Timber Processing Resources


Wood as the closest material to nature in the building requires special maintaining. There is the unusually huge amount of the colors, lacquers and other timber processing types and resources to do not interfere in a big assortment of shops.

Swedish Jantelagen, Law of Jante.// Photo: hejsweden.com

Wood is used extensively in building and interiors. Starting from a house frame, wooden beams, building elements, to interior decorations and miniature wooden figures. Today, it’s hard to find a dwelling that does not have the same piece of wood. The amount of use may vary, depending on the individual design of each room, but there is also a relatively inexpensive source of natural materials available.

The proper treatment of wood material is the primary condition for the durability of wooden building components, wooden frame houses, interior items. Appropriate wood treatment is already done industrially, but routine wood care and maintenance play an important role.

Wood treatment products and environmental impact

In order to protect human health and the environment, the European Community has established ecological criteria for the award of the Community Eco-label (Eco-label) to indoor paints and varnishes that significantly restrict the use of hazardous chemicals in these coatings.

Eco-label criteria are aimed at:

  • to promote the efficient use of products and minimize the generation of waste;
  • Reduce environmental risks and other risks such as tropospheric ozone accumulation by reducing solvent emissions,
  • reduce toxic or other pollutants in the wastewater. Apart from the eco-labels already mentioned, there are other eco-labels that manufacturers can choose depending on which market (Scandinavia, Western Europe, etc.) they produce their products, which ones are cheaper, etc.

The most commonly used eco-label in Latvia is Eco-label, Nordic eco-label (Nordic Swan) and German eco-label (Blue Angel). Although their appearance varies, the criteria for obtaining them are alike and one type of product with different eco-labels should be relatively similar to safety and environmental standards. Let’s take a closer look at different treatments and care products directly on the wooden surfaces. They differ in their application and purpose. As more and more attention is paid to the natural origin and ecology of industrial products, we will pay more attention to natural treatments in the survey.


The colors are based on two elements – binder and pigment. Filler (chalk, feldspar, barium sulfate) is also added to reduce the expensive pigment consumption. The quality of the color is provided by the first two – the basic elements.

The pigment is what gives the color a shade. Two types of chemical pigments are distinguished:

  • inorganic – consists of metal compounds. Most are found in ancient and contemporary traditional colors. Highly-coated inorganic pigments have good backing and light resistance. Earth-based pigments are derived from stale rock.
  • organic – consists of carbon compounds.
To ensure longevity, wood requires maximum protection. “Correct the barn” wooden frame in close-up. // Photo: Heiko Prigge // dezeen.com

Color features:

  • protect objects and structures from exposure to the environment;
  • decorative function – to visually create attractively and beautify.

Color groups:

  • Traditional – are based on ancient methods, technologies, using natural materials.
  • Contemporary – created using modern technology, from synthetic materials.

Traditional colors

As has already been mentioned, the growing interest in ecology and the construction of wooden frame houses, as well as the preservation of the cultural heritage, also has an interest in the traditional traditions of color making and their application. Interest grows not only in the construction of ecological wooden houses but also in various wood restoration processes. Traditional colors are called linseed oil, wood colors, Swedish (t.s. Finnish, Russian) paints, lime paints, egg tempera paints, and glue paints. In Latvia, with the production of paints, according to traditional methods, such masters as Edgars Raitums, more about blending colors and returning to traditional craftsmanship, see the magazine DECO, in August 2018, deals with craftsmanship.

One of the most distinctive features of traditional colors is their reversibility – they can be easily cleaned. Similarly, traditional colors are pronounced vapor permeable, which is a very important condition for the wood to be well ventilated. The traditional color pigments and binders (linseed, coarse wood, rye flour, organic, etc.), when released to the environment, can decompose completely, thus contaminating the environment. The colors of this type are more durable than modern colors and have a stronger connection with the colored material.

Line oil colors
The history of color goes back to the 13th and 14th centuries when it flourished in the 18th-19th centuries. The color contains inorganic pigment and hot-line linseed oil. Application: a painting of wood and metal surfaces.
• wear-resistant. The surface of the tree is absorbed up to 5 mm and a well-bonded surface.
• low consumption. When painting 1 square 2 times, 200-250 grams of paint are consumed.
• a layer of a thin layer of paint. The color is 6 times thinner compared to today’s analog.
• durable. The color of the life of the outside is calculated at least 10 years. Of course, with the condition that the work is done qualitatively, the deadline may be even longer.
• Color decreases while oxidizing, it is flexible.

• long drying time. It can take several days until the painted surface can be used.
• not available in stores.
• lack of information. Stingy information on the color application.
• Demands high-quality painting technologies.

