Finish for a fireplace mantel

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Forum topic by TZH posted 01-19-2011 12:16 AM 1928 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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553 posts in 3168 days

01-19-2011 12:16 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question cedar juniper sandblaster sanding finishing rustic

A client brought me their mantel of Rocky Mountain Red Juniper to refinish because when they fired up their woodstove insert, the existing finish “browned” significantly in the center of the mantel. I had given them this mantel as a housewarming gift (their first house burned to the ground, and when their new house was built, they had intended to put in a conventional mantel – but I showed them this one and they went for it immediately). Anyway, the mantel was originally finished by a friend of theirs, so I have no way of knowing what it is or why it browned the way it did. Now I’ve been tasked with refinishing it for them. I’m thinking maybe I should sandblast it first to take off the brownish tinge to the wood, and then finish it with multiple coats of Minwax hand rubbed poly interspersed with light coats of Zinsser dewaxed shellac. My question is whether or not this is the right way to approach this issue. The mantel will be put back according to code high enough above the woodstove insert to prevent any risk of fire, but I’m thinking I need some kind of finish that will be able to withstand the heat generated by the insert without browning the way it did the first time. Any ideas and suggestions are very much appreciated.


-- Where The Spirit In Wood Lives On

2 replies so far

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1381 posts in 4155 days

#1 posted 01-19-2011 12:32 AM

The browning from the heat may be due to the finish or to the wood itself. The natural oils in cedar will brown with age and heat.

Juniper (cedar) looks nice as is or with a few coats of solvent-thinned drying oil (linseed or tung). Watco Danish Oil might work.

Shellac melts at a temperature slightly above boiling water.

-- 温故知新

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553 posts in 3168 days

#2 posted 01-19-2011 06:15 AM

Thanks, hobomonk. I kind of figured the wood itself might be the culprit, but didn’t know for sure. What kind of solvent do you recommend? I have a ton of linseed oil, but will nee to thin it. Thanks, again.


-- Where The Spirit In Wood Lives On

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