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Author Topic: Cleaning up weathered timbers  (Read 3440 times)

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Offline scgargoyle

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Cleaning up weathered timbers
« on: July 22, 2007, 08:33:22 AM »
Unless you have the 'Extreme Makeover' crew to raise and sheath your frame, the timbers are gonna be exposed to some weather. I see projects that take months before the frame is covered. So how do you clean up the weathering that occurs? All the frames in the slick magazines have gorgeous timbers that look brand new. I can't see hanging upside down trying to sand a 20' peak! So how do you get rid of the graying and water stains? Or do you make an effort to keep the frame covered?
I hope my ship comes in before the dock rots!

Offline Don P

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Re: Cleaning up weathered timbers
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2007, 09:55:12 AM »
Ideally you work fast and keep it covered, I don't on my own work, when working for others we try to hurry to dry in.

I've sanded the frame we've been working on twice, its 3 units of scaffold plus my reach to the peak, it does get old. Looks good though, I would have no problem justifying sanding my own home. Log homes typically take us 1-2 months to dry in, usually the homeowner has left it, some have used chemical deck brightners, a very few have sanded. Some have been dipped in a sapstain preventer prior to shipment. You can get sapstain preventers from places like Schroeders that help.

If we have a T&G built up roof going on it gets covered each day as we work and we watch the weather, pick a window, and work long. We'll be helping someone do one later this summer like that. He's an owner builder and is slowly getting everything ready, he'll pull us in for a fast push to dry in and then we'll get out as quick as we can. That might be something to think about if you can meet some local small time builders.

The shop I'm working on here is getting some graying, I've been using the power planer on a light skim and the porter cable random orbital sander as I get an area dry. Surface graying doesn't go deep, blue goes to the bone. The dryer the timber is when it sees the weather the better. I try to collect old barn tin and keep the timbers under loose sheets. When I've fitted the bents I've put tin over the timbers as they were assembled and slid it out of the way to work on it. I thought about nailing a chicken ladder to the top of each bent and attaching tin up there as each was stood but never did.
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Offline WAGZ

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Re: Cleaning up weathered timbers
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2007, 10:40:45 AM »
I just recently built a full scribe log home with White Pine, and during last fall it took considerable bad weather.......leaving the logs awful looking, ......I had a local company come in and do some "Soda" blasting......it restored the look good as new!!!......not sure how it would be on timbers.......
I'd do the same for somebody I liked !!

Offline FrankLad

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Re: Cleaning up weathered timbers
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2007, 11:50:04 AM »
In our case, we used a couple heavy duty DeWalt Random-Orbital sanders w/ 60 grit paper, and we hired a couple of highschool kids (good workers!) during the summer to help.

I would jump in at times with a belt sander.  Those work fine, but I'd be careful about letting just anybody sand your frame with one - they can eat through some wood.

It is sloooooooooooow work, but it looks good.

We've got all the bottom posts, plates, and braces done.  I've decided not to even worry about the rafters (due to time and heights).

btw, someone did recommend using bleach + JoMax.  That didn't seem to help.  Apparently that's geared for non-porous surfaces (or either Cypress doesn't work well with this trick)



Quote
Don P: The dryer the timber is when it sees the weather the better.

I believe that is 100% true.  :)






Offline Thomas-in-Kentucky

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Re: Cleaning up weathered timbers
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2007, 06:59:46 PM »
Frank's approach has been my approach.  Two neighborhood high-schoolers looking for summer work... rotate them out because it is hard/boring work.  :)  If you can find an adult who will do the job for more than a week, then you've found an amazing adult (or an illegal alien?).  We are using a Heavy Heavy Duty air compressor and a D/A sander.  The DA sander is light and you can hold it over your head, etc.  Belt sander is faster but too tiring.

I planed and sanded my timbers as we notched them and put them in the barn - I thought it would be the last time I would have to sand them.  Then pigeons pooped on them, dust welded itself to the timbers, some mildewed a little, a few got sticker stain, and the occasional loader fork scraped them.  So we sanded them just before we raised them.  Thinking again that it would be the last time.  Man they looked beautiful with a coat of linseed oil on them.  And the frame looked beautiful for several weeks sitting there in the weather.  But some of the bents weathered before we got the others raised.  No problem, we hit them with bleach and water and another coat of linseed oil, thinking it would be the last time.  Then it took a lot longer than we thought to get the thing completely weather tight... and I discovered that it is impossible to keep linseed oiled timbers clean - even the ones that didn't get weathered have all sorts of smudges and finger prints on them.  So that bring us to the current state of affairs... sanding all of the visible surfaces and coating them with polyurethane.  I'm thinking this really could be the last time!  :) 

And I'm also thinking those rafters and purlins in the great room might never get sanded and a coat of poly... even though some of them have "tan lines" where we left a few of the ratchet straps on for so long!!!   :D

Moral of the story... if you're building a house the slow way (i.e. by yourself), don't waste too much time on finishing the timbers until the thing is dried in... unless they're 20+ feet in the air... those I would try to finish first!

