I'm planning on building a wood planter box for some edible herbs. (Similar to this; in Maple and a bit more squarish.) I already plan to glue the wood with Tidebond III as it is waterproof. My question is how to seal the wood itself from the water.

So far I've seen the following suggestions :

  • Roof cement; doesn't sound too edible to me...
  • Liquid rubber
  • A thick layer of beeswax.

What would be the best? Should I consider Cedar instead of Maple?

  • The functionality of the one pictured at your link seems perfect. The price is very good too. Use the maple for the shelf to set it on. – Michael Karas Jan 5 '13 at 19:49
  • @MichaelKaras Thanks for the suggestion. The color won't fit our kitchen really well, that's one of the reason why I want to make my own. The main reason is just to get a chance to work with my tools. :) – Maxime Morin Jan 5 '13 at 20:42
  • Plastic items are extremely easy to spray paint with spray can enamel paint. The paint sticks very well and you could select from a plethora of colors. – Michael Karas Jan 5 '13 at 22:32
  • If you have to go with wood to help justify the tool purchases that you've made I really like the idea of a thick coating of bees wax. This can be melted easily and poured on in stages with the wooden box tilted in a convenient direction for each pour. It sets up pretty fast too and so the wait time from pour to pour is not so long. FYI I have found that the small round flatish tuna fish cans work excellent for melting and pouring bees wax. You can throw the can away after use as opposed to trying to clean up another type of keeper container. Make sure your wooden container has drainage holes. – Michael Karas Jan 5 '13 at 22:39

I have made a few exterior window boxes and none lasted long with the wood in contact with the soil. I would make the boxes of whatever wood and finish matches yor kitchen. I would seal the inside with an exterior grade urethane. The idea is to protect the wood from the dampness and occasional water spill. I have had the best long term results by using a plastic container to hold the soil. The box is just a decorative holder for the plastic containers

  • Thank you, you convinced me to go with a plastic container and use the wood as a decorative holder. Like you said, I doubt the other products will be good in the long run. – Maxime Morin Jan 8 '13 at 13:08

There are many finishes that work, but many wear and are rotted over time by the contact with the wet soil and roots. If you use any cyanoacrylate glue (superglue) as a finish it'll do that. It's waterproof, strong and cheap. I use it to finish my pistol grips. The ones I have on my personal carry pistol I have had for 4 years, never refinished since the first time. Never buffed, sanded, refinished, recoated. and it takes heavy abuse and (as gross as this will sound) has withstood years of being in contact with my sweaty body. That will work for you.

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