We’ve had a good deal of experience with natural wood applications and the Polywhey product by Vermont Natural Coatings is one of our favorite natural alternatives for wood and surface applications. You can’t buy PolyWhey in Brooklyn (yet, ask Green Depot and Bettencourt if they can start carrying it) but you can easily order it from their web site and get the stuff in a couple days.
It has no toxic odor and dries really fast. So it is great for small New York apartments where you don’t have lots of time or good air circulation.
We really like the sheen it leaves as well. It is a subtle sheen that lets the wood speak for itself. You’d almost not realize it is there when using the matte. Unless you bang the wood or something and then you see it is clearly (pun!) protected.
For example here we wanted to protect this old beam but didn’t want it to look like it was encased in a layer of thick varnish. The PolyWhey gave the wood a rich character and strong protection while staying invisible.
But we’ve not limited ourselves to wood. Because it is a great natural sealer we think it can be applied pretty much anywhere you need a wear resistant sealer.
For example below we applied it to a clay wall. The clay we mixed ourselves with a little sawdust to give it texture. We troweled it on super smooth go give it a glossy sheen with little specks of rough sawdust. It has a green color because we added some milk paint from the Milk Paint Co., also another great product we use a lot. I think that was Burberry Green.
Normally we wouldn’t want to seal a clay wall because one of the great attributes of clay is that it breathes. But in this case it was a high traffic area and dealing it was a good idea.
Another place to use PolyWhey is on Brooklyn brownstone brick walls. It is very important to seal them because they have lots of tiny air holes. These air holes allow the house to loose valuable heat during the winter. Also, the mortar used to lay the bricks wasn’t always the cleanest and it is best to seal that up so the dust doesn’t infect the home.