Finish for outdoor stain painted ash artwork

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Forum topic by CMcGNJ posted 08-14-2020 01:51 PM 150 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 38 days

08-14-2020 01:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: exterior finish for stain painted ash art

Hello Everyone!

I’m new here and have more of an art than a wood background, but I would really appreciate everyone’s expertise on a conundrum I’m having!

Our local arts council has commissioned artists such as myself to paint columns cut from dried, recovered ash trees (that have been cut down because of the Ash Borer Beatle). The columns were dried out rough cut, so I spent quite a bit of time sanding mine down until it was smooth and the natural color of the wood was apparent. Then, I used “Ecos Craft Stains” (which are water based and have no VOCs) to paint bees on the column (my column will support a bee hotel that will be mounted on the top).

The problem I’m having now is deciding on a finish. I want to keep the natural look of the wood, while preserving the stains I’ve painted. I don’t want something that will look like a plastic film on the surface and/or flake off after a few years.

I’m leaning towards using oils. I tested Watco Danish oil—although it did darken the ash a bit, it is compatible with the Ecos stains. But I know Watco Danish isn’t UV safe, so I’m not sure how the wood or the stain would look when sunbleached…maybe it would look weathered and cool. Or maybe not.

What are folks thoughts on this?

(BTW, the bottom of the column that will go in the ground will be treated with something to preserve it—I don’t need to worry about that piece. And the top, which is pine, will be primed and painted with exterior acrylic paint).

1 reply so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2655 posts in 1011 days

#1 posted 08-14-2020 02:41 PM

my personal opinion would be to leave the post un-coated since it will obviously
be out in the weather for its entire life.
I agree with any of the parts that will be painted with exterior acrylic (30 year house paint).
any clear product you put on it will be a maintenance item. (even with marine spar varnish).
and if that maintenance is not performed on a regular basis, the finish
will fail and your project will look . . . . well, unprofessional.
totally your call.
I am not familiar with ash wood other than that it is porous and full of little canals that can
carry moisture from one end to the other.
so the part that goes into the ground must be heavily sealed with something that can penetrate
the fibers deeply.
or ~ have something that is pressure treated (or concrete) that will go below ground and attach
to your post with galvanized fasteners. (that are readily available at your Box Store).
something similar to these gadgets that can be pushed into firmly packed ground or a poured concrete footing.


-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

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