Outdoor sign

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Blog entry by Jocelyn posted 01-18-2013 05:57 PM 843 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am in the process of putting my ideas from paper to wood to create a hand carved sign for outdoors.
My concerns… the person that I am making the sign for will probably love it, but won’t provide any upkeep for the sign.

I am trying to come up with:
1. Types of wood that will stand the test of time and survive the outdoors (living in the country surrounding Ottawa, Ontario)
2. Suggestions of woods that will be a beauty to carve (aka…not Oak…not a fan of carving Oak).
3. What type of finish to drench the wood in so that it will stay protected for a longer time (not interested in painting the wood…what a sin!)

Preferably looking for tips from those with first hand experience:) I’ve found a lot of conflicting information researching on the internet.


-- Jocelyn

2 comments so far

View ~Julie~'s profile


607 posts in 3084 days

#1 posted 01-18-2013 07:10 PM

There is no answer, really, wood with anything on it will not last!
I live near North Bay, ON and suggest Cedar for outdoors.
You need something that will soak in if you want a coating. Anything that sits on top will just flake off and look horrible. What you put on will have to be recoated, there is no way around it. Don’t be convinced to use Spar Varnish because “they put it on boats.” Yes, they do, but they also redo it, over and over again.
(edited to add: I use “Deftoil” by Deft, which I get at Lee Valley, but haven’t tested it long enough to say it will last.)

-- ~Julie~

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2704 days

#2 posted 01-21-2013 08:40 PM

I’ve been using cedar with Cabbott’s Australian Timber Oil with pretty good luck. My customers are willing to put a new coat on every other year or so to keep it looking good. I’ve got a sign that gets western sun beating on it and it has been up for 4 years. Still looks almost like it did the day I put it up. I did this sign as a test platform for the finish product to see what the longevity really is. I will probably recoat this coming summer with one fresh coat.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

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