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Finishing the Cedars

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Forum topic by kingfishbc posted 01-07-2011 07:09 AM 2783 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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kingfishbc

11 posts in 2394 days


01-07-2011 07:09 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cedar northern white cedar western red cedar aromatic red cedar finishing

Well I’ve moved (up, down, over or on) from some Shaker style outside benches, some finished with polyurethane “spar” varnish and later models with Waterlox tung oil spar varnish, to messing around with the “cedars” (Northern White and Western Red, really cypresses, and Aromatic Red, really juniper).

I’ve created a set of exterior furniture; a chair (influenced by one I saw at a landscape shop in Portland, OR), and matching side table (16” high) and utility table (think TV table, 2’-3” high). I have completed the set in Northern White Cedar and have the necessary Aromatic Red and Western Red for a set of each in those species. I have photos of the completed pieces – I’ll try to get them up here shortly.

Anyway, I LOVE the way the pieces look freshly completed, sanded up to 220 grit, but I know they won’t stay looking that way. So I’m casting about for ideas about finishing the cedars in a way to give them good protection for an outside environment, but also in a way that will retain as much as possible of their newly created appearance.

I’ve experimented a little with a scrub-on/wipe-off treatment of Waterlox exterior sealer on scraps of the Northern White, and I am not altogether unhappy with the result, except it’s a little glossy. I have some exterior polymerized tung oil sealer coming from Sutherland Welles with some specific instructions for a non-glossy exterior finish and I am excited to see how that turns out.

Then I thought…Wait a minute, how about all those Lumberjocks – I’ll bet there’s a Bakers dozen of those folks out there who have struggled with this self same question about exterior clear finishing “cedar” and have forgotten greater conclusions than I will reach. So respectfully I ask, are there some ideas out there??

T I A

John

-- I may be crazy, but I am not stupid!


8 replies so far

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TopamaxSurvivor

17669 posts in 3139 days


#1 posted 01-07-2011 10:24 AM

The is some stuff called “Log on” the is supposed to keep it that way.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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kingfishbc

11 posts in 2394 days


#2 posted 01-07-2011 04:21 PM

Here are some photos of the Northern White Cedar set:

-- I may be crazy, but I am not stupid!

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TopamaxSurvivor

17669 posts in 3139 days


#3 posted 01-08-2011 06:31 AM

They certainly look good :-)) I would want to keep them that way instead of the weatherized gray cedar take on over time. Did you google Log On?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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kingfishbc

11 posts in 2394 days


#4 posted 01-08-2011 06:27 PM

”...Did you google Log On?...”

I did, thanks! Log On is a Penofin product, aimed at protecting the logs of log homes in extreme conditions. It looks like Penofin products are generally Brazilian Rosewood Oil based penetrating stains. Log On while designed for more extreme UV and mold/mildew protection, isn’t offered in clear. I see that the Penofin original Blue Label Oil Wood Finish and the Ultra Premium Red Label Wood Finish both offer “transparent” as well as “cedar” and “western red cedar” in the color charts.

Interesting…

I’m going to see how well Penofin’s offer to send small free samples for finish-testing purposes works.

I appreciate the input.

-- I may be crazy, but I am not stupid!

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TopamaxSurvivor

17669 posts in 3139 days


#5 posted 01-09-2011 12:01 AM

I used some of their product on a trailer bed. I thought it was clear, but must have been transparent. It is definitely water proof. I put it on for the UV, it slightly darkened the wood but it was really dry and hungry. I put it on heavy. It is the only thing i found that was really UV rated enough to do any good.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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Earlextech

1159 posts in 2154 days


#6 posted 01-13-2011 06:10 PM

If the furniture is going to be protected from direct weather then a finish would make sense. However, if these pieces are to be unprotected, no finish will outlast the change in seasons. In that case it would be better to leave them to age naturally.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

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kingfishbc

11 posts in 2394 days


#7 posted 01-13-2011 10:54 PM

”...In that case it would be better to leave them to age naturally…”

Thanks Sam – therein lies the rub. I really don’t foresee the pieces being simply left out and forgotten about through multiple season or even single season cycles, but I think they will be used primarily outside and will be exposed to occasional and maybe frequent moisture and UV stress. I don’t anticipate that they would be outside for our Michigan winters at all, but neither do I think they’ll be taken inside every night. I understand the types of wood I’m working with here will degrade gracefully compared to a lot of other species if left unfinished, but it’s the newly sanded appearance (color) that I’m really enamored with, and I know that will fade away without finish of some sort.

I almost certainly will finish them with something in a “clear” finish, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that whatever the clear finish I use winds up to be, the Aromatic Red Cedar will darken and the Northern White Cedar will yellow upon effective application. I haven’t done any testing yet with the Western Redcedar, but I anticipate it will do something somewhere between the other two woods. I’m currently leaning towards a modified wipe on/wipe off or scrub on/wipe off multiple application of exterior polymerized tung oil sealer (thinned polymerized tung oil with UV filters) or thinned marine varnish, which may be just about the same thing.

Thanks again…

-- I may be crazy, but I am not stupid!

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TopamaxSurvivor

17669 posts in 3139 days


#8 posted 01-13-2011 11:13 PM

It will weather relatively quickly. I wanted to keep a large deck in the original color but I didn’t know much about wood and it was changing before I got it done.

I spent quite a bit of time researching UV protection. lots of them say they have it, but unless it is something like Log On that in nearly 100 % effective, you are wasting your money putting it on. UV protection to maintain that color will be spendy. I suspect you will have to put up with some color change upon application to get the proper UV protection. Just no way around the laws of nature ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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