Finishing cedar indoor table

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by emantx10 posted 06-17-2013 07:12 AM 21536 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View emantx10's profile


2 posts in 2002 days

06-17-2013 07:12 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cedar finishing poly stain

I am finishing a 80”x44” cedar dining room table. (cedar is from home depot) After reading a few threads here cedar might not have been a good choice but it has been built. We wanted to do a gray look like you would see at restoration hardware but I tested some gray stain on this wood and it did not see to take well. We would rather not go with a dark brown. A few other things
- What is the best stain for cedar knowing all this?
- My wife likes the natural look of wood not the shiny poly look and feel. Is there a way to protect the wood but still give it a natural look?

Thanks for any help I am very new to all this.


7 replies so far

View Henry6's profile


36 posts in 2223 days

#1 posted 06-17-2013 12:39 PM

Cedar used in the interior requires less protection than exterior,cedar needs nothing more than protection against abrasion and stains from water and other liquids so finishes also works provide an easily cleanable surface as well as modifying cedar’s color.

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2483 days

#2 posted 06-17-2013 02:35 PM

Depending on how you use the table, everyday or off in a corner hardly used, different finishes will be necessary. Cedar dents easy so you should probably consider something that would harden it a bit.
The more you use it the rougher it’s going to look, so you might want to go with that from the start and just leave it plain.

Some of the pour on finishes will give more protection and you can make them gloss or satin.

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

View HerbC's profile


1790 posts in 3056 days

#3 posted 06-17-2013 03:05 PM

Red cedar, when exposed to UV radiation (sunlight) for extended periods of time, will naturally turn “grey”. Use a finish which will provide protection from spills but with no UV blockers. Keep the table in a room which gets plenty of direct sunlight and in a year or two it will be the silver/grey color your wife desires.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View emantx10's profile


2 posts in 2002 days

#4 posted 06-22-2013 11:53 PM

This will be used daily as our dining room table. I’ve tested a few oil based stains and it looks weird. I also used a conditioner before to help with blotchy spots but it looks like its separating around the lines and knots. We really want a walnut or light brown. Any advice?

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2558 days

#5 posted 06-23-2013 12:03 AM

Waterborne poly floor finish in a satin sheen.

-- 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 RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2483 days

#6 posted 06-23-2013 12:25 AM

I’d use Charles Niel’s pre color conditioner. Give it a coat really wet and let it dry, then just wipe it with some 320G paper, then do it again. You can safely use stain after that without blotch, but don’t let it sit. Cedar is absorbent. Some oils will harden the wood a bit, but not that you’d notice on cedar. The natural grey that cedar gets is accompanied by drying and cracking/splintering, so I’d finish it for indoor use.

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

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 2089 days

#7 posted 06-23-2013 03:19 AM

No, no, no. If it’s a grey weathered look you want (Restoration Hardware look you mentioned), you need to do some distressing first, then a steel wool & vinegar stain job AFTER FINAL ASSEMBLY * – then a satin or less sheen protective coat. A water based clear coat will give you a more flatter, non-deepening wood grain tone (“more natural look”) vs. an oil based coat on cedar. Using stains to achieve that greyed look will be hit and miss, IMHO.

If you have time, do some samples w.r.t. to the above – you will not be disappointed.

  • You will have to make your own cedar-sawdust-based wood filler if you use any filler, so that it will turn grey also from the vinegar & steel wool staining.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics