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Advice and or opinions please - finishing a childs wagon for durability

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  • Advice and or opinions please - finishing a childs wagon for durability

    I am making a wagon for a niece (due this month, so no real rush for a couple of months).

    The undercarriage I bought commercially built. It is painted and will be assembled to the tray floor with stainless hardware. The tray and stake sides are Birch, milled by me about five years ago, very well air dried indoors and then stored in a container. The lumber is not moving much (to my relief).

    My goal is a clear finish to expose the wood grain, but durable for when the kids leave it outside or use it for a dump trailer. The tray floor will not be fastened to the tray sides. The floor will be one assembly, let into dadoes along the sides and front/rear of the tray, so I will probably finish them separately.

    My plan was to do good solid finish of shellac, followed by a couple of good coats of an exterior polyurethane, hopefully of a brand with some UV inhibitors to keep the wood from greying as long as possible. I want to do a clear first coat, followed by a name on the side "Xxxxxx Flyer" in a bold colour, followed by another clear coat.

    So .... advice? experience? Paul-O? Mark at Master Finishing?
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  • #2

    Re: Advice and or opinions please - finishing a childs wagon for durability

    Why Birch John ??, have you not got some Tamerack wood instead, Birch (especially White is not a good outdoor wood IMO.

    I'll leave the best finish to the pro's, good luck

    Have fun and take care
    Leo Van Der Loo

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    • #3

      Re: Advice and or opinions please - finishing a childs wagon for durability

      General Finish outdoor products should work well.
      http://www.woodmonkey.ca

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      • #4

        Re: Advice and or opinions please - finishing a childs wagon for durability

        John, my go to film finish for any wood that may be exposed to the outdoor elements is Epifanes.
        There are a number of products shown on the link that would do what you want, but the "Clear" is probably the simplest. There is also lots of info about their products on their web pages which would help you choose.

        I would definitely avoid shellac anywhere in the system as it may not react well with the Epifanes and is not really designed for any kind of outdoor application, even as a sealer, so it may be prone to cracking/degradation. Like most varnishes, one can thin the first couple coats of Epifanes at about 50% and apply as a sealer which will soak into the wood, then build concentration in subsequent coats.
        You would have to check compatibility with whatever material you want to use for the lettering. Their site has some good info if you search around and I have found their customer service very helpful in the past.

        Are there any boat repair/refurbishing businesses in your area or that you have contacts with? It might be a good idea to check with them and see what they use and how they use it.

        Paul
        Last edited by Paul O in Paris; 02-27-2021, 11:40 AM.
        KenL and stotto like this.

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        • #5

          Re: Advice and or opinions please - finishing a childs wagon for durability

          Originally posted by Leo Van Der Loo View Post
          Why Birch John ??, have you not got some Tamerack wood instead, Birch (especially White is not a good outdoor wood IMO.

          I'll leave the best finish to the pro's, good luck
          Hi Leo,

          I do have some Tamarack, but what we have around here is not huge, so getting straight quartered Tamarack is a sawmill mission that I did not undertake when I did the logs I had. I cut them for general use ..... and my experience with flat sawn Tamarack is that it loves to move, even when well dried. Hence ... the Birch ... ahh well, life is an experiment, right ? I have two undercarriages, so I may try sorting the container this summer and see if I have any else in there ...

          I'll just have to seal it well

          cheers,

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          • #6

            Re: Advice and or opinions please - finishing a childs wagon for durability

            Originally posted by Paul O in Paris View Post
            John, my go to film finish for any wood that may be exposed to the outdoor elements is Epifanes.
            There are a number of products shown on the link that would do what you want, but the "Clear" is probably the simplest. There is also lots of info about their products on their web pages which would help you choose.

            I would definitely avoid shellac anywhere in the system as it may not react well with the Epifanes and is not really designed for any kind of outdoor application, even as a sealer, so it may be prone to cracking/degradation. Like most varnishes, one can thin the first couple coats of Epifanes at about 50% and apply as a sealer which will soak into the wood, then build concentration in subsequent coats.
            You would have to check compatibility with whatever material you want to use for the lettering. Their site has some good info if you search around and I have found their customer service very helpful in the past.

