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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Default How to Seal 1800's Wood Beams

    I have several old log wood beams, from an early 1800's log house, that I want to use in my kitchen as a fireplace mantle, decorative only. I would like to know what to use to seal the wood, or should I even seal it? I don't want to change the look, the color, or make it shiny - I just want to protect it. Please help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Default Re: How to Seal 1800's Wood Beams

    Well, first I assume that you have enough where you could test the finish to your liking.

    I suppose you can choose to:

    A do nothing (oh natural)
    B use a satin poly
    C simply stain it with a natural stain, no finish (e.g. poly)
    D A and B

    not sure what D would get you vs. just B. I suppose the stain will penetrate the wood, whereas the poly would not....but again, not sure that matters any.

    Personally, I would probably go with C. I had some old heart pine floors put in and kept the remains. I used the scrap/remaining wood and built a oversized wooden tray. I simply stained it with a natural stain with no finish coat. Held up well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago

    Default Re: How to Seal 1800's Wood Beams


    I assume that these old beams have an aged patina on them. Stain would be applied if you want to affect a change of color, but normally staining would be preceded by a cleaning/sanding of the wood, however, this would probably destroy the aged character which you wanted in the first place. There is no right or wrong here, but merely personal preference.

    As to protecting the wood: If these beams are purely decorative and nothing which might stain them would come in contact with them, I don't see a pressing need to put any finish on them, certainly not a varnish with any amount of sheen. Again, a finish might detract from the aged look of the wood. It is kind of analogous to re-finshing an antique only to find you have diminished its value.

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