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UV Protection and Sealants for Pyrography

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  • UV Protection and Sealants for Pyrography

    So I have begun selling my wood burning pieces this year. Up to this point I have done all very dark burning. Once the piece is complete, I use Varathane stains either very light colors or clear. After the stain is dry I use the Rustoleum 2x Clear. I spray one coat, sand lightly after dry, and apply a second coat. More recently, I have begun doing some dog portraits. My question is 2 fold-

    1- Do I have to worry about the stains causing yellowing over time? Should I skip the stain and just do the Clear, or perhaps a water based poly as I've seen some suggest? My concern is the Poly yellowing over time, but the only time I've had that happen to me is when it was applied over the stain, so perhaps that caused the yellowing?

    2- What are some of the best products for UV protection? I know it won't prevent the lighter parts of the burning from fading over time, but I'm looking to prolong the life of the piece as long as possible. I know there are sprays, but I'm also wondering about using epoxy resin with UV protectants in it. Has anyone used that and had success?

    Any tips and tricks would be greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    Two questions:
    What species of wood is this? and Where will the finished work reside?

    There seem to be a couple of standards here for outdoor wood (UV protection.)
    They require maintenance. Orange colored which I do not like at all.
    #1 Spar varnish. Cracks and peels and will need sanding before refinishing.
    #2 Sikkens Cetol. An expensive 2 part brew that really does stand up to the weather where I live.
    Lots of rain and temperature swings (shade) from +47C to -35C.

    I suppose that after you have paid for a $20,000,000 log home, the cost of the finish is incidental.
    Brian T


    • #3
      It would help to know if this is inside or outside, like Brian asked. I don't know about poly yellowing. Anything with oil can yellow over time, so if the stain was oil based that may be. However, oil based anything is more protection outdoors, so it is a trade off. I don't have a lot of experience with epoxy resin, but what exposure to it I have had, it isn't going to be a clear finish, there are, however many brands. Do a search for finishing wood boats, there are some great articles out there on using resins.


      • #4
        Many bare (unfinished) woods will change color over time. A clear finish over bare wood may slow the change, but not much. Some clear finishes will yellow. My experiences with wood carvings: spar varnish over basswood & walnut (indoors, 45 years) - yellowed. Oil-based clear finish over redwood (outdoors, 20 years) - darkened. Water-based poly over basswood (indoors, 5 to 15 years) - slight darkening of wood, no change to finish.


        • #5
          Adding to Phil's. Redwood, unfinished, indoors 15 years, changed from reddish to brown.

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          • #6
            I use epoxy resin on all of my pyrography pieces. I just love the thick glaze it puts on them. Looks like they are under glass. I have some older pieces that have slightly yellowed. Just a little. There are resins that have uv protectant in them, like Stonecoat Countertop brand. They have just came out with one that they claim is non-yellowing. However, it is a matte finish. It's made for durability on countertops. I haven't used it because I, personally, like the glossy finish. I use Pro Marine brand epoxy. Great results so far. All my pieces are indoors
            The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls... Pablo Picasso


            • #7
              I use tung oil and paste wax and yes it can yellow over time. Renaissance wax is used in museum pieces.

              Penetrating oils seem better than topical finishes...lots of choices out there.

              Living among knives and fire.



              • #8
                Be careful Matty, very few epoxies have UV stabilizers in their mix. Even if they advertise UV protection, it is minimal, you still need a topcoat with UV stabilizers for outdoor use. So it's kinda like double duty unless you just really want the thickness created with the epoxy. Saw a picture recently, online, one of the ever popular "river tables" with the colored epoxy filling the gaps of the wood separations... they had placed the table in the corner of the house, their dining room, afternoon/evening sun came through the window and had caused some real issues with the epoxy. Turned cloudy and was starting to turn "dusty" on the surface. The part of the table not exposed?? looked great. They asked for help to solve the issue and being the jerk I am?? I posted for them to simply turn the table around and "weather" the other end..... so they would match! Yup, they failed to see the humor from my perspective.


                • #9
                  grrrrrrrr never mind, I didn't look close enough at the date.
                  Retired Dimensional Graphics Artist (a/k/a Sign Carver)