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Home » Sanding & Finishing » Finishing rough sawn reclaimed barn wood

Anything related to sanding or finishing.
9/1/2011 7:16:25 AM

jonjon
jonjon
Posts: 17
I am working on a project where the client wants a reclaimed floor with a surface that has the patina and wear you might see on a 100 year old barn. So I found a number of places I could purchase that kind of product. This stuff is very rustic. The face of the wood is completlly untouched by any new milling or cutting. They have left every bit of the original saw marks from the mill and all the patina it gained through time. So here is my question. What finish system will I use to accentuate this old look and protect the wood properly?
I will tell my thoughts and wait for a response.

I thought using a OBS sander to very lightly sand would be the way to go, but what grit should I use. I was thinking 220 grit so I don't sand off to much of the character. This stuff is almost fuzzy. It kind of looks like the rough sawn cypress used for exterior house trim, so there has to be some sanding to knock off the loose stuff and prepare it for finish. What are your thoughts on that?

As far as the finish, I was leaning toward a polymerized tung oil. One of the manufacturer mentioned a tung oil manufactured by Sutherland Wells Ltd. It just seems like as little sanding as I want to do on this wood in order to keep the patina, it will just keep on drinking up the oil. I don't want to have to come back for 5 or 6 coats.

I even thought about using a oil based universal sealer ( so as to create as little grain raise as possible ) then use Bona's Naturale. I just want an untreated look ( ultra matte finish ). I'm not sure that a finish system that just builds layers on the surface will work very well because this floor will be anything but flat, I'm worried the high points on the uneven floor will wear off much too quickly.

By the way, I have samples of oak, pine and maple all of which have the character I have mentioned that I'm wanting to make finished samples for this customer. Not sure if the different species would play a role in what kind of finish to use. I'm anxious to make the samples but not sure what product to put on them and I only really get one shot, can't sand it back down to raw wood and start over.

I know that was a mouthful. This is my first time posting on this forum, although I read it regularly. Any info would be greatly appreciated.- Jon
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9/1/2011 9:04:44 AM

johannes
johannes
Posts: 417
Jonjon,
Such wood has a lot of deteriorated wood fibers on the substrate and will typically not support a conventional film building finishing system well (the high points would wear very quickly).
We would only recommend a penetrating oil finish up to the point that the wood will not absorb anything anymore. This is the tricky thing because the roughness will also not allow easy removel of excess oil.
"Easing" the roughness is a good idea to create some smoothness and it allows also to simulate wear areas (smoother compared to what the substrate is now) in the floor where the walking patterns are. This would result in lighter areas since the weathering will be highlighted (greyish/darker colored) when treated with oil.
This is realistic though as normal walking over such floor will smooth out rough substrates, you could even overdo some areas in a controlled matter like in higher traffic areas (doorways for example) to intensify the effect. Some people like this some won't.

A mockup area on a sheet of plywood would be a good idea to try this out so the homeowner can approve the effect.

Talk with a Tech. rep. of the manufacturer you are going with so you can follow their guidelines on rough floors which is challenging to deal with when oiling. Maintenance is easier than with conventional finishes since reoiling does not require abrasion (just cleaning, which may be challenging too if the floor is very rough).

Johannes.
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9/1/2011 12:34:07 PM

Jeremy
Jeremy
Posts: 26
I dismantled a barn across the field since the landowner was just going to bulldoze it into a pile for burning. The siding boards were 14" red oak with the gray weathered effect you are working with. I installed them in a powder room in my home and used the old tin for wainscotting. I also wrestled with what finish to use because all my familiar finishes made it too dark of a grey. I finally settled with Duraseal paste wax. I know it isn't ideal for a splashy area, but it has held up well for 4yrs. I periodically scrub it with a nylon bristle brush to clean the recessed soft wood and the just apply the wax. It stays dark for a good day, but then comes back to the original color. This is probably not very practical on a whole house worth, but there is my $.02.
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9/1/2011 12:48:42 PM

jonjon
jonjon
Posts: 17
Thank you for the respone. The idea of wax out of the nooks and crannies makes me a little uneasy, but I've tried new techniques before and had good results. Can you drop any tips on how you applied it (what did you use to work it into the wood and what did you use to remove any excess)?
To Johannes, any suggestions on what kind of grit I should use to ease the rough wood, and any name brand tung oil you've had good luck with?
Thanks for the help. Jon
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9/1/2011 12:59:43 PM

Jeremy
Jeremy
Posts: 26
I always put the wax on when it had been in the hot van. It was ragged on and spread with my nylon brush. That helped to get it in the recesses and take most of the excess off. I would not have considered doing such a thing had it not been only 30sqft. The brush also seemed to knock the fuzzies down as it went without taking the gray off.
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9/1/2011 1:46:45 PM

woodbabe
woodbabe
Posts: 8
We do quite a bit of reclaimed flooring. We screen w/ 220 grit to just knock down any burred edges/rough spots. You are not going to sand per say this floor or yes, you will use all of the mother nature look. Water base finishes do not do well with this type of floor-it drastically changes the looik-lightens it up significantly. We use poly urethane on these floors-it brings out all of the patina for these floors. If you re using stain, we use duraseal stain-works great. If you want more info-you can call me or email me with your phone number and I will call you back.
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9/1/2011 5:49:10 PM

Bobgoldstein
Bobgoldstein
Posts: 76
We just did a similar job with oak reclaimed from tobacco barns. We simply used a Trio to clean up loose fiber and oiled the floor with Carver oil. It looks amazing! I wrote an article about this job, and a photo of the elevator was on this site...

