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  #1  
Old 04-17-2011, 07:00 AM
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Default The need to seal wood before painting?

I have just got a book called CARVING COWBOY FACES Book Two by Claude W Bolton.

I have never really been happy with my painting. I carve from Jelutong, not basswood because I have a lifetime supply of it in my workshop. In Chapter one he gives a description of different woods and their characteristics.

On Jelutong he says the following. " Is more easily carved with power than hand tools. Jelutong is easilly cut but splits very easy. It paints poorly without sealing. "

Because of my inexperience I cannot really disagree with him on his description but at the same time I do not agree because I find it very easy to hand carve and much easier, for me at least compared to a sample bit of Basswood I tried.

But his comment on needing to seal it prior to painting is interesting, I may have to try sealing, but I thought that with ordinary acrylics you do not need a sealer coat, primer, undercoat, but just an extra coat as it is a self sealing paint.

But, to go with what the book says, if I wanted to seal what sealer would you recommend, if any at all. Just to make sure we are comparing apples with apples one acrylic paint I am familiar with is Jo Sonja's Acrylics, so if we use that as a standard we should all be on the same page.

Pete

Last edited by STAR; 04-17-2011 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:19 AM
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Default Re: The need to seal wood before painting?

Hi Pete,
I've never used Jelutong, but I have used Tupelo quite a bit in my duck carving past. I also have some experience with Jo Sonja, which are excellent, by the way. I always sealed my carvings with Deft Clearwood Finish (satin). Even though acrylics are self sealing, the water base would raise the grain in the tupelo and obscure some of the finer details. Sealing the wood also prevents the paint from absorbing into the wood at different rates, giving a blotchy effect. Hope this helps.
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:29 AM
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Default Re: The need to seal wood before painting?

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Hi Pete,
I've never used Jelutong, but I have used Tupelo quite a bit in my duck carving past. I also have some experience with Jo Sonja, which are excellent, by the way. I always sealed my carvings with Deft Clearwood Finish (satin). Even though acrylics are self sealing, the water base would raise the grain in the tupelo and obscure some of the finer details. Sealing the wood also prevents the paint from absorbing into the wood at different rates, giving a blotchy effect. Hope this helps.
------------------------

Thanks for the reply. Interesting that you mentioned Tupelo. Because in Clive's book he has Tupelo Gum and Jelutong under the same heading. But then goes on only to mention Jelutong as needing sealing.

My guess is you have the book, because it would be to much of a chance, just to mention Tupelo in a Jelutong request.

Pete
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:46 AM
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Default Re: The need to seal wood before painting?

Ah!. Maybe the penny has dropped and because of your reference to Tupelo and the possibility of raising the grain and loosing detail in Tupelo I think you may have hit the nail on the head.

I always felt my painting were a bit glass like but it was impossible for me to tell as I am only guessing what a Caricature painted carving like Lynn's would look like.

Carving without a mentor can be a lonely journey but the encouragement I am getting from friends is encouraging me to keep plugging on.

I gave my wife a Black Dexter Cow carving, like we have in our front paddock as one of her birthday presents. She said when opening up the parcel. Woh. a Dexter Cow, thanks, then looked at me and said, Did I carve that? Off course their was a bribe in there to get the Woh! She and my daughter are going to Europe in October for a month and wrapped arond the Dexter were quite a few Euro dollars.

So, maybe the jury is still out if the Woh! factor was my carving or the Euro's.

Pete
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Old 04-17-2011, 09:54 AM
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Default Re: The need to seal wood before painting?

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She and my daughter are going to Europe in October for a month and wrapped arond the Dexter were quite a few Euro dollars.

So, maybe the jury is still out if the Woh! factor was my carving or the Euro's.


Star, if you carve to please yourself, you'll save some money.
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Old 04-17-2011, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: The need to seal wood before painting?

I have often read that you should seal before paint. I nver do, but sometimes paint a second coat, which always comes out nicer than the first, so that first coat of paint is a sealer. The problem with acrylics (and their advantage) is they are water bsed, so the waoter in them is going to raise some of the grain and make a rougher surface than you had when you carved or sanded it. If you thin with water, to do a wash coat, you make this even worse, by a small amount. I light sand (320-400 grit paper or scotch brite pad) between a 1st and s 2nd coat will make a dramatic difference, so I'd imaging that would be the purpose of a sealer coat. my advice is to experiment. Maybe read some back issues of WCI, there are some great article devoted to painting.
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Old 04-17-2011, 02:22 PM
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Default Re: The need to seal wood before painting?

I like to use sanding sealer then several coats if very thin gesso.
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Old 04-17-2011, 02:53 PM
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Default Re: The need to seal wood before painting?

If a type of wood is likely to have its grain raised, then any form of paint will raise the grain. It usually happens more on soft woods than hard. And grain raising is more pronounced with water based paint than oil. So .... if you don't mind doing repeated coats, one to raise the grain, the next to do a nice job ... don't use any undercoat or sealer.

(We paint wooden boats with a rather thick plain white paint because it seals, fills a bit of grain, and is one h**l of a lot cheaper than finish paint.)

My favorite treatment for small carvings is a simple 50-50 mix of boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits. Apply liberally with a cloth. Let sit a few minutes. Wipe off the excess. Let sit for a day. This treatment prevents paint from raising the grain, and for those who like thin transparent acrylic washes, it is superb. The results almost glow. After the acrylics, or other paint, use a clear coat on top, satin or glossy as you desire.

Lastly: ----IF---- you use oil, be very careful of disposing of the oily rags; they can spontaneously combust. Read more: Bob Easton Blog Archive CAUTION – Oily Rags Can Kill
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:22 AM
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Default Re: The need to seal wood before painting?

Hi Pete
I'm with Bob and the linseed oil mix. A great sealer for any water based coatings you may add after. I have carved jelutong ( my first carving a small relief) and found it to be less hairy than basswood. the biggest problem is the latex pockets ( latex originally used as one of the main ingredients for chewing gum. Remember the old Bazooka or double bubble. It was gathered like maple syrup then cooked down in the forest and packed out on elephants in 500 lb. blocks) Anyway these need to be sealed and the linseed mix does it. Also for grain raising I damp cloth the piece to raise the grain and sand lightly with 400-600 wet/dry paper do this two or three times and the grain will not raise when applying paint. Dan
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:42 AM
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Default Re: The need to seal wood before painting?

I don't seal my carvings prior to painting as I want the paint to interact with the wood. The saying "oil and water don't mix" applies to sealed services too. As acrylic paint is water based it will have a tendency to bead when thinned if the surface it's applied to is completely sealed. Everyone sees to have their preferences on how to paint a carving. If you prefer one over the others then I would suggest you learn as much about how that person goes about painting a piece. One thing I know for sure is that if you sealed your carving and then tried to paint using the methods I use your results would in no way look like mine.

As for raising the grain by wetting a piece before painting I have never experienced such a problem. Once I finish the carving process I run my pieces through my Sand-O-Flex wheel using 360 grit paper. After that it's directly to the paint table, then a thin coat of Polyurethane varnish, and finally to my gallery.
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