            Are there any boat repair/refurbishing businesses in your area or that you have contacts with? It might be a good idea to check with them and see what they use and how they use it.

            Paul
            HI Paul,

            Thank you for the suggestion. I will go and have a cruise around their website. Unfortunately there is no marine service of the kind I would need around here, everyone (including me) uses aluminum and fibreglass. I am glad I asked first about the shellac.

            I'll see what I can dig out for info and will maybe contact you again if I get lost.

            cheers, thanks again !

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            • #7

              Re: Advice and or opinions please - finishing a childs wagon for durability

              Another premium marine varnish is Pettit. I've had good success with their Captain's Varnish on kayaks and other "immersion" applications, and suspect it would be good for your wagon too. In case it's more readily available than Epifanes. Just don't use a "consumer" spar varnish like Helmsman.

              https://pettitpaint.com/products/var...erior-varnish/
              KenL likes this.

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              • #8

                Re: Advice and or opinions please - finishing a childs wagon for durability

                Originally posted by Kayak Jim View Post
                Another premium marine varnish is Pettit. I've had good success with their Captain's Varnish on kayaks and other "immersion" applications, and suspect it would be good for your wagon too. In case it's more readily available than Epifanes. Just don't use a "consumer" spar varnish like Helmsman.

                https://pettitpaint.com/products/var...erior-varnish/
                Thank you Jim, I imagine that an immersion-rsistant finish should be more than suitable for moisture sealing on a kids wagon, and kayaks can have some pretty abusive usage, so that should take care of the ruggedness requirement.

                cheers !

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                • #9

                  Re: Advice and or opinions please - finishing a childs wagon for durability

                  I don't know about wagons, but I use the epifanes on my canoes. Expensive as all get out - think it was like $60 for a wee quart. insanely smelly and sticky too. But so far the only thing that hurts it is the rocks my son paddles into....

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                  • #10

                    Re: Advice and or opinions please - finishing a childs wagon for durability

                    I've used both Epiphanes and Pettit spar varnishes on my kayaks, I'd give a slight edge to Pettit. If I recall it is even pricier than Epiphanes. Both give a durable high gloss finish.

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                    • #11

                      Re: Advice and or opinions please - finishing a childs wagon for durability

                      To bad your not traveling to Ottawa anymore as the Chanderly has Epifanes and their Seikens on sale.

                      Bill

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                      • #12

                        Re: Advice and or opinions please - finishing a childs wagon for durability

                        My Benjamin Moore dealer in Regina sold me a Saman exterior varnish to refinish an exterior mahogany door, he said they have had really good results with it, I haven’t used it yet so no experience. might work for you. BW

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                        • #13

                          Re: Advice and or opinions please - finishing a childs wagon for durability

                          Thank you all for your input. I have read up on the Pettit and Epifanes lines and then checked to see what is available and where. From what I can see, the Epifanes is available from one supplier for the three product that I plan to use.

                          I have pretty much decided on a Clear Varnish, an appropriate thinner and a flow enhancer. I'll post an image of my choices here and if anyone can suggest something that I may have missed or suggests that I don't need all three .... I am all ears.

                          Thanks again for all the help.

                          Click image for larger version

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                          • #14

                            Re: Advice and or opinions please - finishing a childs wagon for durability

                            That should see you through the project John.
                            If you get stuck for a thinner, I have used Naptha with reasonable success to thin for spraying, although I run MEK though my spray equipment afterwards as a very effective cleaner.

                            Paul

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                            • #15

                              Re: Advice and or opinions please - finishing a childs wagon for durability

                              Something I was always wanting to build. Still have the tires that I bought probably 20 years ago. I wanted to put tandems on the rear wheels. I have gone to car shows in Carlisle PA. It seemed that car enthusiasts had a passion for wagons and some were quite elaborate. I always thought red was the go to color as in “ little red wagon” look forward to some pics.

                              Brian
                              If your dreams don't scare you, you are not dreaming big enough

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