Q. What is the formula for making wood shingles and shakes lay flat and last longer? It consists of raw linseed oil and powdered graphite but I can't remember the proportions which you once gave.
* Also, paint is flaking off a concrete water fountain. What should I use to repaint it? A reader Oceanside, Calif.
A. The formula we learned from a veteran northern California roofer whose roofer family has used it for a century is 5 gallons of raw linseed oil to 3 pounds of graphite. We do not recommend this portion but that seasoned roofer assures us it works.
Manufacturers of wood shingles and shakes prefer factory, rather than field, treatment of the wood.
One experienced paint manufacturer says: "If they feel they have to use something to put life back into the wood, a good heavy coat of shingle oil, available at many paint stores, would do as good a job as anything."
Before field-treating shingle or shake roofs I suggest you write for recommendations to the Red Cedar Shingle and Hand-Split Shake Bureau, Suite 275, 515 116th Avenue, NE, Bellevue, Wash. 98004.
* Now about the paint on the concrete water fountain:
Get in touch with the manufacturer of the fountain for his recommendation.
Most manufacturers of fountains use standard acrylic paint so that a reasonable coating allo ws the moisture to penetrate the paint film without popping it off.