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Old 05-27-2011, 10:29 PM
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Default Using untreated wood for outside??

Ok, I am making a sign for a friend that will be used outside. Don't really want to use salt treated as I have read and heard that it can mess up your bits and router?? With that said if I use pine or another untreated wood and I do not want to use paint on it, is there a stain or clear coat I can put on it over a stain that will help make it last longer? Thinking poly will just peel and crack in the sun. Do not know a lot about this so want to get opinions of all you wood workers out there.

The one thing to consider here is on the sign I need as much contrast as possible in the lettering so painting could be quite messy as I am far from artistic when it comes to that kind if stuff. Staining I can do but I fear if paint and brushes are involved drips in the lettering etc will not be pretty.
Ideas and thoughts please.
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Old 05-27-2011, 10:45 PM
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The green colored treated lumber you see at Lowes isn't a good choice either-- you need to wear a thick dust mask when you cut it, and it usually isn't very dry--- meaning, it will warp on you as it dries.



You have several options though. Keep in mind that NOTHING stands up to the sun long term, but some work better than others.

1) Use an exterior grade wood, and this may not be too hard to find if you look around. Cypress is wonderful (light colored and very easy to cut, looks like pine). Redwood, red cedar (eastern or western), white oak, mahogany. These all make great exterior wood items. They don't rot easily. Since this is a hanging sign, it may not really be a big issue (can dry back out easily) but woods like pine or poplar will deteriorate quicker in all the rain we get typically.

2) For the clear coat, use Spar varnish. It's specifically made for outdoor use, and it works just like polyurethane. Lowes has a ton of it. Don't waste $$ on aerosol cans, though, they take FOREVER to build up a good coat.

3) For paint, any waterbase latex for exterior will work just fine. Scuff sand the spar a bit if you must paint over it. Never paint over glossy slick spar or poly. Always scuff it up with some 180 or 220 grit sandpaper to give the paints something to grab. GLOSS PAINT will last longer. It seems to make a much more stable seal than low-sheen options like eggshell or matte.



For contrast with the letters, take your power sander and grind the stain OFF of the letters, revealing the lighter colored wood underneath it. Put the spar varnish over the whole thing as usual. Will look nice.


FWIW I am not a paint artist at all but really it's quite doable to hand-paint the letters with paint. I've done it several times with the wooden signs we have on campus here at the Seminary. Just go to AC Moore or Michaels and buy yourself a small pack of various sizes of artist paint brushes. Any of the common middle-range price brands should work, ask someone to help you select them.
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Old 05-27-2011, 10:55 PM
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Thanks Matt, I have pine board which is the white board I got from Lowes. Pretty nice wood but if you think it will rot much quicker than others I will try to get something else. I really do not have a lot of options other than Lowes and really do not feel like spending the money on Oak.

The letters are inset so power sanding the letters is not really an optioon....I don't think, if I am following you correctly. In fact trying to figure out a good way to sand them at all. I have a dremel and may use that.

Sounds good on the spar varnish. I can do that as well as use some stain as a wipe on. I have some left over that I used on my fence. I nice cedar color. I can use it for the board and keep the letters natural color. Then use the spar varnish over the whole thing.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:13 PM
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Lowes should carry cedar. Red oak isn't a good option for exterior use, only white oak, and I doubt that you'll find much white oak at Lowes.

Sanding the inset stuff is a pain. Let me know when you figure that one out lol.

You can still paint the inset letters. You'll get the hang of it pretty quickly .
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:16 PM
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I dunno if you ever used any woodburning guns(iron) or not, but you could leave the wood natural and go all over the cut out letters with a woodburning iron. It will darken the letters up, give it more of a rustic look. As long as the whitewood is painted or covered in spar it will actually last awhile outdoors. I made a small bird house and just painted with a oil based paint(messy i hate oil based) and it lasted about 5 years screwed to the tree befor i started seeing any rot.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:17 PM
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Thanks, so I am assuming no on the pine board.....LoL. Just trying to use what I got.....hahahaha. Not sure how much more cedar is but I will look tomorrow when I get the spar varnish
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reeffreak View Post
Thanks, so I am assuming no on the pine board.....LoL. Just trying to use what I got.....hahahaha. Not sure how much more cedar is but I will look tomorrow when I get the spar varnish
You could use it. It just wont last as long. It will last longer on somones porch thats covered or their door where its not gettin as much weather to it.As opposed to on a fench post or tree where it gets all the weather.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeh28540 View Post
I dunno if you ever used any woodburning guns(iron) or not, but you could leave the wood natural and go all over the cut out letters with a woodburning iron. It will darken the letters up, give it more of a rustic look. As long as the whitewood is painted or covered in spar it will actually last awhile outdoors. I made a small bird house and just painted with a oil based paint(messy i hate oil based) and it lasted about 5 years screwed to the tree befor i started seeing any rot.


I like that idea. Wonder what one of those cost. I would bet I could get one at Harbor freight. I will look it up. Never used one before but then again I never used a router before until now either
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:35 PM
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Like this
http://www.harborfreight.com/5-in-1-...ner-38593.html


Will it make additional cuts in the wood though or just darken it
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Last edited by reeffreak; 05-27-2011 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reeffreak View Post
Like this
5-In-1 Hobby Woodburner


Will it make additional cuts in the wood though or just darken it
Yes that is one. Depends on the tip you use. If your letters are already cut out and you just want to burn them to darken them up, use the tip thats shaped like a bullet to go around the sidewalls and the one with the flat bottom to do the bottom. Then all you will do is burn the wood and darken it up. You could use the other tips to burn designs on the sign itself around the letters if you choose to draw or write somthin.
Harbour freight sales that one, michaels has them for sale, walmart sales them. That is probally gonna be the best price you find though as far as one with the extra tips. You can do some pretty awsome stuff with a wood burner(long as you can draw free hand or trace an image) you can put pretty much anything you want on the wood.
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