If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

What's the best primer for exposed woodwork?

Discussion in 'Heritage Rolling Stock' started by Graham Phillips, Oct 3, 2021.

  1. Graham Phillips

    Graham Phillips New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    154
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    A truck mechanic's life is the life for me.
    Location:
    About half way between Bewdley & Arley on the SVR
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    This must be a common problem. I searched, but couldn't find it having been asked before.
    We seem to have a significant problem with topcoat, undercoat and primer all peeling off in one go, so I'm assuming it's the primer that's failing. This happens on everything from vertical wagon sides to horizontal running boards.
    We've been using basic cheap acrylic primer at around £12 for 2.5 litres. Is this the problem?
    Is the £45 for 2.5 litres stuff worth the extra?
    I believe it is still possible to get lead primer. As we are unlikely to get children chewing our wagons, would this be worth looking into?
    What are other people using?
     
  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    9,778
    Likes Received:
    15,843
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    It may be old-fashioned of me, but I'm still distrustful of water based paints for things like that. I much prefer an oil/solvent based wood primer. For years our supplier Williamson's has sold Mastercraft wood primer, but since they've been taken over by Thomas Howse they seemed to have switched to Crown, which is also solvent based. We haven't been using it long enough to find out how good it is yet! So far all we've noticed is it takes longer to dry than Mastercraft.
     
    Graham Phillips likes this.
  3. Aberdare

    Aberdare Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2016
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    1,239
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    West Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    By far the very best primer for exterior timber is "Timberseal PS". It comes from the wooden boat industry.

    https://www.boatpaint.co.uk/cgi-bin/sh000005.pl?WD=timberseal&PN=Reactive-Resins-Timberseal-PS.html#SID=894?a39395

    Basically its a very thin 2 pack epoxy which sets but when set is still slightly flexible. It can even be painted onto semi-rotten timber and still holds paint for years when all the paint around it is flaking off. Downside is that being a 2 pack epoxy painting time is limited before it starts to go off, and brushes have to be cheap and disposable.

    H&S restrictions apply regarding ventilation etc so read the instructions/MSDSheet.

    You don't have to believe me, give it a try on your most troublesome wagon and see how well it survives.

    Andy.

    EDIT - I have found that a single coat is enough, and that once dry it can be painted over using any conventional undercoats and gloss.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2021
    Greenway and Graham Phillips like this.
  4. Graham Phillips

    Graham Phillips New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    154
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    A truck mechanic's life is the life for me.
    Location:
    About half way between Bewdley & Arley on the SVR
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    How strict is the overcoat time on that Timberseal PS? Minimum 8 hours to maximum 4 days may be difficult to achieve in the winter when I'm only there one day a week.
     
  5. DR73202

    DR73202 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2009
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    24
  6. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    10,567
    Likes Received:
    7,404
    Occupation:
    Gentleman of leisure, nowadays
    Location:
    Near Leeds
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    As I understand it from Williamson’s, they haven’t been taken over by Thomas Howse but the reverse. However, as the paint mixing equipment at Howse was better than at Williamson’s the factory at Ripon was shut down and it is now simply a distribution depot and sales counter.
     
  7. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    9,778
    Likes Received:
    15,843
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Oh! That's interesting. We (belatedly) got sent a letter with the following earlier this year:

    Dear Customer,
    I am pleased to announce that as from the 1st of January 2021 we will have successfully merged our business with our sister company Thomas Howse Ltd, also owned by the UK Coatings Group Ltd.
    We will continue to operate the T & R Williamson brands and the site in Ripon but all administrative and accounts functions will be consolidated at the head office in Rowley Regis. I am confident you will receive even more support and cooperation from all of our sites, the new laboratories and the benefits of our extended product range which now includes powder coatings. I am sure we can continue to work together to develop and grow the business with all the benefits the merger brings. T & R Williamson will henceforth be an operational unit within Thomas Howse Ltd and as a result of the merger some of our contact details will be changing.


     
  8. toplight

    toplight Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,192
    Likes Received:
    1,041
    Location:
    Swindon, England
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I use this stuff all the time for priming wood and metal, painted a whole coach with it, soaks into the wood.

    https://www.johnstonestrade.com/product/quick-dry-zinc-phosphate-primer

    Wonderful paint, covers everything in just one coat, starts drying in about 1 hour without any brush marks. You can get it in 2.5 or 5 litre tins. I have always used the red oxide, but they do it in grey and white too but not tried those. You can get it in Johnstones decorating centres. (Ask for a discount) Use Cellulose thinners to clean your brushes and stop them going hard. Other paint goes on top of it without any issue.

    The two ones you have quoted are both water based paint, wouldn't use anything water based unless it's say the interior of your house.
     
