I’ve decided to finish this in two stages. I still have to figure out the legs/support for the bench but felt there was value in getting a protective coat of finish on the piece.
With the redwood being fairly soft, and this piece being so heavy I could already see imperfections being introduced just from moving this around during the sanding process. Also sand; sand everywhere. Given that this spent part of it’s life as driftwood, many of the nooks and crannies are filled with particulate matter. Every time I would rotate this to sand the top/bottom/sides, sand and particulate would filter out. I figured the shellac would help seal most of this in.
I finished the bottom first, starting with Minwax’s Natural Stain, followed by 3 coats of Shellac, then flipped the bench over and re-sanded the top to 600 grit and followed the same schedule.
Here is the top with no stain
Here is the top stained
Here is the top with 2 coats of shellac
To say I am pleased with the character of the wood would be an understatement. I feel pretty fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with something that has this type of character.
From this point the plan is to move this into the house proper then start working on design for the leg system,. Once the legs are built, I’ll touch up the finish as necessary and may try my hand at some polishing techniques.