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Best Finish for Cedar

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Forum topic by Divotdog posted 06-06-2012 03:29 PM 9056 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Divotdog

65 posts in 2910 days


06-06-2012 03:29 PM

I don’t know the name for the cedar I have – maybe “western red” but it’s not the real aromatic cedar. It has a fairly even grain without much figuring. I have one of Flexner’s books and others but they don’t mention cedar other than the aromatic type.

Anyway, I would like to know a real nice finish to use for all around use – I have sealers, shellac, oils and stains but I didn’t want to just clear coat it like with polyurethane. I always enjoy seeing how the beauty of the wood is enhanced with the proper finish.

I believe that, like people, there is beauty in all wood if you can properly bring it out – still trying to figue that out for people…

Thanks,
David

-- David, Dallas,Tx - golf weather is hot but it's cool in the shop


9 replies so far

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RussellAP

3059 posts in 1754 days


#1 posted 06-06-2012 05:50 PM

If you plan to use color stains or dyes then using a pre color conditioner is a must or it will blotch. WRC is absorbent like pine. I recommend Charles Neil. https://charlesneilwoodworking.3dcartstores.com/Charles-Neils-Pre-Color-Conditioner--Blotch-Control_p_47.html
Give the sanded wood at least two coats of this. It dries pretty fast with a fan on it. When it’s dry just wipe it with some 320 grit, (don’t sand it hard, just a wipe to clear off the fibers that raised), and dust it off and recoat. I’d let the second coat stay on overnight.
Be liberal with the pre color conditioner, get the wood nice and wet, end grain too.
When it dries, the stain will go on much more uniform and look great.
I’m assuming you’re building something for outside, so if you don’t mind an oil base product, use Australian Timber Oil. You can wipe it on, but don’t let it stay on too long before wiping it off, a minute or two, so you’re basically wiping it on and then wiping it off as you go.
Put a fan on it for a couple days. Then when it’s dry, spray some Spar on it.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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Divotdog

65 posts in 2910 days


#2 posted 06-06-2012 07:47 PM

Thanks, Russ. I have used the Australian Oil and it’s good – I think I have some spar, too. But I am not familiar with Charles Neil – I have used a common pre-conditioner is all. But I will check that out.

I am making a grad git for my grandson. I ripped off the idea from a box I saw at walmart – it’s a sturdy carrying box for gear, ammo, tools, etc. with rope handles on each end – kind of shaped like an army ammo can. I thought this type cedar would be a good idea for inside/outside use.

The ones at Walmart are made in China and only $20 but really sloppy looking – nothing against Orientals but the workmanship looks like someone slipped a few times!

Good luck in whatevrer you are up to.

-- David, Dallas,Tx - golf weather is hot but it's cool in the shop

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bondogaposis

4037 posts in 1819 days


#3 posted 06-06-2012 07:50 PM

Western red cedar darkens up considerably with any type of penetrating finish. So you might want to experiment on some scraps before deciding if you want to darken it further w/ stain. I like a mix of 1/3 spar varnish/ 1/3 BLO and 1/3 mineral spirits. The mineral spirits really makes it thin so that it really penetrates into the wood. Subsequent coats you can cut back on the amount of mineral spirits.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Divotdog

65 posts in 2910 days


#4 posted 06-06-2012 08:02 PM

Hey, Bondo -

I have used spar only in a spray forn – so I will look for the liquid. I have used your recipe before but with polyurethane instead of the spar.

Thanks for the tip
David

-- David, Dallas,Tx - golf weather is hot but it's cool in the shop

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RussellAP

3059 posts in 1754 days


#5 posted 06-06-2012 08:15 PM

The pre conditioner will even out the summer and winter absorption patterns for the wood making the stain look more uniform but still allowing the grain to pronounce. The stain will look lighter, not in color but in heaviness. I took a piece of cedar and divided it into three segments on the board, first segment (left), had no conditioner the second, (center), had one coat of Charles Neil and the third (right), had two coats of Charles Neil and the stain is Australian Timber Oil. Golden Redwood or some color like that.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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RussellAP

3059 posts in 1754 days


#6 posted 06-06-2012 08:19 PM

The problem with WRC is that the winter growth rings are too resin packed to take any stain or dye. If you look at the pic above the winter growth on the left side of the board didn’t change at all. So it’s really a matter of keeping that contrast in check when trying to make WRC look nice.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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Divotdog

65 posts in 2910 days


#7 posted 06-06-2012 08:21 PM

Wow – this looks like a way to render a real natural look – I could use it on softwoods like yellow pine and whitewood because they have so much difference between the early and late wood.

But you can only get it from the web, right?

-- David, Dallas,Tx - golf weather is hot but it's cool in the shop

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RussellAP

3059 posts in 1754 days


#8 posted 06-06-2012 08:30 PM

Yes. Charles is on LJ but they respond faster to the web site. It didn’t take long to get mine. I order two at a time.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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RussellAP

3059 posts in 1754 days


#9 posted 06-06-2012 08:36 PM

You can apply it with anything that works and can hold some product, but I like those blue kitchen sponges with the scrubby on the back side. You can squeeze the product into those knots better and the end grain too. I work the board till it’s good and wet and I see it absorbing, then prop it on some cardboard with stickers under them that are sawed to a point and turn a fan on them. The conditioner is non toxic and you can get it on your hands and breath it without any problem. The key with multiple coats is to sand with a 320 the first time, just wipe it off once, then for subsequent coats use a 600-1200 grit and you can work it a bit more to a nice shine. I prefer to keep the shine off until I’ve spar’d it though.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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