How should I finish a Redwood Gate

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Forum topic by MostlyHarmless posted 06-30-2010 01:44 AM 2543 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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21 posts in 2860 days

06-30-2010 01:44 AM

I’m building an outdoor gate from construction grade redwood. I’ve got all my boards cut to fit and ready to go. I’ve never finished a project with anything but spray paint and only get more confused by the posts I read on how to finish wood.

Do I need a special sealant for exposed end grain? What about hidden end grain?
Since this is redwood, do I need to use preservatives to keep out termites and weevils?
A lot of the boards used are more blonde in color than red, should I stain these to reduce the amount of variance in grain color?
Should I just use Thompson’s or Bear’s water sealant to protect from moisture? Does the need for oils, lacquer or varnish apply to a project like this?

Sorry for all the questions, if there’s a link to some good information or maybe a video, I’d really appreciate it.

-- If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.

7 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3544 days

#1 posted 06-30-2010 01:48 AM

Redwood holds up to the weather without a finish and is impervious to insects due to it’s high content of tannic acid.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10366 posts in 3395 days

#2 posted 06-30-2010 02:36 AM

6 years ago, I helped a friend refinish the exterior of her cabin, located in the mountains of N. AZ
I was skeptical a t first but, it has held up well through 5 hard winters and no further maintenance.
We are about to put in a new redwood deck and I am definitely going to use this stuff.


-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4094 days

#3 posted 06-30-2010 08:30 PM

I second Sikkens.

-- 温故知新

View Rick's profile


9437 posts in 2999 days

#4 posted 07-02-2010 07:33 AM


The “Sikkens” site that Gene recommended is Excellent for their Product Information. AND! You can dowload it all as PDF Brochures. Thanks Gene!


-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

View swirt's profile


2646 posts in 2939 days

#5 posted 07-02-2010 02:45 PM

4th on sikkens. I love the stuff. I use Cetol1 if I want a built up finish or SRD if I want it non-built up.

-- Galootish log blog,

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 3972 days

#6 posted 07-02-2010 02:56 PM

The first plan of attack to prolong the life of anything going outdoors in to design it so no water gets captured in nooks and crannies. Redwood will rot if water gets in places where it can’t readily dry up. As for finish, keep in mind that once you finish it it will have to be maintained, possibly yearly depending on exposure. Whereas no finish means it weathers to a nice silvery color thats attractive on its own.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View CaptainSkully's profile


1590 posts in 3525 days

#7 posted 07-02-2010 04:39 PM

If you don’t want to let it gray naturally, the Cetol might be an answer. It is micro-porous, meaning it breathes, so it doesn’t blister or peel. The original formula looks a bit like candy-coating the wood, as it has a high amber content. They have other flavors, but it’s designed mostly for use on teak. They sell Cetol at your local West Marine. It’s a one coat per day product. There are also other marine varnishes. I’ve had good luck with Epiphanes (properly thinned), and West Marine’s Premium Varnish, also one coat per day. They also may have an amber tint to them, depending on the flavor you buy. Bristol Finish is a two part, so you can do a wet-on-wet application every hour or so. It’s also crystal clear. You can add a satin additive to bring the sheen down. It gives off a lot of fumes, so make sure you’re well ventilated.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

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