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Thread: Small Wood Sign Clear Finish?

  1. #1

    Small Wood Sign Clear Finish?

    I recently made a small sign of natural cedar lettering carved on a CNC, about 22" x 9". I soaked the wood in a waterbased wood preservative and now wondering about a clear protective finish outside use for very long term. Recommendations please.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    The general and most accurate response you're going to hear is that there is no "long term" clear finish that's going to provide satisfaction for outdoor use. Weather, oxidation and UV do what they do regardless which is why the outdoor sign industry has really moved away from using wood in favor of materials like HDU and PVC. You can certainly use things like marine finishes, but you'll be faced with re-finishing in a relatively short period of time...a year or three at most.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    What Jim said. I can get 10 years out of 100% acrylic house paints, but most clear wood finishes don'[t have enough UV blocker in them to keep the wood fibres from deteriorating under the finish. That's why most log homes look great for a 3 or 4 years, then they turn black. Not sure what might even stick to your WB preservative

  4. #4
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    Not intending to hijack this thread, but the question seems relevant...

    I've been considering an epoxy sealer and spar varnish combination on top of new western red cedar for a similar sign project. If real wood is out of the question for any such application, where it's expected to survive the elements without frequent refinishing, can you think of any materials, HDU, PVC, or other that would simulate a natural wood grain appearance?

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Ontko View Post
    Not intending to hijack this thread, but the question seems relevant...

    I've been considering an epoxy sealer and spar varnish combination on top of new western red cedar for a similar sign project. If real wood is out of the question for any such application, where it's expected to survive the elements without frequent refinishing, can you think of any materials, HDU, PVC, or other that would simulate a natural wood grain appearance?
    Folks use HDU and other materials all the time to simulate real wood...Rodger MacMunn is a master at it, as a matter of fact. Texturing with the CNC and then painting gets the job done. In most cases nobody ever knows unless they get REALLY close and that's not a typical viewing position for signs.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    My small sign making material of choice is PVC. I usually buy it in sheets but you can buy "planks" in standard trim lumber sizes from big box stores. These planks have a wood grain pattern on the face side that might be acceptable to you.

    By the way, I agree with Jim's assessment of wood signage 100%.

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