Finishing aromatic cedar

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Forum topic by Paddywhack posted 05-30-2013 08:00 PM 2331 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 2010 days

05-30-2013 08:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: aromatic cedar finish

I have two book matched slabs of aromatic cedar I’m turning into a table. I’ve never worked with this wood before. Anything I should know? I’m wondering what the best finish is for this type of wood. I like a satin or matt finish.


6 replies so far

View Finisherman's profile


227 posts in 1273 days

#1 posted 05-30-2013 08:37 PM

Is the table going to live indoors, or is it going to be an outdoor picnic table. If the table is going to stay inside, then you can use pretty much any finish you want, from shellac, to varnish, to lacquer to waterborne. If this table is going to be used as a picnic table, then I’d steer away from finishes which for a film, like spar varnishes. These finishes won’t hold up to rain, snow and intense sunlight for very long, in spite of what the label tells you. Trust me. I once had to scrape and sand a layer of peeling spar varnish off of a cedar picnic table. Not a fun project. I think that you’d be best to go with a finish which can be recoated easily like an oil varnish blend, preferably one like Deftoil exterior wood finish. Of course, you could also use a semi-transparent exterior deck stain.

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 1537 days

#2 posted 05-30-2013 09:43 PM

For indoors I spray my aromatic cedar with stain lacquer. I love it!

Good luck!

View Grandpa's profile


3256 posts in 2099 days

#3 posted 05-31-2013 02:40 AM

Linseed oil to bring out the color then I have used Lacquer but I think Poly is tougher.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2391 posts in 2346 days

#4 posted 05-31-2013 09:32 PM

I use Tung oil finish on cedar boxes. Wipe it on. Shellac and sand it first though. Cedar will absorb a lot of finish so the shellac helps seal it.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

View Jeff in Huntersville's profile

Jeff in Huntersville

404 posts in 2618 days

#5 posted 05-31-2013 09:44 PM

I’ve used both poly and shellac. But you lose the cedar odor.

View pintodeluxe's profile


4827 posts in 2237 days

#6 posted 05-31-2013 09:44 PM

I have never seen a table made of aromatic cedar. Projects I have used it for went unfinished, to maintain that pleasant smell. It is pretty soft wood.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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