Best way to finish/seal barn beams

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Forum topic by KnottyMan posted 01-02-2017 02:54 PM 1695 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1015 days

01-02-2017 02:54 PM

I bought some barn beams that I am using to make a bed frame. What is the best way to take down the rough edges without sanding the beams all the way down where it ends up looking like store bought lumber? I lightly sanded the wood with 220 grit sandpaper, but not sure if that is enough. Is shellac or varnish think enough to put on that it will seal the wood and cover the rough spots or do I need to continue sanding? I want to preserve the rough cut look of the barn beams, so I prefer not to sand too much off.

4 replies so far

View WDHLT15's profile


1786 posts in 2647 days

#1 posted 01-02-2017 09:17 PM

Try a stiff wire brush and brush it vigorously. That should leave the more natural patina that the sandpaper would remove.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

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155 posts in 1415 days

#2 posted 01-03-2017 02:29 AM

If you want to keep the original look and feel of the beams seal them with a couple coats of matte poly. It will make dusting and spill cleanup easy without any sheen at all on the wool. Also very good at covering old paint to keep it from rubbing or flaking off

View Ripper70's profile


1149 posts in 1080 days

#3 posted 01-03-2017 02:55 AM

Any idea what kind of wood? Douglas fir, maybe? Is it really old? Nails, holes, knots, etc.? Any pics you could post?

If all of the above is true, it sounds like the kind of reclaimed lumber we used to make dining tables with. Our process was as follows:

First, we rough sanded with belt sanders with about 80-100 grit. Then, to achieve uniformity of color, we use a two part wood bleach. This will lift the grain considerably so, another pass with the belt sanders. Then Briwax. It comes in a variety of tints and will restore the darker color and the patina that you want to keep.

Our process kept the character of the wood yet allowed for a smooth feel to the touch. We actually went as far as to leave cut off nails and bolts right in the material. Added even more character and yet wasn’t at all too rough to rest your elbows on. The sanding part was mostly feel but it ain’t fine finishing work. Really dig in. If the wood is old, it’s old through and through. It won’t look like freshly store bought.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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2 posts in 1015 days

#4 posted 01-23-2017 11:53 PM

Sorry for not getting back to you and addressing your questions. I will post some pictures of the wood that I am using as I am not sure on the type.

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