Applying liquid preservatives
Many builders treat exterior millwork with liquid preservatives to protect the wood against fungal decay. Unfortunately, chemicals that kill fungi can also be deadly to humans, animals and plants. Spraying is a hazard because of drifting mist, arid dip-treating in vats is practical only for small pieces or commercial operations. Brushes or rollers can’t hold much of these thin, volatile liquids, so more preservative dribbles down our sleeves than onto the woodwork. The challenge, then, is to treat the wood without spilling any on Our skin, clothing or the surrounding area.
To apply liquid preservatives, I use a plastic squeeze bottle that in a previous life contained liquid dish soap. I squeeze the empty bottle to expel air, dip the tip into a can of preservative, and release my grip so the bottle sucks in the liquid. With the bottle about half full in one hand, I feed a brush (or roller) in my other hand. I squeeze preservative directly onto the bristles to keep them wet while I move the brush along the wood. If liquid starts to trickle, I stop the flow, catch the drips with the brush, and work the excess into the surrounding wood. This way I can even control the flow of preservative while treating corners, edges and vertical surfaces. Of course, I still wear rubber gloves and goggles, but with this method more preservative ends up on the wood and less on me and other living things.
J. Azevedo, Corvallis, OR