Sealing Raw Fir

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Old 08-26-18, 05:27 PM
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Sealing Raw Fir

Have a 3" X 12" X 7' piece of fir that was the mantle above an old stone fireplace. Over the years (50) it became stained, slightly warped, unsightly from normal everyday use. I've planed it down (to remove the warp), sanded and milled it to what I want. So it is now just raw wood (actually pretty good looking at that).

There was no finish on it prior to me working on it. If one were to "seal" it, not put a finish on it what would be the best. I have to take into account that it gets quite warm sitting above the fireplace. Or should I just go with the raw wood again. I'm just looking to protect it against stains and such.

It sits in an old cabin up in Lake Tahoe.
 
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Old 08-26-18, 05:45 PM
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Any sealer is a type of "finish" in a sense so that's just symantics. To protect it from stains it needs a coating of some type.

There are any number of things you could put on it, all with varying degrees of protection.

Thompsons water seal (or any other brand of clear wood protectant), Natural oil stain (or any pigmented stain for that matter) Zinsser Seal Coat (dewaxed shellac) Sanding Sealer (usually followed by Varnish or Polyurethane) Clear shellac, Paste wax, Tung oil... probably several others.
 
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Old 08-26-18, 06:55 PM
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Three coats of oil based polyurethane (with light scuff sanding and removal of sanding dust between coats to promote adhesion of the layers) is my go-to finish.
 
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Old 08-26-18, 07:03 PM
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If one were to "seal" it, not put a finish on it what would be the best.
The part that gets me is the "and not put a finish on it" part. Maybe you could explain what you are after. A natural finish? No / low sheen, or what?
 
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Old 08-26-18, 11:54 PM
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Sorry, I'm looking for a natural finish. Not a topical coating per se more a penetrating sealer. I'd like no change in the color, sheen or feel of the wood. My (limited) experience with polyurethane is that you know something been applied no matter what type you use. I'm also concerned about it holding up under a high heat situation. I like using poly for my finishes, just don't think it what I'm looking for here. Again, I've not done a lot of finishes so maybe my experience is too limited.

Would a natural (?) oil stain leave a change in the wood. I've used boiled linseed oil on my axes and other tools and eventually they dry out enough to fell like raw wood, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be good for interior finishes.

Now it might be I'm asking for too much and leaving it raw will be the way to go. The wood has a tight grain and looks really good now.

I just don't know what I don't know
 
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Old 08-27-18, 02:57 AM
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I doubt there would be enough heat to affect whatever finish you apply, if there was it would affect the wood also.
Any oil base finish will deepen the colors naturally in the wood [I like this effect] Boiled linseed oil can be used inside although it's normally cut in half with thinner so it will both penetrate and dry. It will deepen the colors in the wood, so will Thompson's WaterSeal. They make a waterborne version of TWS that might not deepen the color. If you leave the wood unfinished it will be susceptible to getting stains that won't wash off.
 
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Old 08-27-18, 04:33 AM
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Ok, I would say to try Watco Danish Oil (natural).
 
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