Making Basswood More Durable

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Forum topic by Ty Moser posted 11-25-2015 02:08 AM 1145 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ty Moser

85 posts in 1775 days

11-25-2015 02:08 AM

Topic tags/keywords: basswood finishing

I am tasked with creating a large counter top out of 8/4 basswood. Lets not get sidetracked about how basswood is soft and not a very good counter top material… This is a counter that will be out of the way and get very little use.

Since basswood is so soft, I want to at least try to prevent as many dents and dings as possible. My first thought was to put on way more coats of poly than normal but figured somebody might have a better suggestion out there. I want to stay away from a thick epoxy finish if possible, maybe something like the Heavy Duty Arm-R-Seal oil/urethane top coat?

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6 replies so far

View Redoak49's profile


3739 posts in 2225 days

#1 posted 11-25-2015 12:20 PM

I would put on something that will really soak into the wood. May be a thinned Danish oil or shellac. Of course try it on some scraps.

View rwe2156's profile


3230 posts in 1717 days

#2 posted 11-25-2015 04:04 PM

My opinion(s):

1. Not gonna work. Maybe a 1/4” thick layer of acrylic, but not topcoats.

2. Waste of a good piece of carving wood ;-(

3. Go talk to the “tasker” about why they won’t use a more appropriate slab of wood.

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View dhazelton's profile


2805 posts in 2533 days

#3 posted 11-25-2015 04:15 PM

From a boating forum:

“I use basswood for all my boats as is but if you want to harden the surface paint it with epoxy resin mixed half and half with alcohol. The alcohol allows the epoxy to soak into the wood.”

I have no idea if that will affect how it it ultimately finished or the color.

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2741 days

#4 posted 11-25-2015 05:34 PM

Whatever finish they use when making surfboards. Plenty of Youtube videos…

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View dschlic1's profile


442 posts in 2206 days

#5 posted 11-25-2015 05:37 PM

A very thin glass cloth (woven rovings) and a laminating epoxy. Not exactly thin but durable.

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Ty Moser

85 posts in 1775 days

#6 posted 11-25-2015 05:53 PM

I like the idea of something that will soak in like a thinned danish oil or even a super thinned down epoxy. I’m thinking that I just need to embrace the dents and dings this thing is going to get over time. They wanted a rustic, used but smooth look.. So maybe I’ll leave some heavy plane marks, throw a few chains at it, stab it etc and then sand it smooth. At least that way, when they ding and dent it down the road, they will just blend in.

So I guess that changes things a bit instead of really needing to make it harder, I would need it to be somewhat forgiving and flexible. That’s where shellac would probably be bad since it’s so hard it’s brittle and would crack..

Also, if I were to go with a surfboard finish. i.e. fiberglass & lamination then I might have well just get Formica or something to cover it up.

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