  9. 2995valliant

    2995valliant New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    69
    Owatrol oil: https://www.owatroldirect.co.uk/product/owatrol-oil/

    It's single pack, soaks into timber (or rust) like nothing else and sticks like you-know-what to the proverbial blanket. It does take a while to dry, especially at lower temperatures, but won't let you down.

    It's not cheap but we've been using it on professional boat repaints for years and it has never let us down. If you want to two-pack on top of it they do a different, red tinted version: https://www.owatroldirect.co.uk/product/cip-corrosive-inhibiting-primer/
     
  10. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2013
    Messages:
    589
    Likes Received:
    523
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    durzet
    For bare timber, Sadolin Superdec. Two coat system, 10 year guarantee, As a decorator I use it locally on exposed timbers along the harbourside in Weymouth. It is also, I believe, used on sailing boats as well.
     
    Hunslet589 likes this.
  11. Graham Phillips

    Graham Phillips New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    154
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    A truck mechanic's life is the life for me.
    Location:
    About half way between Bewdley & Arley on the SVR
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Thanks, that's six recommendations so far, and each one different. The one thing everyone seems to agree on though is that conventional water based primers are not the best, so we'll definitely move away from those.
     
  12. Southernman99

    Southernman99 Member Friend

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Messages:
    703
    Likes Received:
    310
    Graham. In the C&W both at Kidder and Bewdley. We use aluminium wood primer and have never had a major issue with it.
     
    Graham Phillips likes this.
  13. toplight

    toplight Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,192
    Likes Received:
    1,041
    Location:
    Swindon, England
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    On thing to bear in mind with paint, is don't get it from somewhere like B and Q. For example with the Johnstones paint, they have two basic products lines, retail paint which for them has a blue logo and trade paint which they sell in decorating centres and which has the red logo.

    The retail stuff they told me themselves is very thinned down and will never coat as well, it is designed to make it cheap alongside other competing brands for diy customers who want something cheap. (ie in B and Q etc)
    The trade paint at the decorating centres is thicker and is designed for painters who want the better quality so they can get in and do the job in two coats max, but obviously it costs more but that is what you want.
     
    weltrol and Graham Phillips like this.
  14. Graham Phillips

    Graham Phillips New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    154
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    A truck mechanic's life is the life for me.
    Location:
    About half way between Bewdley & Arley on the SVR
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Southernman, I'm sure I've heard the other guys in the Wagon Department say they've used aluminium primer in the past and it was no better than acrylic, although reading toplight's reply, that may be down to the source of the paint, not the type of paint.

    toplight, that's not something I'd thought of.
     
  15. Southernman99

    Southernman99 Member Friend

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Messages:
    703
    Likes Received:
    310
    We use Williamsons ali wood primer. I recently removed panels from 1086 that were done in the 80s during restoration. The varnish and scumbling had become damaged but the primer was still in good condition.
    The other issue is the timber swelling and contracting which will slowly push the paint off the timber.
     
  16. Graham Phillips

    Graham Phillips New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    154
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    A truck mechanic's life is the life for me.
    Location:
    About half way between Bewdley & Arley on the SVR
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Isn't that internal wood though? Apart from the brake van interiors, everything we paint in the Wagon Department is left outside in all weathers.
     
  17. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,486
    Likes Received:
    2,219
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    North Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    We had the same problem and moved to using ali primer on the benches at Bridgnorth (pre-2017). It made no appreciable difference. You could ask the station teams what they're using?

    Patrick
     
  18. Southernman99

    Southernman99 Member Friend

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Messages:
    703
    Likes Received:
    310
    Have you thought about contacting other wagon depts on other railways?

    Ali primer requires 2 coats for exterior use. If I see Steve P or Hollis. I would ask what timber you're using. Any resinous timber needs 2 good coats of primer or a WRP, Water repellant preserver as this seals the timber. The other option is sanding sealer which I use in furniture making before applying finish to items.

    The wagons and some coaches will sadly be forever in a Forth bridge cycle. They only look good once, then we put them into traffic.
     
  19. Daddsie71b

    Daddsie71b Member Friend

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2013
    Messages:
    589
    Likes Received:
    523
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    durzet
    Not me, Superdec is water based and very flexible.
     
  20. RichardSalmon

    RichardSalmon New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2006
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    36
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Engineer
    Location:
    Redhill
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I and many colleagues at the Bluebell have used ali primer for years with no apparent problems. I've recently been introduced to the 2-pack epoxy primer, which is said to be very good for sealing end-grain. For any particularly demanding application, Zinsesser Bullseye 123 is a handy but expensive sealer-primer to have up your sleeve. It's the ultimate for me.
    Richard
     
    burnham-t and Graham Phillips like this.

Share This Page