Finishing a redwood burl

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Forum topic by Matheson posted 10-27-2012 02:36 PM 10925 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2003 days

10-27-2012 02:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: redwood burl finishing modern

Hi. I picked up a nice redwood burl on eBay to make a live edge coffee table. I’m working on finishing it and have purchased some hairpin legs to support it. I sanded it to 320 top and bottom and then applied 4-5 coats of Watco Danish oil. I let that dry for over 72 hours, then started applying wipe-on-poly. The wood has been soaking up the polyurethane, voraciously in a few spots. I’m at about 10 coats now (allowing 6-24 hours between with light sanding) and still have areas that want to soak it up. As a burl, it has varied grain and in a few spots looks like the wood may have been burned by a lightning strike or something. These areas seem to be the most porous. Now to my questions. #1 Can I put any sort of finish over the poly that might penetrate and seal these extremely porous areas or am I better off just continuing the layers of poly until the wood finally saturates? #2 Regarding the live edge, which is very irregular and porous, could I brush on a different heavier finish that would saturate in fewer coats? Maybe even a spray finish? I’m a beginner so any advice would be helpful. The photo below is of the unfinished burl to give you an idea of what I’m working with.

2 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2327 days

#1 posted 10-27-2012 03:06 PM

The oil and wipe-on was not a good idea, but it’s too late now. You can save it by letting it cure for a month, sanding it lightly with 220, and brushing on several coats of waterborne poly. I like Varathane floor finish.

This is how redwood looks with nothing but lacquer.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2105 days

#2 posted 10-27-2012 06:59 PM

I’ve used it for a couple turning projects. In my experience, sanding it down to a pretty high grit (600 or so, maybe higher) will reduce its tendency to suck up finish, and leave you with a shinier surface.

If all else fails, epoxy might be a good bet too. It’ll give you a nice, hard finish over the softer redwood.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

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