Subject: Birch Saplings
Date: Sun, 12 Apr 1998

Thanks for just the information I've been looking for. I think I saw one of your products used on an episode of This Old House many moons ago, but by the time I realized what Norm was up to I'd missed the product name.

I have a window sill problem; interior and exterior. The exterior stuff seems clear enough, but the interior... ah-h there's another matter. I think the interios sill and window frames are poplar, stained dark and varnished. The windows themselves are leaded glass, casement type and the whole thing was built in 1930. The room faces south and over the years the condensation that forms on the windows in our cold Syracuse winters has rotted out the frames and the sills. There does seem to be a structural problem but I want to refinish and restain the sill and frames... and preserve the whole. Is there anything I can do to make the resultant surface stainable? Latex or oil base?

Part of the overall plan for this room is to use birch saplings to face the uprights on a set of bookshelves. The whole sappling gets pinned to the upright. The problem is, the saplings shrink dramatically as they dry. The skin loosens and they look dead. Is there a product I can immerse the newly cut ends into to sort of petrify the sapplings in their fresh cut state?

Thanks for your help and your products.
Dennis L.

Syracuse, New York


Yep, people have said that we appear now and again on *This Old House*. Speaking of which, 1930 is fairly old house -- at least it's older than me!

What our Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES) will do is reconstitute dry rotted wood. If there are large voids with missing wood they can be filled with our Layup & Laminating Resin. You mention structural problems, and all I can say about that is that the CPES will be useful to the extent that it flows into and around all the fastenings with the epoxy sealer. This may help, and we know it has been helpful to some extent on old wood boats.

What you would need to do is get the CPES into the wood. For the kind of application you're considering, this usually means drilling small access holes into which you inject the CPES. Once in there, it will migrate and wick itself into practically every corner and piece of bad wood. The wood needs to be reasonably dry. Where the bad wood is located you can determine to a large extent by the drilling, and also whether the wood is dry. Make the holes small enough that they can be filled with a paste wood putty if you want to finish clear.

CPES can be applied successfully over stains. Just lay down the stain, wipe it or finish it however you want, let it dry, and THEN apply the CPES. The CPES will lock the stain into the wood and give you a superior base surface for further finishes. The CPES itself give the wood about the same appearance and depth of color as a coat of clear varnish or polyurethane, both of which, by the way, adhere very well to the CPES. The CPES coating in and on the wood will go a long way toward protecting the wood from future wood/water problems.

As for the Birch saplings.... You could RETARD drying with a product like CPES, but not stop it. Eventually it will happen. My best suggection would be to let the saplings partially dry, and then coat them with the CPES, especially the end-grain. The epoxy will penetrate and might hold the bark in place and preserve the surface finish you're after. If that works, I'd then do it again later on after it appears that the saplings have dried as much as they're going to.

I hope some of this has been helpful. Get back to me with more questions, especially on the interior window frame rot, if you have any. We'll help in any way we can.