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How to finish the palletwood siding?

 
pollinator
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Hello, permies!!! I've been wondering how to finish the siding on my She-shed. ?? Hmm...

For 2 years, I've been working on this little she-shed. Its 14x12, just the right size for doing massages in; the original goal. I used mostly 2nd-hand materials, and kept the budget under $5,000. It has a 2nd loft and little wood cookstove inside, effectively making it an off-grid tiny house.

It's been a wonderful learning experience! Now I know gobs more about tools/building/stick-framing/building codes.

When it was ready for siding, the lumber I wanted would have doubled what I spent on the whole shed so far! So I used old metal roofing for a wains' coat, and I used free palletwood for the rest. It seriously took FOREVER! SO much work!!

I broke down the pallets, cut grooves on the tops and bottoms with my table saw, sanded themdown, and cut them to fit the she-shed. Now the question is: how would you finish the wood? Stain? Linseed oil? Paint? I'm curious if there is another option?
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Framing a huge window with a 6x6!
Framing a huge window with a 6x6!
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West wall
West wall
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I finished the north wall... 8 months pregnant
I finished the north wall... 8 months pregnant
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That great, big window, in the southern wall
That great, big window, in the southern wall
 
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Remind us where you live...  How dry or wet is it there?  Do you have ranches or old barns around and how are they looking for their age?
 
gardener
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Wow.
That is a thing of beauty!
I'm not qualified to advise, but congrats on such a great build!
 
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That's beautiful.  Awesome work!

For our outside, reclaimed, untreated wood structures we're using Pine Tar (also known as Stockholm Tar).  The Vikings used it to waterproof their ships.  You'll find heaps more info on Google, some of which is the dilution rate with linseed oil.

Congrats on your super rad she-shed!
 
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This thread might offer some suggestions:

https://permies.com/t/149767/ideas-toxic-finishes-pine-board
 
Mike Haasl
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If water can't splash up on it, you might be able to get away with no finish.  

My barn was built in the 60s and it doesn't have a finish and it's still in good enough shape.  The boards run vertically though so water can't sit on the joint.  I've seen really old buildings in the dryer parts of the country (Wyoming) that have what appear to be untreated boards on them that are a hundred years old.
 
Rebekah Harmon
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Hey, mike!

"My barn was built in the 60s and it doesn't have a finish and it's still in good enough shape."

We only get 9-11 inches of precipitation per year, in Central Idaho. High-mountain dessert conditions, probably like Wyoming. I have seen barns around me stand until they fall down, still with working siding.

My main concern is the large knots that fell out as I sawed the boards. Or maybe slivers in-between warped boards that show the wrap underneath. Some conventional builders have told me I need to paint it to cover up those discrepancies. Or because it's already used wood, and I should worry about it's longevity for that reason. I don't know how to address these ideas.
 
Rebekah Harmon
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Hey Thomas! Thank you.

For our outside, reclaimed, untreated wood structures we're using Pine Tar (also known as Stockholm Tar).  The Vikings used it to waterproof their ships.  You'll find heaps more info on Google, some of which is the dilution rate with linseed oil.

Does this give the wood a black stain? I mean, I think of tar, and I think of asphalt. Black and sticky! Is that assumption accurate?
 
Mike Haasl
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It looks pretty good as-is from the pictures.  Maybe add a pic of a missing knot hole or those slivers you're worried about.  With that level of rain I bet it would weather to a nice color all by itself.
 
Thomas Crow
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Rebekah Harmon wrote:Hey Thomas! Thank you...

Does this give the wood a black stain? I mean, I think of tar, and I think of asphalt. Black and sticky! Is that assumption accurate?



Just a quick stream of consciousness...

Haven't actually done it yet so I can't tell you how dark the stain is.  We only figured out where to get it cheap in bulk in NZ just before our rains started and as it takes several days to cure, we haven't had a long enough window to try it out.  We got it from a vet as it's used to treat fungal infections in horse hooves. That said, it will defo darken the wood, but more as a stain than like a bitumen paint that would just coat it in black petroleum tar.

Also it gets hard to do any serious research into Pine/Stockholm tar as words like "tar" and "creosote" are used to refer to similar products obtained from different feedstocks.  Pine tar is expelled in the process of making charcoal from heart wood (or charcoal is made from pine heart wood in the process of making pine tar).  The creosote we mostly hear of being toxic and used as a sealant is from coal.  Then of course there's pine tar, coal tar, or petroleum tar.

It's all hard.  I make no claims about personal or environmental safety - I dug into the idea about 6 months ago and my concerns were satisfied, but it was long enough ago that I can't tell you how they got satisfied.  

Defo do an image search for something like "Stockholm tar stained wood" and see if you even vibe with the colour, then maybe spend some time digging into whether there is cause for concern or not.  One could argue that it's ultimately dilute, liquid shou sugi ban.
 
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Really nice work, Rebekah! It's a stunning she-shed. I hope you get a great deal of joy from it.

I don't have any suggestions for finishing it, but it does sound like for your area and with the limited water than will be reaching those walls, you may well be safe not to add any surface coating.
 
pollinator
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Rebekah Harmon wrote: Now the question is: how would you finish the wood? Stain? Linseed oil? Paint? I'm curious if there is another option?



Nice work!

If you like or do not mind gray, absolutely nothing is an option for finish. 20 plus years old, crates rather than true pallets, vertical 'shingle' effect. Originally intended this to be the 'lean to' shed on a much larger barn. Never happened:-( Planning a same sized right side in the next year so will be looking for some finish to accelerate the aging so the new addition will match the old. Only the end pictured is covered in wood, same view we see from our house. Roof, short side and other end are covered in commercial painted metal. Tall side not visible by the neighbors or out our front windows is covered in what ever I could scrounge up.
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