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Free Little Library Finish Question

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Forum topic by Snowyrange posted 02-18-2020 01:13 AM 218 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Snowyrange

15 posts in 1217 days


02-18-2020 01:13 AM

Good Afternoon,
I need a suggestion on what type of finish to put on this outdoor project. The last free little library I built I used a water based Varathane Spar in crystal clear satin. But the old fence I’m using came out kinda cloudy.

I’m open to suggestions. Maybe thin the water based spar to have it soak in better vs drying on the surface (causing the cloudy appearance). Maybe switching to an oil? I do want to maintain the “old barn” look but protect it for a decade.
There’s also a chance I put on one too many coats?
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9 replies so far

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SMP

1889 posts in 585 days


#1 posted 02-18-2020 02:39 AM

Imo, protecting it for a decade without paint is wishful dreaming, unless you don’t mind reapplying an oil finish every year.

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Snowyrange

15 posts in 1217 days


#2 posted 02-18-2020 03:26 AM

I hear you. It’s a gift and I won’t be gifting the maintenance. Hoping to keep the upkeep to a minimum.

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SMP

1889 posts in 585 days


#3 posted 02-18-2020 03:35 AM

I don’t know how you attached the roof, but personally I would take the roof back off, tar paper the underside, and leave it unfinished. Free to weather naturally as it has, but the tar paper to provide rain protection for books. In the future I would actually shingle the roof over tar paper(have done this for girl scout projects)

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Snowyrange

15 posts in 1217 days


#4 posted 02-18-2020 03:56 AM

I did tar paper and only penetrated the paper and the end “truss.” I’m feeling a little less than confident that would keep out the water, but in theory….

I could go Thompson’s water seal but that will probably darken the wood up significantly.
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SMP

1889 posts in 585 days


#5 posted 02-18-2020 04:06 AM

Personally I think you are good. BUT, if you are still unsure, go buy one of those waterproofing sprays. The big box stores have several brands now. One is same company as flex tape, and a couple others. I used one of the early ones on some fountains I made out of clay pots. Also auto store “rubberized undercoating “ works well, even to hold water in without leaking outdoors for years. Spray that on the inside of the roof, or inside the whole thing for that matter.

This is the one my nearest home store carries:
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Flex-Seal-14-fl-oz-Clear-Aerosol-Spray-Rubberized-Coating/50299807

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therealSteveN

5185 posts in 1254 days


#6 posted 02-18-2020 04:32 AM

Not sure what to suggest to you for a library use, but as a younger Man I was several times a year active in making Wood duck boxes for Ducks Unlimited.

https://www.ducks.org/conservation/waterfowl-research-science/wood-duck-boxes

The idea was to make a box that would survive as many years as possible, with little or nothing in the way of maintenance. We did have crews who would go to the boxes in Late Winter, and pull out any and all dirt, twigs, and whatever the ducks had drug inside to make nests, and usually found after the ducks had nested, and gone, that other birds used them as well, so sometimes there was quite an accumulation. This “stuff” would draw, and hold moisture, and getting rid of it, and allowing the boxes to air dry a few weeks went a long way toward their survival. It wasn’t rare to get 15 to 20 years from each Cedar box, with absolutely NO finish, just letting them weather.

Sometimes we would get ahead of ourselves, and try tar paper, and even sheet aluminum, or tin, to try to stop the flow of water, and mostly we found they evidently contributed to the destruction, as some of these only last 2 to 5 years. I think they actually trapped water, and increased rot.

I believe the biggest key was that we drilled out several weep holes in the bottom. Nothing big enough that anything would fall out, just enough that standing water after after a rain was able to get out.

Not sure how all of that could work, if you were trying to put books inside? I think if it were me, I’d leave the finish off, let the sides weather, and totally cover the top with a tin roof, aluminum, whatever, just to keep the water from ever getting in, like a metal roof on a barn. Place it outside, not under the wood. I know under the wood didn’t work so well.

-- Think safe, be safe

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Snowyrange

15 posts in 1217 days


#7 posted 02-18-2020 04:51 AM

Right on. I’m looking for some old galvanized barn tin. It’s around. These were just scraps sitting in my shop from some old fence the neighbor was trashing. Tin is the way to go for sure.
Thanks for the advice.

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SMP

1889 posts in 585 days


#8 posted 02-18-2020 05:27 AM

Tin or patinad copper would look really cool.

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Esko Lehtovaara

88 posts in 2425 days


#9 posted 02-18-2020 06:58 AM

If your not in a hurry I would suggest to first impregnate it with linseedoil for one week and then “close” the surface with varnish. Be carefull with the endgrain.

-- Tiny-e. Want to see more go to [email protected]

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