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My husband is finishing up our top bar hive build. Most of the hive is made of maple plywood. What are your recommendations as far as sealing/painting? I like the look of natural wood, but am wondering if the linseed oil will take too much maintenance. I'm especially worried since we used plywood.

Thanks!
Christy
 

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With plywood, I would be worried about delamination. I'd go for a good quality primer and several coats of paint.
 

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Linseed oil will get you by a few months if you soak the edges and seams real good. You really need the UV protection of a marine varnish to get a year or more from the wood. Sunlight is what gives wood that darkening or silvering appearance as the wood fibers are breaking down.
 

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Soak the heck out of the end grain if you just use oil. A solid topcoat is ultimately better as it doesn't let the sun get to the wood. Oil looks better and some claim the hassle and expense of paint make it a wash to using oils or wax and rebuilding occasionally. Personal preferences have to weigh in with that.
 

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Not sure if this will help or not, but I also really liked the natural look. So I put a coat of Minwax (Golden Pecan) stain on then I put a few coats of fiberglass resin on top of that. The fiberglass resin hardens up and is waterproof. I shot a video showing how I did it here if you want to see how I did it. I like the way they look and the resin seems like it will hold up really well.
 
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