Cypress Harvest Table Finishing

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Forum topic by acwalsh posted 06-23-2016 10:24 PM 793 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 846 days

06-23-2016 10:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cypress harvest table finishing cypress question

Hey All,

Recently my mom decided she wanted a new dining room table. Looking for a new project, I told her I would build it for her. I was able to quite a bit of lumber from an old water tower. The wood is cypress. I planed it down, jointed it, and have completed the top of the table using wood glue and biscuits.

I am now in the process of building the base of the table. I am milling more cypress (from the water tower) down into 2×4s which I will combine to make my own 4×4s. There are 2 reasons I am making my own 4×4s.

1. The cypress is sold old that new cypress will not match it when I go to stain it
2. To have a local lumber yard make me 4×4s it will be $13 per board foot and will be made of new cypress (and thus not match besides breaking the bank).

My concern is in regards to finishing. I have never worked with cypress and while I the build has gone really well thus far, being unfamiliar with how cypress finishes does concern me. In retrospect I do realize I violated the principle of knowing how I wanted to finish a project before I began the project. That is water under the bridge and a good lesson learned moving forward.

I wanted to reach out to the community and see if anyone is familiar with cypress and staining cypress for indoor furniture use. While I am not at finishing stage yet (need to finish building base first), I wanted to get this question up in advance so that there would be time for others to share their advice/experience with me. My mother does want the table stained and I have done some samples. However, with cypress an orange/yellow bleeds through even with wood conditioner.

I have attached some pictures. The first picture is of the completed table top. The 2nd and 3rd pictures if of the cypress next to a 4×4 of cedar for comparison purposes.

3 replies so far

View Aj2's profile


1717 posts in 1942 days

#1 posted 06-24-2016 04:16 AM

That is some nice looking cypress.It would be a shame to stain it.
You also have miters in the corner that will probably be push open as the wood in the middle expands.
There’s not stopping Mother Nature.
Nice looks cypress heart wood.

-- Aj

View TheFridge's profile


10290 posts in 1630 days

#2 posted 06-24-2016 05:25 AM

Awesome old growth cypress you have there

You should research breadboards for tables because those miters are going to come apart at some point.

Stains? Never used stains

Finish? If using poly, I’ve had success thin the first couple coats as a sealer with a light sanding between coats to even it out. The late wood (dark rings) will seal pretty much after the first coat while the early wood (light rings) will suck up the finish and won’t build. The problem is in putting it on too thick at first.

A couple thinned coats will make finishing go faster. Otherwise you’ll be waiting forever between coats at first.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View OSU55's profile


1861 posts in 2134 days

#3 posted 06-24-2016 11:59 AM

I add color, usually dye, to most everything I make. Sometimes subtle, sometimes a lot. While I haven’t worked with cypress, word is it is blotch prone. Here are ways of dealing with blotching. You don’t say what type of finish you plan to use, but since it is a dining table, I would recommend poly, waterborne or oil base, for the top anyway. Unless you are spraying the finish, use oil based poly. Here is some info on using ob poly with dye to finish and color wood. There is a wide range of color that could be used, just depends on what you are after. Decide on a finished look, then work to achieve it.

Cypress is soft, and used as a dining table it will probably get dented and scratched. Using ob poly thinned to a wiping varnish and leaving a thin film finish (like Danish oil instructions) will be easy to touch up in the future.

Be sure to finish all parts of the project to limit water vapor transfer – it will limit how much those mitered corners open up. If your mother normally uses a humidifier in winter and ac in the summer, which keeps humidity more stable, it will limit wood movement.

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