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Question

I have two decks: one in 35 mm blackbutt and one in 32 mm spotted gum. They are both oiled with Cutek CD50 Extreme. The blackbutt is tinted 'rustic gold', and the spotted gum 'new bronzetone'. Unfortunately, the stain has ruined (not enhanced) the natural wood look. The Spotted gum looks like a dark Jarrah or Kwila, the Blackbutt looks an unnatural orange colour. Neither deck shows the natural variation in the timber colour. Furthermore, the oils take *weeks* to dry. Is there a way to reverse the staining, and maybe a better product to use next time?

Woodsolutions Answer +

Finishes that form a skin on the surface of the wood can be removed with paint stripper but we understand Cutek oil penetrates into the wood. We suggest you try a deck cleaning product, combined with power washing. You will find information on the net about using power washers but the two main points are (a) not to use the nozzle too close to the decking, and (b) not to turn up the pressure too high. If power washing doesn’t work you might have to resort to sanding the deck, in which case make sure all nails are punched in otherwise the sandpaper will tear. Regarding a product to re-coat the deck we suggest a brand-name decking oil but without a heavy tint next time. If you can persuade a paint shop to coat up some samples for you, or to show you samples of their products on actual decking rather than colour cards, that will give you a more realistic idea of appearance.

Question

I am an owner builder with reasonable experience with carpentry and cabinetry. I am currently working on a large addition to my house which includes making most of the cabinets and furniture. 

My current project is the ensuite cabinets and builtin vanity which will all be solid timber - dressed Tasmanian blackwood. The vanity bench with inset sink has a 50mm slab as the bench top. I am looking for advice on the best finish for the timber , particularly the vanity top with water plashes form the sink. I've ensure the bathroom is well ventilated with a run on exhaust fan the goes for at least 10-15 minutes after the light is turned off.

I am assuming a 2 pack polyurethane of some description although the more I read online the more conflicting information I find.

Woodsolutions Answer +

We agree with your choice of 2-pack polyurethane (or a single pack flooring grade polyurethane) for the benchtop. Make sure you seal all round – top and bottom, and the edges of the hand basin cut-out, before you install the blackwood slab. It’s also important to allow the benchtop to ‘move’ slightly with changes in humidity. Dale Glass Industries (DGI) have an informative guide to the installation of timber benchtops, available on the net here: https://www.dgi.com.au/installation-guide.

Question

We have a few pieces of tallowwood which will be used as a external feature post on our front porch as well as a few posts on our alfresco area.

We would love to keep the tallowwood as close to its natural colour as possible, what finish do you suggest we use?

Woodsolutions Answer +

It’s hard to keep the natural colour of wood in an exposed location. A clear coating with ultra violet absorbers is the best option, but the wood will still change colour somewhat due to the effect of UV light. Also varnish-type coatings tend to become brittle with age and fail by cracking and peeling, so you will need to be aware of the maintenance requirement. Our Technical Design Guide no. 13, titled “Finishing Timber Externally”, covers the topic in detail. Copies can be downloaded here: https://woodsolutions.com.au/publications

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