Wood tar colors

Wood tar has antiseptics characteristics. In case of the usage, it is popular since medieval times. In Latvia, wood tar is widely used in seafood fishermen’s wooden house decoration (from the 17th-20th centuries). The red or black pigment is usually used. Wood tar is made of pine wood – roots and tops, resulting in a clear liquid, which adds a specific pigment to the coating properties.


  • the best ability to succumb on a surface;
  • elastic;
  • the roof of boards, shingle should be done every 5 years, while the facades remain for 15-20 years.


  • A long drying period;
  • Have to heat before painting;
  • Is not available in big shops;
  • Stingy information on the color application.


  • cheap;
  • do not harm the environment;
  • covered with a matte surface;
  • diluted with water;
  • easy to apply;
  • long-lasting (especially, the red pigmentation), ~50 years


  • is not available in big shops;
  • smears;
  • stingy information on an application.


Lime color
As already mentioned in the name – contains lime, lime juice or lime milk and pigment. The lime-colored substance fulfills both the binder and the filler function. Color in the territory of Latvia is known from the Middle Ages.
• cheap color
• environmentally friendly,
• Coating, with a matte finish
• Applies both internally and externally
• moisture-permeable.


• it is not possible to buy in supermarkets in a finished form;
• the lack of master craftsmanship in the preparation and application of colors;
• the color does not withstand the wear, smears,
• stingy information on application.

One of the finishing materials that is commonly used in traditional construction is linseed oil. Currently, it is used mainly in renovations – windows and joinery products. The bice includes chalk and linseed oil. At present, only English-made linseed oil “Vallance MULTI-PURPOSE linseed oil putty”, which is recognized by our specialists as being good enough, is currently available.

Colors nowadays

For modern colors, alkyd, acrylic, water emulsion paints are considered. The main advantage and high consumption reason are easy to purchase and perfect tinting in the required tone of the customer.

Time of the drying in comparison to traditional colors is much less, but after the drying, they become not elastic and hard in case of environment temperature and humidity changes.

This is the main cause of color cracking and peeling. This makes the water easy to penetrate into the material.

The presence of synthetic materials in paints does not allow the colors to decompose naturally, or they do not break down when they enter the environment. Compared to traditional colors, there are two further minuses – they have a short lifetime and are irreversible – only cleaned mechanically.

The modern color feature is that it contains 40-60% by weight of various solvents that evaporate over time. Consequently, when buying 1 kg of paint, 40-60% of its weight is lost, and only 400-600 g of paint remains on the surface.

Natural pigments are saved to get tones, instead of using synthetic pigments and more fillers, resulting in loss of color tone.


In Latvia started to use since 50. – 60. Of the 20 century. In a content of the alkyd colors, there are diluted alkyd resin, filler, and pigment. Is used for wood and metal surface painting.

Pluses: easy to buy, it is thick, medium wears resistance, relatively cheap. Medium fast becomes dry. One of the rare renewable colors.

Minuses: humidity impervious (there is a film) and a short service time (till 5 years).

Acrylic colors

Intensively started to be in use since 20 century. It contains acrylic and water, as well as various additives. Used for painting wooden surfaces.

Pros: Easy to buy, thin, moderately abrasion resistant and relatively inexpensive. Very quickly dries. Apply with the spray gun.

Cons: Moisture proof (the solid film is formed). Short life (up to 5 years).

Water emulsion

Known in Latvia since the 20th century. In the 60s, it intensively began to be used in the 20th century. the end. It consists of a diluted PVA adhesive with filler, water, and a pigment. Used for interior decoration.

Pros: Easy to buy, thin, abrasion resistant, relatively inexpensive. Very quickly dries. Easy to apply.

Cons: Moisture-proof – forming a film.

Silicate paint

The territory of Latvia has been known since the 20th century. The 30s, but intense use began in the 20th century. 5th anniversary. It is a durable, city-facing facade paint with good resistance to unfavorable conditions.

Pros: Easy to buy, cover, wear resistant. Fast drying

Cons: Irreversible, poor shade resistance, compared with traditional colors, expensive.

Photo: gridasmeistars.lv


Varnishes are materials that, after drying out, form a thin, rigid and transparent coating. In essence, the varnishes are also paints, they do not contain pigments. They are used to protect the painted and unpainted surfaces, look for improvement both as an individual coating and as a finishing touch for the finished (lacquered) object. Depending on the composition of the varnish, you can create shiny, semi-matte and matte coating layers. There are different types of varnishes after use – wood, metal, nail polish, hair lacquer, etc. Similarly, varnish names use different names, which often lead to confusion buyers.

