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How to finish/seal cob in my RMH

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Thanks to lots of advice on this forum, our RMH is amazing, efficient and works perfectly. It’s been three years now. I made adjustments through the first two but it works great now. And my wife hate the look of it. I’ve never sealed the cob and it gets dusty and she hates the barrel. I see lots of suggestions for plastering the bench...linseed oil, concrete, etc. But I’m thinking there might be more recent experiences that I could use.

What’s the best options you’ve found? She would like me to build a wooden bench around the entire thing but then we lose some of the benefits of the warm cob on cold days...and that won’t prevent some from dusting off onto the floor.

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Location: SW Missouri
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The dust is a problem. I have not finished the mass on mine fully but will soon, most likely before the first of the year.

I'm going to polish mine as smooth as I can get it with a spray bottle of water and a smooth glass beer bottle.

Next I might be smitten for what I'm about to say by the eco friendly types, but intend to experment the zealing of the surface with lacquer or varathane. You would lose some of the ability of the mass to help maintain correct humidity in your house, but it would seal it completely and make it free of dust, which is the most important.

We put up a bunch of that pine tongue and groove ceiling and sealed it with lacquer. I had never used lacquer before, but it was recommended by my brother in law, a cabinet maker. I was impressed with the product! The smell/off gassing when its wet is awful, but it dries quick and is super hard. He did tell me its not great for a wearing surface though so a bench might not be ideal.  He suggested a varathane product for high traffic area.
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Location: Westbridge, BC, Canada
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Hi Joe,  Have had some good experience with using wheat paste in my finish layer for pretty much eliminating the dust. When mixed into the cob, it gives it a nice somewhat doughy texture that feels nice to work with too. A final coating of a drying oil would also help to give more abrasion resistance.
Havn't tried using flour paints yet but could be another option to look into. Lots of recipes online to use for both these options. Good luck.
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