Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ipe and Penofin

I'm finally in the process of treating the Ipe lumber on my backsteps.  I did quite a bit of research and decided to use Penofin for Exotic Hardwoods.  It isn't a stain, and it isn't a sealant... it's just a preservative so that the wood doesn't gray.  Only one store in all of Dallas carried it -- and it was up north.  Several weeks ago I did a road trip to buy a gallon.

The instructions were somewhat daunting:  Scrub down the wood and let it dry for 48 hours.  (And in the meantime keep muddy dog paws off of it.)  Then, when the wood is cool to the touch and the outdoor ambient temperature is below 80 degrees, apply it with a China bristle brush.  20-30 minutes after application, wipe off the excess or it will be tacky. 

I decided not to do all of the surfaces at once, and to begin with just the bottom 3 steps.  I scrubbed them down Sunday morning.  Sunday afternoon I went to Home Depot to buy a China bristle bruch.  No brushes were labeled as such... turns out that means a natural bristled brush.  Apparently -- and I'm not making this up -- the Chinese were the first ones to use animal hair (natural bristles) in brushes, and so they are called China bristle.  ?? I'm calling for some consistency in labeling...  At any rate, I procured said China bristle brush and a can of turpentine for clean up.

This morning?  Lumber is clean and dry:  Check.  Temperature is below 80.  Check.  Lumber is cool to the touch.  Check.  I brushed on the Penofin, took the d.o.g. for a walk, and came back and wiped off the excess.


Whoa!  Talk about a total makeover!  I like it though.  And look how the Penofin really brings out the grain of the wood:

Tonight I'll scrub down the landing above the steps, and I'll apply the Penofin Friday morning before work.  I think I'll have to do the big landing in two sections...

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