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Sealing Redwood

Discussion in 'Dimensional Signs' started by dlndesign, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. dlndesign

    dlndesign Active Member

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    We are working on a sandblasted sign that will be outside and its going to be redwood. What would be the best way to seal it? Once the sealer is on, is it still going to take one shot, or other paint well? Thanks.
     
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  2. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Go to the hardware store and buy wood sealant. No primer mixed in with it. After the wood is sealed, then you can proceed in any direction you want.

    I'm going to go one step further, here. Unless you're going to use the wood as your finish.... and clear it or shellac it.... why are you sealing it ?? Sealing is generally done with high end plywoods by carpenters when making cabinets and other natural finish pieces. If you're going to paint all the wood in your project a different color, there's no need to seal it.... I'd just prime it with two coats of prime.... then apply your finish and letter coats.
     
  3. dlndesign

    dlndesign Active Member

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    Gino,
    Thanks, I just want to protect it the best way possible. Dont want to come back in a couple of years and see water damage and that sort of thing.
    Thanks.
     
  4. signmeup

    signmeup Major Contributor

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    Why are you painting redwood?
     
  5. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    There are various meanings behind sealing wood. Some of it depends upon which stage you’re in with your sign while other definitions have to do with the true meaning of the word.

    When working with fine woods and cabinetry, you seal wood so it doesn’t drink up so much paint when spraying. Spraying is the best way to give nice smooth finishes to any surface. This sealant closes up all of the porous fibers in the wood, thus allowing nice finishes on furniture and other fine wooden products. The sealant you put on a deck or siding is just a waterproofing stain of some sort. It’s only good for a year or two and then has to be re-applied. The sealing I believe you’re talking about is what most people in this industry refer to as clear coating. It’s usually a poly urethane paint and is applied to bare woods to prolong the life of a sign if bare wood is being exposed. However, you’re still going to have to come back and give it a facelift every few years. No paint or clear coat will protect for long periods of time… especially when you consider what part of the world or country you’re located. All of these paints and clears today breathe at a different rate than your wood and peeling is bound to happen eventually. So, follow up your sign project with a ‘Maintenance Program’ every two years. It’s kind of like an insurance policy for their sign and you get paid to keep it in top notch condition.
     
  6. signmeup

    signmeup Major Contributor

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    Hmm. When I seal wood it's to keep knots and resins from bleeding through my paint topcoats. Shellac is a popular sealer for this application. Kilz make several shellac based sealers that would be as good as any. Another popular choice used to be a metalic silver paint that had aluminum powder in it. Sheffield Bronze made a good one. The theory was that the aluminum would stop the resins migrating through the topcoat. In my experiance nothing will stop the resin eventually getting through the paint. You can definitely slow it down though.

    Gino, I think you are thinking of sanding sealer.....often used on stained wood like for a tabletop to prepare it for it's varnish topcoat. Sanding sealer is usually a quick drying lacquer loaded with stearates for easy sanding. The stearates prevent the fine sandpaper from clogging.

    Still can't imagine the point of sealing redwood. If you're going to paint it use HDU. If it's getting a clear coat you don't need to seal it.
     
  7. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Yeah kinda. What I learned a long time ago was that when you applied paint [and back then latex wasn't even a choice].... the wetness of the paint made the fiber stand up and you had to then sand it between coats until it became flat. This was before MDO or what we originally called duraply. Sometime this would take many coats and an old trick was to use cabinet makers sealant which would completely close off those pores so we could paint without wasting so much paint.

    When you use redwood or certain cedars... if you're using top grade vertical grain all clear heart wood... you won't find many knots at all.... if any. that's the idea behind 'Clear Heart'. There are no knots that far in a tree that's 20' and 30' in diameter.

    Many of our sandblasted redwood signs kept their natural color which we just used penetrol or tung oil with poly uerathane over the top. Many people wanted the look of sandblasted wood with the grains and fins of nice wood, but wanted color stains or solid colors. We've painted many signs over the years with regular enamels with many happy results..... and customers.
     

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