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    Author(s): Mark Knaebe
    Date: 2013
    Source: USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, FinishLine, 2013; 2 p.
    Publication Series: Finishlines
    Station: Forest Products Laboratory
    PDF: Download Publication  (151.65 KB)


    The “Madison formula” was developed at the Forest Products Laboratory around 1950 as a simple linseed-oil-based finish that could be made from readily available components. It was one of the first formulations of its type—a penetrating finish that eliminated the problems with cracking and peeling commonly found with the oil-based paints available at that time. The finish could be made with pigment to give a semitransparent stain or without pigment to give a water repellent preservative (WRP). For more information, see the original 1979 document, “Forest Products Laboratory Natural Finish.”

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Knaebe, Mark. 2013. Alternatives to the Madison Formula, the Original Do-It Yourself Semitransparent Stain. USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, FinishLine, 2013; 2 p.


    finishes, stains and staining, Madison, linseed oil, alkyd resins, fungicides

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