PS: be very careful about large splinters... you may sacrifice a few sheets of sandpaper smile

--
Bob Goldstein
Vermont Natural Coatings
Technical Services, Training and Sales
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9/1/2011 6:22:03 PM

jonjon
jonjon
Posts: 17
To Bobgoldstein, what grit paper did you use to clean up the loose fibers ?
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9/4/2011 10:23:19 PM

petesfloors
petesfloors
Posts: 100
Please don't forget that the boards will be different thickness if they aren't sanded to get the overwood off. The way to prevent splinters on the square edges is to " break the edges" by hand sanding with 60 or 80 grit before the flooring is laid. Kinda like a small v-groove so an edge that is sharp when it is higher than the adjacent board will not be susceptible to a broken edge that will become a splinter.
We don't want to make a floor that can be dangerous when it gets used. The butt-joints aren't as important as the edges. Floor sanders weren't invented until the 1920's and before that the floors were scraped on the edges and hand sanded to smooth them out. Flatness
wasn't as important as smoothness.
I would recommend that you use two coats of Duraseal followed with the Dura Finish that matches the color, or mix some stain into the Dura Finish to tint it. You will get a smooth enough floor by using # 2 steel wool polishing with the grain. The two coats of stain with at least 24 hours between coats will seal the floor. Then the maintenance will be to clean the floor with a damp rag to dissolve the dirt. When the floor needs it another coat of Dura finish micro-crystaline wax can be applied to re-seal the floor, with some stain added to create the right color. The Dura finish needs to be spread very thin, no need to wait for it to dry before buffing with a clean used carpet pad.
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9/6/2011 6:21:23 PM

Bobgoldstein
Bobgoldstein
Posts: 76
jonjon wrote:
To Bobgoldstein, what grit paper did you use to clean up the loose fibers ?


We sanded with 80 grit paper because we didn't want to remove any of the saw marks or other character in the floor. Any Over-wood we hand scraped to keep the "look" the client was looking for. The wood was milled with a pillow side match more like what you would see in wainscot. It was a royal pain... but the finished product is stunning.

--
Bob Goldstein
Vermont Natural Coatings
Technical Services, Training and Sales
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9/6/2011 8:36:16 PM

jonjon
jonjon
Posts: 17
Bobgoldstein, I'm not familiar with carver oil. Can you direct me to a website where I can read up on it.

Thanks, Jon
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9/12/2011 4:24:17 PM

Bobgoldstein
Bobgoldstein
Posts: 76
www.carver.it or Google it...
you can get samples by calling 727 322 9663, as for Pete or Terry and tell them Bob sent you.

--
Bob Goldstein
Vermont Natural Coatings
Technical Services, Training and Sales
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9/13/2011 8:20:08 AM

johannes
johannes
Posts: 417
Jon,

I'm partial to Synteko Natural, were are you located ?
Johannes.
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9/22/2011 5:07:08 AM

Mark
Mark
Posts: 33
Please do show pictures of these floors done. Thanks!
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9/22/2011 5:15:31 PM

jonjon
jonjon
Posts: 17
Johannes, I am in Gainesville, Florida.
mark d, I don't even have a signed contract yet. But I am all but certain I'll be doing the job. The prospective client seems confident in my ability to do the job, in large part from the info. I have received from this forum. It feels really good to know if I have a technical question I can post it here and get knowlegeable answers. I can't thank you all enough!!

If I do the project, I'll definitely post pictures. Jon
edited by jonjon on 9/22/2011
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9/22/2011 8:01:57 PM

geniasmith
geniasmith
Posts: 231
I'll post pictures sometime this weekend. We just finished one up, handscrape, screen a little with 120 and waterlox. Pad between coats. I went by the job today after padding and vacuum. You would think it would still have splinters and the like. Smooth and silky as a babys butt. It just felt niiiicccceeeee! We did 3 coats.
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9/29/2011 4:54:00 AM

Mark
Mark
Posts: 33
geniasmith wrote:
I'll post pictures sometime this weekend. We just finished one up, handscrape, screen a little with 120 and waterlox. Pad between coats. I went by the job today after padding and vacuum. You would think it would still have splinters and the like. Smooth and silky as a babys butt. It just felt niiiicccceeeee! We did 3 coats.


How do you tolerate the waterlox? that stuff makes us sick and our eyes burn we've used both the non voc and the voc wich the latter is worse.. I've never used anything so toxic, the respirators good ones don't hold up long.. Does anyone know of a substitute thats milder in smell, but does the same thing.. How about deft? I've look into it but never tried it..
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