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Natural sealant/finish for boxes

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Natural sealant/finish for boxes

Post  Tabitha on 3/29/2010, 3:11 pm

My husband is going to build some boxes out of cedar. We weren't sure what if anything to put on the wood as a sealant. I thought I heard Linseed Oil was a good organic option, but I just looked it up on the web and it mentioned that it would mildew faster then if the wood was left untreated. Does anyone have any suggestions or advice? Thanks so much in advance!

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Re: Natural sealant/finish for boxes

Post  timwardell on 3/29/2010, 6:11 pm

Tabitha,
Check out this link - http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10071.html#
I think it has the info you're looking for.
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Painting boxes?

Post  ander217 on 3/29/2010, 7:23 pm

DH and I finished planting our first box one week ago today. Yay! We built it from new pine lumber, and we painted it with some leftover latex outdoor housepaint.

Was that a bad thing to do? I notice that all the boxes in the photos on this site appear to be natural wood. We thought painting the box would make it last longer.

We plan to build more boxes in the future. What is the recommended finish for pine wood?
Thanks for any advice.
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Re: Natural sealant/finish for boxes

Post  Wyldflower on 3/29/2010, 7:32 pm

I'd suggest googling the MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheet) for your brand of latex exterior paint, and see what that says. (It will probably have different sheets for different colors.) Here's hoping it's non-toxic paint!

Did you paint both the inside and outside of the box? If only the outside, I don't think I'd worry too much.
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Re: Natural sealant/finish for boxes

Post  timwardell on 3/29/2010, 7:33 pm

ander217,
It's a matter of personal preference. Some people don't want any chemicals of any kind coming into contact with their Mel's Mix or their plants roots. Others don't mind too much. My large raised beds are cedar that is unstained, unpainted, and unsealed. I simply like the look of aged natural wood. That said, I built a new 3x3 box over the weekend and my daughter really wanted it be colorful. It was made out of plain 'ol pine 2x6 from Lowes and like you I was worried that it might rot rather quickly. I had some solid color wood sealer and stain left over from another project so we (mainly she) stained the box green. Obviously there are chemicals in the product I used, but my opinion is that there are chemicals everywhere and in everything. If I get cooties or grow and extra limb I'll post a video as a warning to others. Very Happy Until then I'll appreciate that my daughter enjoyed helping me "make the garden" as she put it.
Happy Gardening,
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Painting boxes

Post  ander217 on 3/29/2010, 7:43 pm

Thanks, Tim. I guess we never realized that even after paint is dry, it could still leach chemicals into the surrounding material. I would never use pressure-treated wood, but never thought about paint being a problem.

Have you found cedar to be a problem with any of your plants? I know a lot of plants don't like being planted near walnut trees and I'd be afraid to make boxes of walnut. Since cedar is so aromatic I thought it might be the same. (I guess you don't have to worry about moths, at least. Smile
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Painting boxes

Post  ander217 on 3/29/2010, 7:49 pm

Sorry, Wyldflower, I missed your post before I replied to Tim's. Thanks for that info, too. I'll check out the site. Unfortunately we painted both inside and out on the box.

Just call us unenlightened newbies! (Or ignorant rookies, or whatever.)
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Re: Natural sealant/finish for boxes

Post  Tabitha on 3/30/2010, 9:48 pm

Thanks for that tip! How are your boxes that are not sealed holding up?

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Re: Natural sealant/finish for boxes

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 3/30/2010, 10:54 pm

Hi,
I have boxes which are painted both inside and out. I chose loud, bright colors and I really like them. The formulas for paint have changed a lot in the last 20 years. Lead is no longer added and most latex paint should be just fine. I did some reading when I was pregnant and using a lot of paint. Doctor said it was fine, just do not eat wet paint. Some of the really new paint has a 0 for chemical impact. Back to what I know, my boxes have lasted about 6 or 7 years before needing to be replaced. Enjoy your boxes.

Patty from Yorktown
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Re: Natural sealant/finish for boxes

Post  timwardell on 3/30/2010, 11:04 pm

@ander217 wrote:
Have you found cedar to be a problem with any of your plants? I know a lot of plants don't like being planted near walnut trees and I'd be afraid to make boxes of walnut. Since cedar is so aromatic I thought it might be the same. (I guess you don't have to worry about moths, at least. Smile
I haven't noticed any problems. Last year's harvest was fine and would have been great had it not been for the squash vine borers.
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Re: Natural sealant/finish for boxes

Post  timwardell on 3/30/2010, 11:06 pm

@Tabitha wrote:Thanks for that tip! How are your boxes that are not sealed holding up?
They are looking more "weathered" than I expected after only one full year but they are holding together which is all I really care about. I expect to get many years out of them. We shall see.
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Pressure Treated Lumber

