I have recently started a new hobby craft. The projects consist of constructing fairy houses for outdoor gardens. I will be using multiple types of softwood and hardwood: driftwood, old untreated natural wood and treated lumber. What products are the best to use to clean, sanitize and for weatherization? I want to make sure that the peices are sanitary, basically have no critters and will not have amy types of fungus, disease etc. that could potentially spread. Also, I need a product that provides long lasting protection from the outdoor elements. Also, once treated I will be adding minimal decorations (ie. Dried and silk flowers, small plastic or metal trinckets, etc.) What wood adhesive do you suggest is the best and longest lasting? Should I seal first and then add the decorations and then reseal? I would appreciate any advice you are able to provide me. Thank you!
Let’s break your question down into its parts:
Many methods ensure you don’t have bugs and borers in your wood. For an environmentally friendly method, you can freeze the wood in your deep freeze for three days. Thaw it out, then freeze it again.
The nuclear method is to use permethrin-based products; however, if children will use your projects, I don’t recommend it.
In truth, unless you have borer, or woodlice, in your wood, I wouldn’t be stressing too much about critter culling.
Use simple old bleach. If the wood is small, immerse it in a mixture of two cups of bleach per gallon of water, and weigh it down to keep it under. Leave for three to four days. Ensure it’s completely dry before using.
Spray the wood with a strong bleach and water mixture for larger pieces.
No need to go expensive; there are plenty of polyurethane glues for outdoor use. Gorilla Glue is one (https://geni.us/cO7Xu).
In my opinion, I wouldn’t be concerned with bleaching and insect-killing old wood, only for driftwood or wood that is obviously dirty or infested. If it’s just a bit dirty, scrub it with soapy water.
I’d glue first, then seal. The glue will stick to the sealing coat, but the bond depends on the surface film’s integrity. Sticking the decoration directly to the wood and sealing after will give the best bond.
I hope that helps. Good luck with your projects.