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What is the most environmentally friendly way to paint/preserve wooden art or construction outdoors?

In Europe in mediaeval times, the external woodwork of timbered houses was painted with bulls' blood (hence the traditional dark red colour). Apparently it had to be bulls' blood and not pig, for ...
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What is the most environmentally friendly way to paint/preserve wooden art or construction outdoors?

Our preferred solution here (on land and for seagoing wooden boats) is linseed oil based paints, or just plain (raw) linseed oil. The oil soaks in the wood and therefore prevent water to soak into it ...
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