Post  timwardell on 3/30/2010, 11:12 pm

Here's a great PDF from the US Dept. of Agriculture that explains what is used in pressure treated wood.
http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/techline/whats-in-that-pressure-treated-wood.pdf
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Re: Natural sealant/finish for boxes

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/31/2010, 10:30 pm

Great find Tim, very helpful.
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Re: Natural sealant/finish for boxes

Post  ModernDayBetty on 6/13/2011, 2:49 pm

I'm tacking this on to this post because it's the closest I can find to my problem. I went out to water today and found mold. I have grass growing up around the pine boxes. I pulled the grass down to look for bugs to kill, found lots but also the mold. The boxes were built in March, filled in April and are not treated.

My plan of attack is to get the weed whacker out then use bleach diluted in water to spray the outsides of the boxes. I'm feeling like an ignorant newbie at the moment :o( I've been mowing the grass down but obviously not enough.

So I'm wondering, good plan to get rid of the mold/mildew issue? And does this mean I'm going to have to build new boxes already?
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Re: Natural sealant/finish for boxes

Post  Furbalsmom on 6/13/2011, 3:28 pm

krazikandiland

Is it mold or moss and is it on the wood or on the Mel's Mix?

I would be very reluctant to use bleach, even on just the outside of the box because it can be detrimental to the plants.

USING BLEACH AS A HERBICIDE

BLEACH AROUND THE GARDEN

WHAT DOES BLEACH DO TO GARDENS
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Re: Natural sealant/finish for boxes

Post  ModernDayBetty on 6/13/2011, 4:32 pm

@Furbalsmom wrote:krazikandiland

Is it mold or moss and is it on the wood or on the Mel's Mix?

I would be very reluctant to use bleach, even on just the outside of the box because it can be detrimental to the plants.

USING BLEACH AS A HERBICIDE

BLEACH AROUND THE GARDEN

WHAT DOES BLEACH DO TO GARDENS

It is just on the outside of the box and only on the wood. It is either mold or mildew (not sure if there's a difference). I was going to use 1 tsp for a large spray bottle filled with water, which is the food safe amount used at childcare centers. Any suggestions for what to do instead? I'm wanting to take care of the problem right away. Sadly, I did not see it a few days ago but there is a lot. Thanks for your helpful links :o) I was a little nervous about using it. Just don't know what to do.
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Re: Natural sealant/finish for boxes

Post  camprn on 1/4/2014, 1:46 pm

Bump

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Non toxic Wood preservative treatment

Post  ralitaco on 5/9/2015, 12:38 pm

I was re-visitting the great debate about whether or not to use treated wood in a veggie garden and came across this older thread and thought would be a good place to post a recipe I found in another gardening book for a non-toxic wood preservative


Just curious what the thoughts are from the best gardening forum, ever!
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Re: Natural sealant/finish for boxes

Post  sanderson on 5/9/2015, 2:27 pm

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002746.htm

Plain "UNBOILED" raw linseed oil is okay.

Handyman.com:  "As you probably know, raw linseed oil, sold as flaxseed oil in the grocery store, is edible and considered by some to be a health food supplement. To make boiled linseed oil, metal salts are added. They cause the oil to dry faster. While these render boiled linseed oil inedible, you'd have to consume a decent amount before it would be toxic. However, once the oil is dry, the metals are trapped in the film, making it perfectly safe for use on furniture"

It does not say safe for use on wood food items.  I don't know what metal salts are added.  Raw linseed is used to preserve wood salad bowls, cutting boards.

Wiki:  Boiled linseed oil

Today, "boiled linseed oil" refers to a combination of raw linseed oil, stand oil (see above), and metallic dryers (catalysts to accelerate drying).[19] In Medieval times, linseed oil was boiled with lead oxide[20] (litharge) to give a product called boiled linseed oil. The lead oxide forms lead "soaps" (lead oxide is alkaline) which promotes hardening (polymerisation) of linseed oil by reaction with atmospheric oxygen. Heating shortens its drying time.

I'm willing to bet a bazillion dollars that Lead is no longer used to boil linseed oil.  I don't know what other metal oxides are used today.


Example of MSDS:   http://www.onboces.org/safety/msds/E/E.E.%20Zimmerman%20Boiled%20Linseed%20Oil.pdf

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Turpentine

Post  ralitaco on 5/10/2015, 11:53 am

@sanderson wrote:http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002746.htm
Interesting info on the turpentine. that was the one "ingredient" that concerned me the most.
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Re: Natural sealant/finish for boxes

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