Be sure to work on carving out of direct sunlight and the carvings core moisture has been stabilized. Begin by sanding the carving to smooth areas of obvious roughness. If using an electric sander, be careful not to stay in one place very long which may remove original carving detail and contour. After the carving is completely sanded it is ready for a coating of the oil based wood preservative. This should be applied by brush and is easiest to start at the top of a carving and work your way to the bottom. Additional application of wood preservative will help displace remaining core moisture and diminish the amount of potential cracking. Let prior coat fully penetrate the wood surface before applying the next treatment. After final wood preservative treatment, be sure the carving is completely dry before painting or applying a spar sealer. If the carving is being painted between wood preservative and sealer applications, be sure the paint is completely dry before sealer is applied. The sealer is most effective with a two process application. The first application is mixing 50% boiled linseed oil and 50% spar sealer together and brushing it onto the carving. The boiled linseed oil aids to absorb sealer into the wood for optimum protection instead of creating a "layer" of material. After first application is dry to the touch, the second and subsequent applications can be brushed on with 100% spar urethane. Your carving may have one or more non-visible holes in the base (bottom) extending up into the carving. These are intentional relief cuts to help the wood breathe, displace moisture, control excessive cracking, and prevent rotting. Do not apply sealer on the bottom or into the relief cuts as it will trap moisture in the carving. You may however spray insect killer into the cuts which prevent this area from becoming a desirable habitat for bees and insects. Repetitive single coat sealer applications to the outside carving is recommended each spring and fall or as needed.
If you have any specific questions please call 570-378-3099.