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Marking wood
This is probably one for Conservators or Finds Specialists but all feedback is most welcome.

The site is a large warehouse containing substantial timber decking associated with former railway loading/unloading. Once recorded, at least the greater part of this decking will be removed to offsite storage. Realistically the storage could stretch into decades. The individual timbers must be precisely locatable to the overall records for the area, therefore, each timber will receive a number and letter(s). Due to the likely extensive period these timbers could remain under storage it would be unwise to mark them with things such as (removable) twine and tags, however durable. The best way is to 'paint' the reference number unobtrusively on an end of each timber. Here lies the query. Given that these timbers are dark hardwoods and probably originally treated to some degree (perhaps oil-based treatments) ... What is the best product to mark these timber ends, as near as dammit, permanently.

Naturally, if one went into the average paintstore for advice one would probably come out pronto with a can of Dulux Brilliant White Non-Drip Gloss. Just in case there is a better alternative to this albeit excellent product, I am hoping this site is a good starting point for finding the 'solution' to this problem.

Thank you for anyone taking the time to give experienced feedback. Remember, clarity, durability and longevity are paramount to the marking of the timbers. (Ease of application would help too). Sizewise, the timbers are substantial.

Mike Parker
Are you sure you want to use a permanent method? Copper tacks and plasticised labels stand the test of time. Timbers from Coppergate, excavated way back when were marked using this method and then shifted around a fair bit before I saw them twenty years later with most labels still intact. Your timbers obviously aren't waterlogged, but if they have been treated, it may be a better method of marking than using a substance in contact with the wood.

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