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    Author(s): Thomas M. Gorman; William C. Feist
    Date: 1989
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. FPL-GTR-60. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory. 81 pages
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Forest Products Laboratory
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.7 MB)


    For 65 years, the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wisconsin, has had a continuous and extensive program of research on finishing wood for outdoor use. The research has stressed the fundamental aspects of wood weathering and the interactions of pretreatments and finishes on wood surfaces. This report outlines the history of the FPL wood finishing research program, including the perspective of Dr. Frederick L. Browne, the program’s leader during the strategic years from 1922-1963. We describe the early research that established the important role of the wood substrate in finish performance and resulted in a classification of the paintability of wood by species, surface texture, ring orientation, and defects. We then follow the evaluation of wood finishing research at the FPL up to the present. The results of research on the degradation mechanisms in finishes, wood, and wood-based materials are described. This information has been useful in improving paint and finish systems for better performance and reduced maintenance costs. A major topic is how various finishes protect wood from moisture. The report describes the FPL Natural Finish, which was developed to provide homeowners with a more durable and reliable natural finish than the finishes available at that time. All the FPL research on wood finishing is documented in detailed lists of publications, arranged both alphabetically and chronologically. The report concludes with a discussion of continued research efforts that stress simple, economic, safe, and stable techniques for protecting the wood surface and enhancing the performance of wood in outdoor exposure.

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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.


    Gorman, Thomas M.; Feist, William C. 1989. Chronicle of 65 years of wood finishing research at the Forest Products Laboratory. Gen. Tech. Rep. FPL-GTR-60. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory. 81 pages


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    Coatings, finishes, finishing, wood composites, weathering, durability, paints, stains, varnishes, water repellents

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