Filling/sealing knots in reclaimed barn wood

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Forum topic by Bfly posted 07-23-2012 05:21 PM 4879 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2039 days

07-23-2012 05:21 PM

I built a reclaimed barn wood table and want to seal it for outdoor use. The wood is cedar, and it has a lot of very large and complex knots that I want to seal/encapsulate. I want to use something that will seal the knots, but that will remain clear so that the beautiful details of the knots can still be seen. Some of the knots are very deep and would require a considerable amount of sealant to fully enclose/encapsulate all the layers (at least a ¼” think layer in some spots). I’m thinking of using Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane. Will it cloud up if I use too much? Any other thoughts? Thanks!

6 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17174 posts in 2912 days

#1 posted 07-23-2012 05:24 PM

I think youd have a tough time getting the spar to dry at 1/4” deep. Maybe a clear epoxy would be the ticket? Ive used Quikwood with good success and they make tinted varieties.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2170 days

#2 posted 07-23-2012 05:25 PM

You’re most likely going to want to use an epoxy to stabilize those knots. If you’re really careful with the bar top coating, you could probably use that as well.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Tennessee's profile


2744 posts in 2420 days

#3 posted 07-23-2012 05:31 PM

There are a lot of the two-part epoxy varnishes out there. Here is one:

I have some in my shop, and for the life of me, cannot remember the name. All I know is I repaired a thick poly clear-coated ash guitar with it, and after polishing it out, it was like a mirror and you could not tell where the problem had been. Filled wonderfully.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View abie's profile


872 posts in 3676 days

#4 posted 07-24-2012 01:28 AM

my solution is to cover both sides of the knot and flood it with thin CA glue..
wait for thirty minutes and sand. repeat as necessary..
if you want, you may add sawdust or coffee grounds to make for more or less color. works for me.

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2595 days

#5 posted 07-24-2012 01:35 AM

Spar urethane won’t do what you want here. Epoxy would be best and easiest. CA glue will stabilize a knot but not good to fill a bigger gap.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Nowa's profile


23 posts in 1986 days

#6 posted 10-24-2012 03:45 AM

when I run into this situation, I turn to epoxy. and swear by the products from these folks. not a plug – just a point of reference.

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