the end grain including the center cut-out bowel recess; until the end grain no longer absorbs the finish and it begins to build up.

However, since CharlesA has experience building baptismal fonts, if his advice differs from mine, I will differ to him. While his experience his designing and building very elegant fonts, I am sure he can offer sound advice for the repair/re-vitalization of the font in your care.

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