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Wet Look finish for Cedar table top

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Forum topic by LoJack posted 06-19-2018 01:07 PM 476 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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LoJack

28 posts in 782 days


06-19-2018 01:07 PM

Hey Guys,

I tried researching this when building my deck, and there was nothing to give that wet look due to the high traffic. But now I’m building a table top, and last night after sanding I wet the table to raise the grain. It got me thinking again that I’d love that look on my finished product.

Is there anything for a table top that will look the way cedar looks after getting wet?


8 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1312 posts in 282 days


#1 posted 06-19-2018 01:49 PM

is that going to be an outside or inside table ??

by “wet look”, I am just assuming you want a super high gloss surface ?
- or – the thick epoxy look like on the restaurant tables ?

if you just want the deep super gloss surface with the toughness that a table requires,
in my world, I would go with a high quality marine varnish. several (8-15) hand rubbed coats
will be required to achieve that deep glossy look.

.

-- some people are like a Slinky - - - pretty much good for nothing. But still make you smile when you push them down a flight of stairs.

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LoJack

28 posts in 782 days


#2 posted 06-19-2018 04:01 PM

Thanks John.

By “Wet Look” I more meant that deep color that cedar gets with the high contrast of the knots when water soaks into the wood.

I tried some scrap pieces with just poly, and it just clear coats the dry look of cedar which is very light in color. Water brings the contrast – that’s all I’m really looking for.

And yes, it’s an outdoor table.

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John Smith

1312 posts in 282 days


#3 posted 06-19-2018 06:52 PM

if not protected from the harsh UV and weathering elements,
cedar will eventually turn gray and the grain will open up allowing
water to infiltrate the wood to the point of no return.
you may not be able to have the “look” you want without some sacrifice:
1. ~ is to apply several (5-15) coats of UV inhibitor varnish and keep it covered
when not in use. and, apply a new coat each and every Spring.
2. ~ treat it like you would with any wooden lawn furniture with an oil finish
and accept the reality of that is just the way it is with wood and forget the “wet look”.
no matter what process you decide to go with, it will be a yearly maintenance item.

there is a very specific regiment to achieving and maintaining the perfect glossy finish.

if you are looking for something to apply just one coat and forget it ~ there isn’t one.

I have a piece of knotty cedar here very similar to your table and will try a couple of coats
to see how it preserves the look you are thinking of – stay tuned.

in the meantime ~ go ahead and route the edges and do all the finish sanding
and apply several coats of clear finish of your choice to the underside of the table.
if you are going to have benches, do the same with them.
then when someone suggests a finish you may like, the top will be ready for that project.

.

.

-- some people are like a Slinky - - - pretty much good for nothing. But still make you smile when you push them down a flight of stairs.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

3069 posts in 1600 days


#4 posted 06-19-2018 06:56 PM

I don’t know if its possible to get the look you want.

Try a coat of sealer like shellac or Seal Coat before topcoat.

I don’t know what will happen with prolonged exposure to sun but cedar is a very soft wood very prone to movement.

On another note, those are really, really wide breadboard ends you will need to support them or they will snap off when Big Uncle Roy leans on it. Personally I would remove 1/2 the width. I think it will look better, too. :-)

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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LoJack

28 posts in 782 days


#5 posted 06-19-2018 07:08 PM


On another note, those are really, really wide breadboard ends you will need to support them or they will snap off when Big Uncle Roy leans on it. Personally I would remove 1/2 the width. I think it will look better, too. :-)

- rwe2156

I was actually thinking the same thing. I was on the fence about trimming off 3 or 4 inches from each end, but I think I will do that now. They don’t feel flimsy, but the wood is already wanting to curl up at the tips … it’ll be a problem in the future I think.

Thanks

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4929 posts in 2471 days


#6 posted 06-19-2018 07:18 PM

I don’t know any way to prevent cedar from turning gray in an outside environment. I think putting a lot of effort into achieving the “wet look” will be futile. I believe that an oil finish will initially give you the look you want but will soon fade outdoors.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1834 posts in 2109 days


#7 posted 06-19-2018 09:39 PM

Was the poly you tried oil or water based? Wb will look pretty drab. Fred Hargis and some others recommend using a dark base paint – the dark base does not have pigment. I suspect an oil dark base paint might give you what you are after, and be fairly easy to recoat annually.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1312 posts in 282 days


#8 posted 06-26-2018 02:36 PM

Jack – here are samples of white cedar with Pettit 2067 marine spar and water.
the top board is sanded smooth with water poured on it like you said you like.
the bottom board is 6 coats of Pettit #2067 with the proper varnishing curriculum.
to the untrained eye outside in the sunlight, they look identical. . . . . (to me, anyway).

even though the coats of varnish are applied at 24 hour intervals, (no matter how many coats)
it takes about a month for the varnish to obtain the final cure and hardness.
cedar, in itself, is a soft wood. so you can expect it to have dings and scratches with normal use.
a light sanding and a fresh coat of varnish every couple of years will prolong the life of the finish.

.

.

-- some people are like a Slinky - - - pretty much good for nothing. But still make you smile when you push them down a flight of stairs.

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