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Best finish for a redwood coffee table?

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Forum topic by Natoak posted 12-30-2009 08:37 PM 6441 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Natoak

3 posts in 1838 days


12-30-2009 08:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: redwood finish

This is just my second posting. So far, I haven’t had much to add so I’ve been “taking” more than “giving” to this great forum but I’m sure my day will come.
First of all, a big thanks to all who weighed in on my question about cleaning up used redwood siding. I’m about done planing up the last of it. As far as cleaning out the grit and grime, what ultimately worked best and the fastest was a pressure washer. Just sprayed down, let the sun dry the cleaned boards up nicely, and they’ve been sailing through my planer.
Now that I have my stock ready for projects, a friend of mine asked if I’d make a coffee table for her. She’s a bit short on space so I’ve designed it to be functional – on casters, with a lift-out tray, and storage. Since this will probably serve as a desk, eating table, etc., I want to make sure that I finish it with something durable, but that will also bring out the beauty of the wood. I don’t have any experience building with redwood so I need some help. Watched the great video on finishes last night, but was wondering specifically for redwood and for a use like this, what folks would recommend. Any thoughts?


6 replies so far

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PurpLev

8476 posts in 2305 days


#1 posted 12-30-2009 08:41 PM

for anything that gets used and abused, I usually use oil polyurethane finish. it creates a hard shell that protects the wood from spills, and other things. not too hard to apply either.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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LesB

1066 posts in 2099 days


#2 posted 12-30-2009 09:20 PM

Redwood can be quite “soft” unless it is really old growth with fine grain and quarter sawn or burl.
Therefore I would suggest you apply a hard finish like a floor finish grade of polyurethane (I like the water base type). The first couple of coats will soaked in. Then sand lightly with 400 grit paper and apply several more coats until you get a good built up finish. You may have to sand lightly between the added coats to remove “dust” bumps. You can use 0000 steel wool for this additional “sandings”. Finally (after about a week of drying) for a really smooth finish rub on a paste wax (carnauba) with 0000 steel wool as the applicator and buff to a shine with a soft cloth. Don’t let the wax dry to long after application or you will have to go over it a second time to remove wax swirls.

-- Les B, Oregon

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PurpLev

8476 posts in 2305 days


#3 posted 12-30-2009 09:30 PM

and make sure you brush off the surface real well after using steel wool, or you’ll have steel particle buried in your finish.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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LesB

1066 posts in 2099 days


#4 posted 12-31-2009 05:07 AM

I have only had steel wool stick in the surface when the surface is rough. That is why I indicated using sand paper after the first two applications of poly. The surface should always be as clean as possible before applying a new coat.

-- Les B, Oregon

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scopemonkey

182 posts in 2820 days


#5 posted 12-31-2009 05:28 AM

I agree with LesB. Also, the softness of redwood will lend itself to lots of dents and dings over time even with a decent poly finish. I would consider covering the top with a piece of glass—especially if it is going to be used as a desk for writing, etc.

-- GSY from N. Idaho

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LesB

1066 posts in 2099 days


#6 posted 01-01-2010 11:22 PM

Glass on top is a good idea.

-- Les B, Oregon

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