The master bedroom ceiling beams are nearly 300 years old and have relatively smooth sides, but bottoms with rougher carvings (which in places allowed for a drop ceiling of lathe and plaster finishing). After sanding all the nuances and cracks with 80 and 120 grit sand paper, we filled many (hand-made) nail holes before caulking everywhere. The beams are painted with a thick coat of primer and a finish coat of Benjamin Moore's "White" Satin paint.
Bill carved out all of the beam cracks with a sharp putty knife and suctioned each one with the cupped end of a vacuum cleaner after sanding.
When finished, we left for home as the sun was setting on the front of the house with sunlight still streaming in the front windows and lighting up these amazing hand hewn old beams... we can now wake to see here.
It was too cold to open all of the doors, but soon there will be Cape Cod sunlight streaming in from all directions to reflect off the interesting wood surfaces in this house.