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Old 03-19-2017, 07:32 PM
jasminerockart jasminerockart is offline
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Choosing quality cradled wood panels

Hi everyone, this is my first thread!

I'm trying to learn more about choosing and dealing with ready-made, cradled birch wood panels, so I have multiple questions/concerns. I’m still new to using wood as a substrate.

Sometimes, after I buy a panel , I find that it has short, dark (much darker than the grain) streaks. More than once, I've encountered various sized knots in surface (top side and underside) and/or in the cradle. I've attached photos so you have a better idea.

Are those streaks normal (I know little about wood)? I read on another WC thread that knots must be cut away, but I'm not sure what to fill them with.

I have a 24" x 48" in this condition that I've already bought, but am unsure about using for these reasons. I know wood is an organic, imperfect material, so I'm just looking for some basic standards to meet.

I'd be grateful for any help you could give me!
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Old 03-20-2017, 10:15 AM
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Re: Choosing quality cradled wood panels

This is why I use hardboard. It presents a smooth, uniform surface and is easy to prep.

If you must paint on plywood and don't want to become a woodworker, specify Baltic Birch, grade B/BB. One face should be free of mineral streaks and knots. Seal, prime, and apply a finish coat to the back and sides and you probably won't even need to cradle the piece. This link will explain more: http://www.woodworkerssource.com/blo...hen-to-use-it/

Knots and streaks like these don't matter on the non-visible portions. I wouldn't try to cut out the tiny knots on the painting surface. You may need to fill them if you can feel them or see roughness there. A small tube of wood filler should last a long time. Don't bother with the two-part stuff. It's epoxy and somewhat nasty. You can also use water putty.

You'll need to sand the wood filler. Apply filler sparingly because you don't want to sand too much, lest you sand through the veneer. Get 220 grit sandpaper and a sanding block.

The dark stuff is mineral streaks. They will try to bleed through your paint layers. They may succeed. Apply multiple coats of de-waxed shellac or shellac-based primer/sealer under your gesso.

As far as cutting out knots: they're frickin' hard. To do the job right you need an extremely sharp chisel and a way to keep the work piece from moving while you cut.
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Old 03-20-2017, 10:33 AM
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Re: Choosing quality cradled wood panels

In my opinion, the panel is not an issue. I would suggest sealing (GAC 100) and then gesso/primer...unless you want the wood grain to show.
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Old 03-20-2017, 10:56 AM
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Re: Choosing quality cradled wood panels

Before sealing fill the holes use normal wood glue (white one) and sawdust, sand after its dry. Then seal it, then gesso it, then paint
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:29 PM
jaytref jaytref is offline
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Re: Choosing quality cradled wood panels

I am a woodworker. I build furniture as my 'day job.' Those dark streaks are totally natural and nothing to worry about. Since these were sold specifically as artist panels, they really should be knot free, at least on the face. However, you should be able to fill in small knots with acrylic modeling paste, and then sand.
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Old 03-21-2017, 11:02 AM
jasminerockart jasminerockart is offline
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Re: Choosing quality cradled wood panels

Thank you for all your advice, everyone! This helps was my mind.
So if I understand, I should cut out any large surface knots, fill them with wood glue or acrylic modelling paste and sand them, then apply GAC 100.

Will the GAC 100 work as well as something shellac-based? It's a polymer. I work in acrylics, which changes the kinds of sealer I can use, yes?
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Old 03-21-2017, 11:06 AM
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Re: Choosing quality cradled wood panels

How are you going to cut out those knots? Personally, I would just fill them and sand.

I don't have any test data that shows shellac is a better sealer. What I do know is that luthiers have been using it for a couple of hundred years.
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:54 PM
jasminerockart jasminerockart is offline
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Re: Choosing quality cradled wood panels

I'm not sure. I don't think using an X-ACTO knife would be the greatest idea.
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Old 03-21-2017, 10:36 PM
jaytref jaytref is offline
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Re: Choosing quality cradled wood panels

No need to cut out the knots. If there is no actual hole there already, just seal or gesso over it. If you want to seal the panel before applying gesso, I would stick with an acrylic product like GAC 100 or Liquitex Matte Medium, to avoided any adhesion problems with the gesso.
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Old 03-22-2017, 05:38 PM
jasminerockart jasminerockart is offline
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Re: Choosing quality cradled wood panels

Thank you so much, everyone! I'll let you know how it turns out!
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:40 PM
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Re: Choosing quality cradled wood panels

If you choose a water based product to seal the panel, go with the GAC 100. The dried film is less permeable than a film with, for example, chalk in it.
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Old 03-25-2017, 01:50 PM
jasminerockart jasminerockart is offline
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Re: Choosing quality cradled wood panels

GAC 100, got it! I did a quick search and the best way is to pound them out with a wooden dowel. I'm thinking of using a pencil instead of a dowel since the knot is so tiny.
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