Sealing 'Buffalo Board' / Birch Plywood Edges

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50020

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Hi

I am in the process of building a play centre for the 'kids and I am getting round to to the 'Climbing Wall' part of it.

The width of the wall is ~1600mm and I will probably go 1600-1800mm high. I have bought two 4'x8' sheets of Buffalo Board, and these will need cutting (leaving some significant off cuts!) so I am going to have many open edges on the boards. The boards are on an an outdoor plat centre, so I need to seal the edges to prevent de-lamination or other weather damage.

What should I use to coat the edges to stop the weather penetrating?

I have learned of Smiths Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer but this seems crazy expensive, and I am only needing to seal about 16m worth of 18mm edging, so surely wouldn't need 1 litre.

 

sploo

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Given the likely cost of Buffalo board, you could argue the CPES product isn't that expensive (in the sense that you're reducing the chance you'll need to replace the board).

An outdoor varnish would likely help a bit. A wood preserver would work (soaks in and prevents rot) but it's not intended for skin contact, so is probably not a good idea.
 

Richard_C

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Thinking aloud, not come across buffalo board but it looks excellent.

Can you chamfer or round over all your cuts (router?) so rain has nowhere to sit?

Do the board suppliers have a recommendation?

If I were doing it with outdoor varnish, I would significantly dilute the first coat or two so it soaks in then build it up with good long drying times between coats.
 

bobblezard

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Might not work work or be suitable in the case of your design but on first reflections I'd be tempted to trim the outside edges with 1" oak or similar, with an 18mm groove routed to fit to the board and outside edges rounded over. Would add strength, look good and might be safer too?
 

Cabinetman

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Similar to above, aluminium angle iron bonded on with something really sticky and waterproof. I used a cheaper version for a trailer bed, - still phenolic plywood, out in all weathers and it didn’t last 18 months so you definitely do need to seal the edges. Ian
 

TRITON

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Thinking aloud, not come across buffalo board but it looks excellent.
Ditto, but it looks like a standard ply that only has this phenolic face veneer(so to speak) rather than being some fancy new board material.
No doubt this outer layer will mean its hideously expensive.
 

Jameshow

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It's phenolic resin bonded board so it's waterproof. Used for signwriting, concrete formwork, trailer beds etc. Just needs the ends sealed. I'd use epoxy just warm it it to make it flow into the grain better, mix in small batches so it doesn't go off.

Cheers James
 

Bigegg

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If it's PROPER buffalo board: epoxy bonded, baltic birch marine ply, and not phenolic faced shuttering board, it doesn't _need_ sealing, other than for show.

I worked at a place which made custom access platforms for oil rigs, submarine depots, airfields, RNLI stations amongst other things: we used buffalo board all the time, and it never had any special edge sealant, other than a standard brown wood paint for cosmetic reasons.
 

50020

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Thanks for all the super replies.

If it's PROPER buffalo board: epoxy bonded, baltic birch marine ply, and not phenolic faced shuttering board, it doesn't _need_ sealing, other than for show.

I worked at a place which made custom access platforms for oil rigs, submarine depots, airfields, RNLI stations amongst other things: we used buffalo board all the time, and it never had any special edge sealant, other than a standard brown wood paint for cosmetic reasons.
It is proper buffalo board. In fairness the merchant I got it from did suggest that I treat the ends where I cut it based on my usage. I intend on having it vertical for a climbing wall. However, the usage above seems like it would be a far more harsh environment than your usage. I just hope to get a good 6-8 years safe usage of it.
 

clogs

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I always used a paint for metal, norm battleship grey....first two coats quite thin then a couple of coats as norm.....
I like the colour contrast and it does work well.....
 

TobyT

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Go to a playground and see what they use. It's been a couple of years since I had to troll down and stand around one while my kids attempted to kill themselves (or eah other), but I seem to remember that the edges are just rounded off. If they are treated then it's always a neat job, I can't remember seeing any sign of varnish/sealant making it's way onto the main surfaces.
 

Bigegg

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Go to a playground and see what they use. It's been a couple of years since I had to troll down and stand around one while my kids attempted to kill themselves (or eah other), but I seem to remember that the edges are just rounded off. If they are treated then it's always a neat job, I can't remember seeing any sign of varnish/sealant making it's way onto the main surfaces.

There aren't many varnish/sealants/paints/adhesives which will stick to phenolic, so clean up is extremely easy.
Even Pixy resin [1] isn't very reliable.

[1] auto correct. I like it. So I kept it. 🤣
 
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