Old Growth Redwood

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Forum topic by KomputerMan posted 307 days ago 798 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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50 posts in 483 days

307 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question redwood finish

I have started to make things out of this remarkable slab of old growth redwood.

The slab came from a tree that was cut down a century ago. 50 years after the tree was felled the stump was harvested. 60 years after that the slab made it’s way to me. That means this wood has had decades to air dry and let me tell you it is dry!!!

I am getting ready to stat to build things from this wood but before I build anything big I want to settle on a good finish. The characteristics of this wood are unlike anything I have ever dealt with before so I need to perform a few experiments on it before I make something cool. So far I have tried two types of finishes but think I can find a better choice.

I’ve tried using Tung Oil and like the gloss it provides:

I’ve also used Tried and True, a polymerized linseed oil and beeswax mixture. I like the way it makes the grain look but I don’t feel as though it is as vibrant as the Tung Oil. Oh… I call the Heart “Broken Heart” because of the crack that was in the piece of wood I chose for my inlay.

Here is a side by side comparison with the Tried and true finish at the top.

A couple of notes about this wood. It is very brittle and extremely dry. When I apply the finish the wood just drinks up the oil.

My question is what type of finish would you recommend be placed on a wood this dry, rare, and beautiful? I am going to continue to build these trinkety types of things till I find a finish I love!!! So give me your choice and I’ll look into it. Thanks for the help guys!!!

Kurtis ~|:-)

-- Have an Ordinary Day ~|:-)

5 replies so far

View FaTToaD's profile


379 posts in 1768 days

#1 posted 307 days ago

Wow, that’s a beautiful slab of redwood! I use to use a lot of redwood and I always like BLO followed by some sort of oil-varnish blend. The redwood always really sucked up the BLO and the oil/varnish blend. Took a lot of coats but the wood felt much more “solid” afterwards.

-- David

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1420 posts in 988 days

#2 posted 307 days ago

Solvent lacquer or a clear waterborne. Take a look at the redwood coffee table I finished with lacquer in my PROJECTS tab.

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

View gfadvm's profile


10724 posts in 1317 days

#3 posted 307 days ago

I have used shellac on my really dry salvaged old growth redwood projects and have been very pleased with the results.

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

View KomputerMan's profile


50 posts in 483 days

#4 posted 297 days ago

Thanks for the tips guys. I’ll try all 3. Clint… Loved your work!!!

-- Have an Ordinary Day ~|:-)

View dbray45's profile


2488 posts in 1403 days

#5 posted 297 days ago

I would give it a wash coat of tung oil finish (50/50 tung oil and diluted oil based poly) then oil based poly.

-- David in Damascus, MD

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