Let’s take a closer look at the varnishes seen for wood treatment, but first of all, let’s mention the preparation of the wood surface before lacquering.
Before lacquering, the surface must be clean and dry. The previously undamaged surface is cleaned of dirt and dust. If necessary, dry the surface with as finely sandpaper as possible.
For old surfaces coated with varnish coatings, the old varnish must be removed. It is best done with sandpaper. Special cleaning detergents can also be used to remove varnish, but it should be remembered that any contact with water and moisture deforms wood. With a suitable tint pile, all the cracks and roughness are sprayed, then the surface is again sanded with sandpaper and cleaned.

Polyurethane Varnish

Polyurethane varnish is a very high-quality polymerizable resin lacquer, which after hardening has a pronounced abrasion resistant coating, therefore it can be used on surfaces that are intended for intensive use. The varnish is resistant to water and chemical agents, it can be used both in outdoor conditions and indoors. The varnish is UV resistant (it does not burn). The lacquer is well glued to the tree, it is a useful use of lacquer parquet.

Depending on the type of hardening, two types of polyurethane varnishes – one component and two components – are distinguished. The one-component lacquer hardens with air humidity, while the bicomponent lacquer hardens when a chemical reaction between the varnish and the catalysts adhering to it is solidified.

Varnishes have significant minuses – they evaporate, causing odor, and, by solidifying, it draws dust.

Acrylic Lacquer

Sometimes acrylic varnishes are called dispersion varnishes, they are soluble in water. Lacquers of this type are based on water, do not contain solvents, and therefore – more environmentally friendly. When working with acrylic varnishes there is much less fume and odor, so it can be used in rooms where people stay. The absence of solvents makes the acrylic lacquer makes fireproof, non-combustible, allowing it to be used in rooms where there is an increased fire risk and explosion hazard. These lacquers form a smooth (lacquer) coating that does not specifically highlight the structure of the wood. The surface treated with acrylic varnish retains brightness over time. It quickly dries and can be washed with water.

The properties of the lacquer are their low abrasion resistance compared to polyurethane varnishes, so it is not recommended to apply on intensively loaded surfaces.

Alkyd varnish (urethane alkali)

Alkyd varnishes are based on artificial resins, they are more suitable for the treatment of low-density surfaces. The lacquer absorbs deeply into the wood, maximizing the structure of the wood and obtaining a peculiar, warmer wood shade. Such varnishes are best recommended in matte form, making the surface look silky soft. It is advisable to apply the varnish as thinly as possible, in order to achieve a more attractive appearance and avoid lacquering.

The negative properties of lacquer are their relatively low abrasion resistance.

Lacquer with acid hardener

Varnishes are based on formaldehyde resin and their wear resistance is highest, so they are used in areas where the surface is subjected to intensive use. Formaldehyde gives a little warmth and brightens the surface in a lighter color than natural wood. This type of varnish is easy to polish and is recommended on the surface in a lossy manner. Like polythene lacquer, this lacquer well-glued wood details, which is not an insignificant factor for parquet.

The negative properties of the lacquer are its vapors, so during the drying and laying process, work in rooms with good ventilation and additional equipment (gloves, respirators, etc.).

Nitrolac (nitrocellulose)
The nitroblast plus is its short drying time (~ 1-2h) and drying between layers (~ 20.min). It is mainly used for furniture and other wooden parts. The nitroblast is applied with brush, foam roller or by spraying it.
The properties of the lacquer are a high fire risk when applied, as well as its low abrasion resistance.

Staining is wood tinting to enhance the natural color of the material, make it more uniform in different tones or conceal a wood defect. Although this may seem like something very complicated from the beginning, the truth is that the process of staining is simple.
Variety of beices
The rootstock is a water-based or alcohol-soluble dye, which can also be tinted polish. The advantage of tinted lacquer is that its consistency ensures a homogeneous texture. The result is a slight gloss.

Color selection is unlimited. A distinction is made between natural and artificially created pigments. From natural colorants, use of onion peel, apple, almond, oak peel, barberry root, or even extracts of tea and coffee.
Nowadays, for the most part, everyone uses synthetic (aniline) made from coal, tar or petroleum products, they are found in both dry and prepackaged form. The most commonly used raw materials range includes pericarp beices suitable for both indoor and outdoor work. These beices not only give the wood the desired hue, but also make the tree more durable, because the characteristics of the beices are deeply absorbed in the wood and thus increase the wear resistance and protect from the adverse effects of the surrounding environment. The advantage of all these products is that the stained wood is not flammable, protected from ultraviolet radiation, increases the material’s durability.

