Aussie Clear Light and a ‘59 Chevy

A Classic Decking Oil for a Classic Pickup Truck

Occasionaly we get asked if one of Preschem’s products can be used for an atypical application. Several months ago, a customer named Michael, contacted Preschem with a request for a sample of Aussie Clear light. Now this doesn’t sound that unusual, as it was to be applied to Blackbutt. What was unusual, was that the timber was going to line his 1959 Chevy pickup truck. This definitely sounded like an interesting project, so I started a discussion to find out some more.

It turned out that Michael was in the process of doing a complete restoration of the ’59 Chevy. He had decided to line the cargo tray with Blackbutt. He was looking at various coating systems to finish the timber, such as a 2-pack polyurethane, but was concerned about potential blistering. This concern is correct. At some point it’s going to be exposed to the sun. This type of coating system is formulated for internal applications where UV is not an issue, so will likely degenerate by blistering, or cracking and peeling with UV exposure.

Choice of Finish for Blackbutt lined Cargo Tray: Aussie Clear LightAussie Clear Light Blackbutt 59 Chevy

He also wanted a finish that minimised the change in colour of Blackbutt. That’s how he found us online.

Michael was definitely onto the right track. Aussie Clear Light is lightly pigmented with a yellow “transparent” oxide pigment. When applied to a blond timber, it comes out a little like wet straw. But it also highlights the grain and timber features. We’ve discussed this before where formulations with pigments offer the best UV protection, in addition to evening out the finish and also restores some colour when the natural pigments bleed out with rain. With UV protection, you have to think of it like a person with fair skin and sunscreen. It won’t stop them getting burnt at the end of a hot summer’s day. But it will mean you have a touch of colour, versus being seriously sunburnt.

Environmental Considerations

I also pointed out some other issues to consider with this project. Any traditional decking oil finish will be water repellent but won’t act as a complete moisture barrier. One concern with timber lining the tray of a truck, is that water may pool for long periods of time. This could create some serious issues with dimensional stability, as wet timber expands significantly. More importantly, it will promote fungal decay.

The last concern is when it’s time to re-apply a maintenance coat. We usually recommend you use an oxalic acid cleaner, such as Preschem’s Grey Deck Cleaner. This is an excellent means to remove built-up weathering on your deck or timber patio table. However, in this instance, the concern is that the oxalic acid will damage the duco. It may not, but if you’ve spent a significant amount of time restoring the body and then spraypainting it to a show room finish, you won’t want to risk it. For a situation such as this, a light sand with 80 or 100 grit paper would be more appropriate.

Michael is now armed with that information, but I think he has those bases covered, as this little project when complete, will be garaged when not in use.

And he was kind enough to share some photos as well. With a bit of luck, we’ll have some photos down the track of the completed project. It’s certainly shaping up to be a stunning restoration job.