-Thomas

Offline scgargoyle

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Re: Cleaning up weathered timbers
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2007, 07:05:49 PM »
I wonder if you could pre-finish them prior to raising them? Maybe w/ urethane or something? If I make my own frame, it will be in my garage until I move it and raise it, so I could pre-finish it.
I hope my ship comes in before the dock rots!

Offline FrankLad

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Re: Cleaning up weathered timbers
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2007, 09:36:01 AM »
I'm disappointed that we only recently found out about Penofin.  The company advises treating timbers with a coat of Gold Label (Interior) stain while they are seasoning / before raising, to protect from greying.  I'm thinking if we'd have done that, our frame would be in much better shape, aesthetically, than it is now.

I jokingly tell my wife "We'll do that on our next timber frame home.", just to see her eyes bug out.



P.S.  Penofin does make a Pro-Line of products including a wood cleaner and brightener solution.  I haven't tried it myself, but am considering using this on those weathered rafters that I was planning to ignore (and just slap oil stain on).  Penofin Pro-Line Solutions

UPDATE:  Spoke to a Penofin rep. and she said that these cleaners require a constant flow of water - not suitable for inside.  :(

Offline Bernie

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Re: Cleaning up weathered timbers
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2007, 03:10:52 PM »



 I would think a light sand bast or some other blast lile walnut shells  would do it if you can aford the cost ant miss1

Offline beenthere

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Re: Cleaning up weathered timbers
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2007, 04:20:59 PM »
....... lile walnut shells  would do it if you can aford the cost ant miss1

I missed that last part......?? :)
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline scgargoyle

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Re: Cleaning up weathered timbers
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2007, 04:52:32 PM »
Thanks for the tip about Penofin! I wonder how the exterior products would work? I plan to have exposed timbers (cypress) for the front and back porch- the Penofin would be gorgeous.
I hope my ship comes in before the dock rots!

Offline FrankLad

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Re: Cleaning up weathered timbers
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2007, 10:18:21 PM »
We also have some exterior cypress timbers - on our front porch.  Early on we ordered some Land Ark for the inside and Land Ark w/ Mildewcide to oil the outside timbers with.  The main roof was built (and inside timbers covered) way earlier than the porch timbers, because it took me a while to get around to doing the porch roof.  Thus the outside timbers are actually all a relatively uniform grey, and "prettier" than the spotty inside ones due to having more exposure to sun and rain.  So those guys aren't getting sanded - just coated w/ the LandArk+Mildewcide.  :)

For anyone that hasn't used LandArk...  I regret not being able to use it on the inside, because the stuff is nearly food-grade, natural, and smells LIKE ORANGES.  It literally makes you want to drink the stuff!

Was really looking forward to oiling the frame with it, but as we decided to darken the frame, we'll just have plenty of LandArk for other projects.  :)









Offline anvil

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Re: Cleaning up weathered timbers
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2007, 03:43:43 PM »
Muriatic acid sponged on or brushed on will grey your logs or timbers if you want a weathered look.. conversely, if you dissolve metal filings ie from a drill or lathe operation, in the muriatic, and apply the same way, it will darken your logs.  the amount of metal you dissolve, and how much you use will determine the darkness.  In both cases when you are done, make sure you go over it all with baking powder and water mix to neutralize the acid.  Then use whatever finish you want to seal it when done.  Make sure you wear gloves.

I did this on my swedish cope log home inside and out and matched and blended the colors with relative ease.  I used a linseed oil\turps finish on the outside logs and this also blended the colors.  Its a very nice deep rich look,, not like newly peeled logs.  works on timbers too..

anvil

Offline jason.weir

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Re: Cleaning up weathered timbers
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2007, 09:27:22 AM »
My frame sat out all summer while I was building it.

The frame is Eastern White Pine and Hemlock planed 4 sides.

Due to weathering, it was fairly grayed and stained.

I sandblasted it with finely ground walnut shells.  What a difference it took all the weathering and stain off.

I then sprayed it with a mix of 25% raw linseed oil, 25% boiled linseed oil and 50% turpentine..

Its been weather tight for almost 4 years and still looks great..

-J


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