Best Finish for Redwood Cabinetry

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Forum topic by jefflz posted 03-19-2011 01:26 AM 4904 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 2867 days

03-19-2011 01:26 AM

Topic tags/keywords: redwood cabinetry finish polyurethane tung question

I am looking for a protective coating (matte finish) for old growth redwood cabinetry in both kitchen and bathroom. The wood – originally rough-sawn but quite soiled, has been planed and sanded to give a smooth surface. One suggestion has been “Good Stuff” polyurethane wipe on, and the other has been tung oil mixed with citrus solvent. I was wondering if anyone can offer advice. Most of the surfaces (all but one) are not going to have objects placed on them- just handled often since there are no knobs – only smoothed slots for hands to open drawers and cabinets.

The total surface area is very large.
Any thoughts on how to attack this project?

-- Jefflz, Sausalito

8 replies so far

View cabs4less's profile


235 posts in 3003 days

#1 posted 03-19-2011 03:40 AM

are you wanting a film finish or oil

-- As Best I Can

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4341 days

#2 posted 03-19-2011 03:56 AM

I am a huge fan of MLCampbell MagnaMax. It comes in a satin and dull for a really flat sheen.

It is a pre-catalyzed lacquer that dries very fast. I can do 3 coats in an hour. It covers and flows out wonderfully. It hangs beautifully on vertical surfaces.

It is rated for use on kitchen and bath cabinets and I have been pleased with the way it really does hold up. It blows the doors of the Sherwin Williams lacquers I was using.

You will need to use an good sprayer to be successful with any finish, especially for large surfaces where dry spray and “fingers” always show up with a poorly adjusted or cheap sprayer.

My Favorite Finish

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View wisno's profile


88 posts in 3252 days

#3 posted 03-21-2011 02:53 AM

Can You spray?

If you can spray (you have facilitation to do spray) then you have many choices of finishing material.
For the strength and durability the i would choose the polyurethane coating or conversion varnish.

Clear coating types for wood finishing




View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 2932 days

#4 posted 03-21-2011 02:46 PM

Always spray. Better finish, better control, less waste, easy cleanup.

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

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4369 days

#5 posted 03-21-2011 02:53 PM

Hand-rubbed Waterlox for an artisan finish.

-- 温故知新

View jefflz's profile


8 posts in 2867 days

#6 posted 03-22-2011 06:11 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions to date. I don’t have access to decent spray equipment so I am attracted to the hand-rub approach which eliminates drip issues. I don’t know MagnaMax but will look into it. I am not familiar with Waterlox but have read good things about it. I have samples now of three coats sand one coat of “Good Stuff “polyurethane paste on smooth sanded redwood. It does give a rich look with out gloss.. Three coats give a hand-rubbed furniture depth. We’re talking about a lot of drawers and doors (30 of each) that have to be taken out and treated so I am not jumping into anything as yet.

-- Jefflz, Sausalito

View jefflz's profile


8 posts in 2867 days

#7 posted 03-24-2011 08:44 PM

Because of the vast area of newly sanded old-growth redwood surface that needs treating with at least two or three coats (thirty cabinet doors, 30 drawers , corresponding cabinet sides, several large solid doors) – the spray method looks most efficient. I have two pro’s with the right equipment who are considering the job. I have been cautioned away from lacquer and have also found that GoodStuff gel is too hard to use properly and not the right material for this very large job. I am looking at Minwax Wipe-on Poly which can be sprayed on and wiped off to give a hand-rubbed look – reasonably quick drying. I read that Waterlox takes along time to dry so multiple coats are problematic. Are there any other spray-able materials that should be considered for an efficient treatment giving a clear satin or dull finish? Being able to use the comments on this site as a basis for asking questions of the pros has been very helpful.

-- Jefflz, Sausalito

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3978 days

#8 posted 03-24-2011 09:03 PM

Be careful with the type of rag or applicator using wipe on. Cloth will most likely grab a sliver from the deges and damage the wood with a chip out. I have found using the small white and green styrofoam applicators found at Home Depot work very well with most woods. Redwood is a very soft wood and is cared for a bit differently than other wood types.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

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