Can you varnish moss???


Old 06-24-09, 11:11 AM
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Can you varnish moss???


Just built a house & it has a wood fireplace that I am finishing. I'm putting up the fake river rock cultured stones & have a 4" slab of black locust that has the bark edge still on it for the mantle. I'm keeping the bark on as I love the live edge & will wood glue any pieces that are loose before varnishing. My question is, the bark has moss on it from being on the south side of the tree - cool look & am wanting to keep the moss on if I can varnish over it - think it's possible? Anyone tried? Will the moss stay the green color it is now?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 06-24-09, 01:48 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

Can't say that I've ever painted over moss. I'd be concerned that the moss would compromise the varnish/polys bond with the wood. There is also a possiblity that mold could grow under the moss [maybe under the bark too] Oil base varnish/poly alters the look of most substrates - mainly darkens/deepens the colors. Water based poly shouldn't change the coloring any. You might want to test first on a piece of scrap.

Spraying would be less likely to destroy or distort the moss than using a brush.
Old 06-25-09, 08:53 AM
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moss preservation

When working on my masters degree in Botany, I studied Moss, there are two standard methods to preserve. Wet ...In which the moss is put in a small bottle of special presevative. And the Dry method...which constitutes the majority by a huge margin. In dry, the sample is simpled allowed to dry and is put in an Acid Free Paper Envelope...years and years later samples can be removed, and if necessary, re-hydrated to show celluar structure for microscopic inspection etc.

the problem you face is ...dust...and potential for it to get bumped, or physically comprimised, if and when you want to "clean". Left alone the dry environmet of the house will preserve it but any routine cleaning will break small pieces off becasue once it is dry it is extremely fragile.

a spray laquer or shellac might bond the delicate nature of the plants together, and might provide a little robustness for "dusting" with compressed air...but not much more.
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