LumberJocks

My first ever dining table, working out of thick cedar slabs - What finish to use?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by coonazz posted 322 days ago 2725 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View coonazz's profile

coonazz

8 posts in 328 days


322 days ago

This is my first dive into any type of real wood working. I’ve got to say – it’s really pretty cool. Of course – I’m realizing at this point there is a lot that I don’t know and a lot of tools that I don’t have. Anyway – I’ll make do.

The wood type really chose me. Price was a big factor. I see that this wood is a soft wood and probably not the best thing to use with a my family of 5. Oh well – that what I have and we’ll make the best out of it.

I do have two questions.

What should I use to fill in the cracks between the 3 slabs that will make up the table top?
And – what kind of finish should I use – given that it will be used as my own dining table with kids and will see a lot of use?

Pics of wood below.


15 replies so far

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

616 posts in 769 days


#1 posted 322 days ago

You need to get a tight egde between the slabs any gap will be a weak glue joint and for a table you don’t want weak glue joints. For finish you might look at an epoxy.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1383 posts in 958 days


#2 posted 322 days ago

If you can’t get tight joints, make the gaps wide enough to clean out….think picnic table. A waterborne poly floor finish will be the easiest and most serviceable.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

3233 posts in 453 days


#3 posted 322 days ago

+1 on the tight joints. That can be difficult since I assume you don’t have a big jointer. Did you straight line them by using a straight edge and circular saw. If so that may be the best you can do. I know I couldn’t do any better with hand tools. For me the best thing for a dining table top is oil based polyurethane and many coats of it. I put 5 on my table top and I can leave a sweating glass on there for days and not get any kind of ring. I doubt you could do that with any water based finish. With those voids that I see and the possible gaps between planks, you might consider one of the poured on finishes that will fill the voids and give you a nice thick finish.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=envirotex%20lite&sprefix=enviro%2Caps%2C176

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1383 posts in 958 days


#4 posted 322 days ago

The red cedar may interfere with the curing of any oil based finish. Better test whatever you decide on.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

View coonazz's profile

coonazz

8 posts in 328 days


#5 posted 322 days ago

Thanks all. I should have included a few more details – The top picture shows the latest status after I had sanded, sanded, and re-sanded both boards’ edges to get them as close as possible. I then ran 9 – 6” dowels and glued everything. The bottom pic shows the gaps before I actually got started. There are no big gaps now, but it’s not perfect. The 3rd (and final board) meets up to the middle board a lot better.

After first wanting to do just a tung, linseed, poly satin finish, I have slowly been turning towards that 2 part/epoxy – pour on finish. SOme refer to it as liquid glass. (Not sure if one brand is as good as the next. Just wondering – SHould I put some sort of oil on first, like a tung oil or just go raw wood with the epoxy finish? Of course – I need to sand the heck out of it and them fill any holes/voids (already bought the turquoise inlay/inlace kit that I’ve seen some on here refer to.).

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

3233 posts in 453 days


#6 posted 322 days ago

I assume you know what this eastern red cedar looks like with an oil finish on it. If I were doing this table, I would want that look. It really brings out the color of the wood. What I don’t know is if you can do the pour on over the oil. I suspect that the pour on will not give it that look by itself. Maybe someone here can answer that question or you can call the manufacturer of the pour on and they can tell you.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

519 posts in 667 days


#7 posted 322 days ago

an oil finish will “amber” up the color of your cedar. I only put oil on a cedar box once and I hated it. Lost all of that gorgeous color. +1 for the water based floor finish. General Finishes at Lee Valley have kept me pretty happy.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View JayT's profile

JayT

2081 posts in 807 days


#8 posted 322 days ago

I’d shellac the whole thing to seal the natural oils and then epoxy finish over that. I’d be worried that the epoxy by itself might not play well with the cedar oil.

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

View coonazz's profile

coonazz

8 posts in 328 days


#9 posted 322 days ago

Maybe I can fill it, sand it, oil it, poly it and then if I don’t like that finish, I can use the pour on epoxy?

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1383 posts in 958 days


#10 posted 321 days ago

I can’t believe it. Sounds like a disaster in the making!

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

View coonazz's profile

coonazz

8 posts in 328 days


#11 posted 321 days ago

Wow – thanks Clint for the vote of confidence. Classy.

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

3233 posts in 453 days


#12 posted 321 days ago

You can wipe some mineral spirits on the wood and get an idea of what the oil will make the wood look like. As someone said, the oil will add some amber, so the white parts of the wood will turn a little more yellow. The mineral spirits will evaporate and you can do something different if you don’t like the look. You can also use some of your off falls and do some samples to see what works. They do say that eastern red cedar has its own oils that can cause problems with finishing. I have not experienced this, but I have not tried every finish out there on it. Is this wood sufficiently dried?

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10533 posts in 1286 days


#13 posted 321 days ago

Send Monte a pm. I think he has done a pour on epoxy on red cedar.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View coonazz's profile

coonazz

8 posts in 328 days


#14 posted 321 days ago

Thanks gfadvm.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10533 posts in 1286 days


#15 posted 320 days ago

That’s Monte Pittman

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase