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I made a rose from Poplar planing scraps; the arranged, concentric, shavings are tissue-paper thin. I wanted to somehow seal and finish the flower so that it would have some degree of durability, mostly to keep the shaving-petals from cracking and flaking away over time.

I think I should probably use a "softer" finish like Poly to allow some "flex" so that if knocked, it wouldn't chip like varnish. My second idea was simply buying some clear epoxy resin and dipping the whole thing. I've never done an epoxy on anything before, so my concern is that it will turn cloudy (by nature of epoxy) or over time.

I could use some feedback from more experienced wood workers on what might work best. I only have an enthusiast level of experience with wood finishes.

Photo for reference:

photo of wooden flower

  • I'd worry about most (not all) epoxies being too thick for dipping... But that may be a good approach with other finishes, if the construction will take tolerate it. You might need to use a small brush to lift excess finish off the lowest points so you don't wind up with drops/pools of finish in those places. Spray application might also work. Sounds like a fun project; I'd like to see a photo! – keshlam Jan 7 '17 at 17:17
  • I actually never considered that as a possible issue, but I see how you may be right. I'm trying to avoid any spray products, I've never had results that impressed me, the grain never really comes out quite as nice as oil, brush-on products. Do you have any personal experience with that liquid-glass epoxy stuff? Here is a photo: goo.gl/photos/Wduoinq4xvERaRjBA – Matt Jan 7 '17 at 18:33
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    Even outright hard materials are flexible if they're thin — glass is flexible if you make it thin enough. So even 'hard' finishes can be much more flexible than you might at first think. That said, I think the best thing for this is not to finish it at all, just to protect it from being touched and if possible from dust settling on it. I made a ribbon decoration out of a (cedar?) shaving for the wrapping of a present approx. 2 years ago and came across it recently, it was still flexible and showing no signs of crumbling. Your rose looks super by the way! – Graphus supports Monica Jan 7 '17 at 21:38
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    Lovely work. I actually sorta agree that it might be best to put it under a display done or something of that sort, rather than risk compromising it. – keshlam Jan 8 '17 at 1:35
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    you can always dilute the epoxy in solvent in order to get it thin enough to dip coat. – aaron Jan 9 '17 at 14:36
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You should look into Waterlox.

It is very forgiving to use. And it forms an elastic (not plastic like the urethane based varnishes) layer which can bend and stretch a bit. It also absorbs somewhat into the wood and hardens there too.

A further benefit in this case over polyurethane is that you really can't sand that piece (which polyurethane needs to prevent cloudiness between layers, especially on uneven surfaces like that). Waterlox can penetrate itself and does not need sanding between coats.

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