There are various reasons why the natural look of wood is very pleasing to behold. One reason is that the combination of the texture, color, figure, and grain all works together to produce that unique natural look of wood. For this reason, many would like to maintain the wood’s natural look and let it come out in their woodworking projects.
Wood, however, is susceptible to rotting, warping, and staining, and if you don’t seal the wood, chances are, it will be vulnerable to these issues. Sealing the wood, however, might affect the natural look of the wood. Nevertheless, if you seal the wood naturally, you can protect it while preserving its natural look.
6 Ways to Seal Wood Naturally
You can use various products to protect the wood and make it last longer, yet preserve its natural color texture. However, many products in the market carry harmful chemicals and pungent fumes that could damage your health. Thus, if you want to seal wood using natural sealers to avoid these dangerous chemicals, it will be best to learn the following natural ways to seal it:
1) Linseed Oil
One natural sealer you can use is linseed oil. It comes from flax plant seeds. This plant had been cultivated for its seeds and oil for thousands of years. Fibers of this plant got also used for making canvas, rope, linen, and paper. You will often find the end-products from these fibers in bed sheets, clothing, and tablecloths. Moreover, seeds of this plant are also used as a nutritional supplement and are further processed to produce linseed oil.
Linseed oil gives off a pungent odor and may take a long time to dry. Nevertheless, it is safer to use than other sealers. You can use boiled linseed oil as a natural sealant. Besides, it doesn’t carry any petroleum additives. You can buy raw linseed oil and boil it to ensure that your sealant doesn’t have petroleum additives.
Linseed oil can saturate the wood grains well to protect the wood from factors like humidity. It can also protect the wood from scratches. Moreover, the use of linseed oil as a sealant is eco-friendly. Plus, it renders the wood a satin finish that can bring out the natural grain and tone of the wood.
2) Tung Oil
This natural Tung oil comes from 2 major types of tree found in China with the scientific names Aleuritis montana and Aleuritis Fordii. Tung oil had been used for several centuries as a sealing finish for wooden boats and other wood projects. You can also use it for stone finishing.
Tung oil is a versatile sealant that is easy to use and offers a natural finish for your wood projects. You can use it to seal the wood surface naturally while making the wood surface water-resistant. It is an excellent alternative to chemical-based varnish and lacquer.
Tung oil, however, takes longer to cure. It may take around half a month to an entire month for this oil to dry completely. Besides, it will be best to avoid exposing the wood surface to UV rays. It will also help to avoid placing heavy objects on the wood surface.
After applying tung oil onto the wood surface, you should check for any oil beads and ensure that you wipe these beads during the process of curing.
Tung oil can provide wood surfaces with high water resistance capability. Thus, you can use this for finishing wood floors, furniture, stairs, toys, musical instruments, incense stick holders, and anything made of wood. It can also harden and strengthen softwood as it sets. Moreover, this oil is safe for utensils made of wood.
Woodworkers have been using beeswax for a very long time to finish wood. Yet, its use has recently increased in popularity because it is one of the best natural alternatives to chemical-laden paints. In the past, woodworkers had applied beeswax even before the invention of polyurethanes.
Beeswax is soft and can’t provide the needed durability and long-lasting effect. As such, it is often combined with linseed oil to create a better solution for more enhanced wood treatment. The linseed oil of this mixture can penetrate the wood deeply, while the beeswax provides a protective layer over the wood surface. Thus, with this mixture, the wood gains better durability and longevity.
Avoid using this beeswax for floors on furniture. Instead, buy beeswax meant for use in furniture. As you apply the beeswax, ensure it dries completely before buffing the surface. You can’t buff the surface with wet beeswax.
Another natural alternative is shellac. It is a resinous product from lac bug secretion on trees. Moreover, you can find this bug in Thailand and India. The shellac flakes are then dissolved in ethanol to form the liquid shellac. You can use the liquid shellac as food glaze, brush-on colorant, or wood finish.
Shellac works like a natural primer, tannin blocker, sanding sealant, high-gloss varnish, odor blocker, and stain. It offers wood with high-insulation properties and can seal out moisture.
Shellac has biopolymer, which is actually thermoplastic and provides excellent adhesion to other things and objects. Besides, its ethanol and methanol solutions offer a high-durability coating. Moreover, due to its UV-resistant properties, this coating doesn’t discolor or darken over time. For this reason, shellac is essential in most paints and surface coatings.
Other properties of shellac that you would surely appreciate include its quick-drying property and ease of working with it. It also offers a hard finish that is natural looking. Shellac is also resistant to the effects of sunlight and doesn’t darken over time. Lastly, you can use shellac under varnish, polyurethane, and lacquer.
5) Chinese Lacquer
Another natural alternative is Chinese lacquer, which comes from a lacquer tree growing in China. This lacquer is also referred to as earth lacquer, oriental lacquer, or natural lacquer. This lacquer is a raw lacquer type as well as processed lacquer.
The Chinese lacquer comes from a thick fluid with brownish-yellow color. It is produced by partially dehydrating the lacquer tree’s sap and filtering it. The main ingredient of this lacquer is alkyd resin. This resin creates a firm film that offers a solid bond to the substrate. Lacquer, therefore, offers rich glossiness, durability, and insulating properties. It is also thermal resistant (250°C). Besides, it offers resistance to oil, water, wear, and corrosion.
However, the downsides of its use include its high viscosity, dark color, brittleness, and non-resistance to UV light. It also offers weak resistance to alkalinization and oxidation.
Another thing is that raw lacquer is considered toxic. Besides, it exhibits coarseness after drying. Thus, it is seldom utilized for direct application. It must be processed to produce refined lacquer.
Processed lacquer gets applied chiefly to wood in moist environments. It also offers good glossiness and tenacity. It is highly stable and offers excellent acid resistance. Besides, it dries slowly and takes two to three weeks to dry.
You will also notice that refined lacquer can be a mixture of tung oil, lacquer oil, and varnish that offers high tenacity, heat resistance, water resistance, and corrosion resistance. You can also use this processed lacquer for decorative wood furniture, crafts, and arts.
6) Coconut Oil
One option you can have that is safe to use is coconut oil. You can apply this oil over the wood surface using a damp rag. It has a revitalizing and moisturizing effect on wood and can protect it. It is also not that smelly, and its odor is not irritating to your nostrils.
Coconut oil is often applied to wood for its excellent conditioning and moisturizing effect. Thus, it is helpful for treating, finishing, and cleaning wood. It also enables wood to be resistant to moisture, preventing the expansion and shrinking of wood.
One characteristic of wood is its high porosity, unless it is teak wood or some other hardwoods with high density and less porosity. So, using a waterproof sealer will enhance the water resistance of wood. Of course, when moisture penetrates the wood, it can cause the wood to expand or shrink when the moisture evaporates. Moreover, fungi and other bacteria can cause the wood to rot and decay. Thus, sealing the wood is necessary.
One of the best ways to seal wood is to use natural sealers like the abovementioned natural sealers. You can choose from any of these natural sealers to ensure that your wood will have a better chance of weathering the effects of moisture and other outdoor elements that could compromise the integrity of the wood.