The modern technology that restores deteriorated wood was invented in 1972 and is now an accomplished fact. Routinely applied since 1972, around the world from Kwajalein in the South Pacific to Scandinavia, this technology grew under the administration of its American inventor Steve Smith, physicist and chemist, to span a range of products and related applications.
The original Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer™ was developed for restoration of deteriorated (rotten) wood. Along with the companion product Fill-It™ Epoxy Filler, these two easy-to-use products are available in over a thousand retail stores around the country, direct from the factory store in Richmond California, over the Internet by multiple resellers, under GSA contract to U.S. Government agencies, in Scandinavia and elsewhere in the world by export or local distributors such as in Southern Africa, Australia or Eastern Canada and Western Canada. Additional products complement the expanded focus of Smith & Co. on protective maintenance and restoration.
This wood restoration technology was developed from a combination of logical assumptions. Originally intended for restoration of wood in the marine marketplace, the highly aggressive marine conditions proved the acid test for this new technology. It gave paint and varnish that actually stuck, and sealants and adhesives that did not tear or crack where all other products readily failed. Some boat owners were also painting contractors, architects or similar, and began to use these products in the architectural field, for restoration as well as an adhesion-promoting primer for paint on new wood buildings. It proved far more workable than any other practice for "restoration" of deteriorated (rotten) wood, and it soon became apparent that enamel or latex house paints applied to wood treated with this product did not readily fail, where without this treatment failure of paints typically occurred in half the time and rot soon started up again behind a wood repair with a filler.
The scientific basis for this wooden wood restoration technology was established in the later 1990's and the results of the research project were published on the Internet at the web site www.woodrestoration.com.
The new technology departs from old wood treatment practices, even with epoxy products, with the discovery that the fungi that cause decay in wood actually penetrate into wood far beyond the visible region of total decay, and that the extent of this penetration is not obvious and may be many inches. The old-technology practice of removing visibly decayed (rotten) wood leaves an infected region of invisible rot below the "repair" and any water intrusion or diffusion that brings the humidity above roughly fifteen percent triggers germination of fungal spores in the infected region, and rot begins anew.
The genesis of the new technology was the development of a product that would selectively impregnate the entire rotted region of wood with a water-repellent resin system derived in large part originally from wood, to bring about restored mechanical properties similar to wood and a water-repellent characteristic, while leaving a natural porosity in the treated wood so it could "breathe" as does natural wood. This prevents the accumulation or condensation of liquid water in the wood behind old-technology filler repairs, a leading cause of failure from rot starting up again from those repairs. This product is marketed as Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer to a wide range of consumers, from homeowners or boat owners to painters, contractors and the maintenance personnel of property managers. A high performance version, the Lignu® Impregnating Resin, is provided under license to trained applicators.
In about 1975 Steve Smith discovered what caused the gelcoat blisters and laminate decomposition that was suddenly prevalent on glass-reinforced polyester (GRP) boats ("fiberglass" boats). He invented then the barrier-coat technology which is now in common use everywhere in the world for the repair of such damage and prevention of its occurrence. Read the story of this adventure!
That same barrier coating, when applied to the bottom of a wood boat, made possible the end result of a wood boat with a dry bilge, normally an unheard-of condition. Two additional factors were vital in achieving that result. One was the caulking of every seam and joint with a flexible, high-adhesion sealant. This absorbed small relative movements while maintaining a water tight seal. The second was the use of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer, which allowed these products to adhere to the wood, whether dry or slightly damp. This treatment of a wood hull, usually one made of one or two layers of planks, or plank-over-plywood was recommended since the middle seventies, and the majority reported success, satisfaction, and little or no water seeping into the bilge. Refinement of this process over the next few years consisted of attention to all the small details that contributed to leakage if ignored. The technology gained acceptance by word-of-mouth, as satisfied boat owners told others of the excellent condition their boats maintained. Owners and restorers of classic wood power boats, the most critical market with the highest standards, had by the nineties become sufficiently numerous, and their results so consistently excellent, that by the year 2000 this technology had become the acknowledged standard for planked wood boat restoration, using modern materials to stabilize traditional construction.
The same technology was also applied to sailboats of all vintages with similarly excellent results.
In 1990 it was discovered that the Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer prevented freeze-thaw damage to concrete. This was verified by an extensive test at the VTT institute in Finland. The product was then manufactured under license in Finland and used to treat buildings and roadway and bridge deck surfaces, to protect against both freeze-thaw and salt permeation. Salt is used to melt ice on road surfaces. The salt water penetrates into the concrete and accelerates corrosion of the steel reinforcing in the concrete. The impregnation with a hydrophobic material which allows water vapor to pass, but not liquid water, solves both these problems.
In Australia, Senseal is the Master Distributor (also a restoration contractor).
A restoration contractor has been established in Sweden, Scandinavian Impregnating Service. Their web site is www.impregnering.nu.
We now can ship to European customers from our European website. It includes extensive techinical articles and application essays. www.lignu.nu
The additional products which serve both marine, industrial and property maintenance applications include protective coating systems for metal (usually steel or aluminum) and The Modern Replacement For Varnish™ a clear high gloss or matte finish for wood which lasts over five years and then, in the words of our typical customers, "...still looks like the day I did it". The web site for this product is www.fiveyearclear.com.
Smith & Co. has developed proprietary products for others and and may sell direct to their franchisees, or other arrangements as best suit market requirements.
Many Smith & Co. products are available through retail stores and distributors.
For the name of a store near you, please email us with your address.
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