Carving basswood is quite simple. It has virtually no wood knots and very little

grain. All of this makes it ideal for whittling and other low-impact wood carving techniques.

On the other hand, basswood is notorious for being difficult to stain and/or finish.

Why Should a Basswood Panel be Sealed before Painting?

There are several advantages to sealing a basswood panel before painting it. Create a nice, uniform surface for your wood panel and seal it before painting to protect it.

Sealer is a glossy, non-absorbent compound that creates a barrier on the wood surface to protect it from the elements. Apply a sealer to your basswood panel before painting to protect it. Wood’s natural compounds can deteriorate paint over time, but sealing protects your product from this. Sealants smooth the surface of the wood and give it a uniform appearance. When the sealer is applied, the paint will not be absorbed into the wood pores, allowing the topcoat to rest better on the surface. Applying paint to a wood panel without sealing it first may result in warping or cause other damage.

How do you get the wood ready?

Woods are generally porous, absorbing water, oils, and colors quickly. Basswood, which is a softwood, is the most commonly used wood for character carving and fish decoys, and is highly absorbent. It will require some pre-treatment before any painting to achieve the smoothest possible paint surface. Each project will focus on a different pre-treatment method.

Pre-treatments for wood

Wood pretreatments are a type of treatment that is applied to the wood before it is used.

  1. Carve with a flat plane or fine shaved carving.
  2. Sand using sandpaper grits ranging from 220 to 320.
  3. Apply two light coats of sanding sealer.
  4. Follow with two light applications of a mixture of 1/2 linseed oil and 1/2 turpentine.
  5. Apply two light coats of spray sealer or polyurethane using a brush.
  6. Buff the surface by hand using a soft cloth.
  7. Finish off by brushing the wood.

How do you mix the sealing and painting steps?

With any type of paint, any pre-treatment for the wood can be used. This means you may use acrylic craft paints over a linseed oil finish, oil paints over acrylic antiquing, and even oil paints over a colored pencil foundation that has been spray sealed.

What kind of final finish are you going to use?

To preserve your basswood and paint from the environment and UV radiation, apply a final sealer or finishing coat. This is how you apply a final finish:

  1. Use a polyurethane sealant that may be sprayed or brushed on.
  2. A mixture of linseed oil and turpentine.
  3. Apply a coat of Tung oil, often known as Danish oil.
  4. Apply the acrylic sealer using a brush.
  5. Using a soft cloth, buff the surface by hand.
  6. Apply a wax finish with a rubbing and buffing motion.

Final Thoughts on Basswood Workability and Sealing

When it comes to stains and treatments, basswood is a difficult wood to work with. If done incorrectly, the finish might appear uneven and blotchy. This is because basswood is too porous for any stain or finish to adhere uniformly to it. So, before applying any sort of finishing topcoat, remember to saturate this thirsty wood type with numerous coats of wood conditioner.

Contact Tropical Forest Products for your basswood needs as it makes an excellent wood for carving. All wood sourced by us is ethically harvested and of the highest quality. Call us at  (647) 494-8142 for us to help you with any sort of lumber needs. Our competitive prices are easy on your wallet, and don’t compromise on quality.