Preparation of staining materials

Basic decoration materials can be wooden floors, walls, stairs, garden furniture, window frames, log houses, and even wooden frame facades. Before staining, make sure that the beice is designed to interact with people in the living room. Due to the presence of beices with toxic chemical ingredients, it should definitely pay attention. It is worth paying attention to the fact that not always the chosen beice will look exactly as you would like, as it is influenced not only by beice itself but also by wood material. Spruce trees are always harder to get stale and beice will take longer to absorb, but the leaves will be easier to perish. The positive aspect is that, if the color is too dark, it can be diluted with water.

Stacking process

Whatever the chosen staging object, it’s important to first try it in a smaller area. Make sure you do not paint completely on the entire area, but first paint a small portion to make sure the color is not too dark or too bright.

Brush or roller is used for staining, before applying it, thoroughly mixing stale. Before brushing, brushes are cut. Cut about one third of the bristle with scissors, thus making the joints harder and easier to apply thin beaks.

It is important to keep in mind that staining work should not be done on sun-drenched or damp wood, otherwise the coating will not be of good quality. Staging should be done in several rounds with a multi-day interval. It is best to cover the coating in 2-3 rounds with the same amount of days, then the coating will be more durable and more qualitative. Note that the drying time of each layer is 24 hours.

When the beice is properly sucked in the tree, you can observe places where the beice is not sucked. It is advisable to wipe these wet areas with a dry napkin or cloth and then the rest of the area to make the coating smoother. The used napkins or cloths should definitely not simply be discarded, as they are flammable, just like when processing wood with linseed oil. They should be placed in a container with water and they can be thrown off after a few hours of kneading.

A House in the Forest. Igloo Architecture. // Photo: Andrei Creangă // archdaily.com


One of the biggest drawbacks to using wood is that wood quickly wears out and rotates. Because wood is a natural material, it can easily cause rotting and various fungi. In order to avoid this, and to slow down this process, different antiseptic substances should be used. These can be both oil and water-containing substances.


Water-containing substances will protect not only against rot and fungi but also against insects and fire. These substances are available in any building materials store, the key is to choose the right look or the moisture content of the wood is appropriate to that indicated on the packaging of the substance. Each situation has its own antiseptic – one for wood, which is in a closed environment and is not exposed to the environment, the other provides wood with fire protection, but some antiseptics are so strong that it can ensure the preservation of wood in water and land. There is also an antiseptic designed to protect freshly sawn timber from the appearance of blue and mildew, while others destroy wood-insects and fungal-damaged timber. Of course, there are also universal antiseptics that perform several functions simultaneously.

Woodworking process: Antiseptics can be applied, for example, by dipping the wood in solution or using a brush or sponge. The most effective way is to dip, since the substance only works in places where it is applied. When rendering an antiseptics with a brush or sponge, it must be done very carefully, also handling all corners and joints. In any way, then the wood should be dried in fresh air for at least 3 days.


Antiseptic agents are not the only remedy for fungi. Bleaching is also great for it, and it also makes the wood visually appealing, since it removes yellow tints and various defective tufts. Bleaching agents may be chlorine-free or chlorine-free. Different bleaches are available that have different effects. It is better to choose bleach with chlorine because it acts deeper on the surface of the wood. The minus for bleaching with chlorine is that the bleach is a very poisonous and corrosive substance, so strict safety precautions must be taken. Be sure to use gloves and goggles. The process itself is not difficult – brush with wood with bleach and wait until it is in operation.

Flame retardants
Fire retardants are used in new and reconstructed buildings – for the processing of lumber (laths, planks, rafters, beams, etc.), which ensures the production of hard-burning or hard-flammable wood. Special fire retardants are intended for the treatment of wood surfaces and for the protection of combustion, various insects, fungi, atmosphere, soil, and water. Special anti-flame retardants for protective wood treatment in enclosed building structures that are not exposed to direct atmospheric precipitation (i.e., indoors) are also created. Fire retardants can be coated with other types of coatings (varnishes, paints) to improve the finish of the wood. To obtain anti-fire and antiseptic protection, it should be applied in 2-3 rounds, on a dry or wet wooden surface with a roller or by dipping the wood in solution for 2-3 minutes. The drying time at a temperature of 20 ± 2 ° C is 2-3 hours.
Anti-fire flame action mechanism – on a wooden surface it forms a film coating, which, under the flame, turns into a dry foam layer and prevents the flames from accessing the surface of the wood. Not toxic, does not contain polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). They also do not reduce the strength of the wood. When finished, tools can be washed with a lot of water (especially aluminum parts).