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Question

I’m in the process of making a dining table from spotted gum. The 2.7 x 1.2 table will need finishing with some sort of wax, oil, varnish or modern protective finish to prevent water marks & food stains. What’s recommended & why?

Woodsolutions Answer +

Oils and waxes, when used alone, may be subject to marking by heat and liquid spillage. Polyurethanes provide the toughest protection, and spills can be wiped off without leaving a mark. They don't have to be high gloss - matt and satin grades of polyurethane are available. It's also possible to apply finishing oil over a polyurethane base. This gives a satin sheen to the surface while the polyurethane provides protection to the timber. Scandinavian oil, rubbed into a 3-coat base of matt polyurethane, gives a super smooth oil-rubbed finish. The oil is worked in lightly with 400 wet or dry paper, followed by rubbing along the grain with a pad of household steel wool that is thoroughly wet with oil. The surplus is then removed with a soft clean cloth. When putting the table together be aware that it's important to fit the tabletop in a way that allows for seasonal movement. You will find details on the net if you write 'fitting tabletops to allow movement' or similar words in your browser.

Table
Question

We have 1 external bush pole that is used for a structural support under our alfresco area. The pole has split towards the bottom and top and the gaps are starting to get quite large. If possible could you please let me know what can be done to reduce the splitting? I have been told by placing a strap at the base of the pole may help, is this correct?
Also is there a way to dress up and seal the large splits so its visually more appealing? What would be the best product to help seal the pole from future elements or the change of temperature through summer and the winter months?
Towards the middle of the pole there also appears to be some hairline splits forming. The cracks are not big enough to insert anything so I was wondering what the best solution would be to remove or dress these (another visual issue).
Any guidance you can provide is greatly appreciated

Woodsolutions Answer +

Devices to restrain end-splitting are generally fitted to the end-grain, eg. Pryda 'Pole Cats'. This is probably not a practical strategy now that your pole is installed. Strapping the pole with a galvanised metal strap might help to contain further splitting, but it will be difficult to tension the strap and it won't close an existing split. Filling the splits is also problematic since they are likely to continue to open and close with changes in moisture content. If you decide to fill them, make sure to use a flexible filler such as paintable silicone. A hard-setting filler will crack and fall out as the timber swells and shrinks. In fact a hard filler might actually exacerbate the problem by acting as a wedge when the timber is trying to shrink. We suggest that the best strategy is to accept some end-splitting as part of the character of a 'bush pole'.

End-splitting
Question

What is the fire resistance rating of a 6" x 6" timber post and where is it listed ?

Woodsolutions Answer +

The fire resistance of a timber member depends on the density of the species. The design process to establish the fire resistance of a timber member is explained in our Technical Design Guide number 15, titled Fire Design, available for download here: https://www.woodsolutions.com.au/publications.

Fire resistance
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