Best clear coat for Red Cedar planks

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Forum topic by WoodCop posted 02-28-2014 08:27 PM 1828 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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29 posts in 2054 days

02-28-2014 08:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cedar general finish

Hi All,

I am in the process of finishing up a bar and will be using red cedar to wrap the front. I want to bring out the natural colors and was thinking of using Arm-R-Seal by General Finishes, as I need something durable when people’s feet accidentally kick it.

What would you consider to be the best to a)bring out the natural colors and b)protect the wood?

The basement has a slight moisture issue, but not too bad. There is a dehumidifier down there. I don’t think expanding and contraction will be an issue with the cedar. Thanks all.


-- “Things may come to those who wait...but only the things left by those who hustle.”

7 replies so far

View mahdee's profile


3823 posts in 1581 days

#1 posted 02-28-2014 09:51 PM

Hi Mike. That cedar is pretty soft as you know and regardless of what you put on it, it will get banged up. With that said, you can try rosin, polyurethane or lacquer.


View bigblockyeti's profile


4654 posts in 1534 days

#2 posted 02-28-2014 10:22 PM

Lacquer would be my vote, easy to spray, doesn’t yellow and you can get a gloss, semi gloss or satin finish pretty easily.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2175 days

#3 posted 03-01-2014 04:55 PM

For brush-on, use a waterborne poly floor finish, and the ladies can dance on it. I like Varathane or Bona Mega.

-- 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 Monte Pittman's profile (online now)

Monte Pittman

26699 posts in 2152 days

#4 posted 03-01-2014 05:08 PM

For a bar top, I would use pour on epoxy. If you use a brush on, I would wipe it down with danish oil and then a water based polyurethane (I like Varathane also).

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View WoodCop's profile


29 posts in 2054 days

#5 posted 03-01-2014 06:16 PM

Monte, the cedar is not for the bar top, rather I am wrapping the bar with the cedar tongue and groove. This was recommended largely in part because of moisture. We used granite as the top.

-- “Things may come to those who wait...but only the things left by those who hustle.”

View SurfHunter's profile


54 posts in 2227 days

#6 posted 03-02-2014 03:47 AM

I used lacquer with some very good results, its holding up just fine.

I flew over to my sisters home in Mn and finished her basement for her. I was one day away form going home after completing her 1,700sq’ basement when she asked if I’d do a custom bar for her…

well, as you can see it got out of hand rather quickly..

I used 2 part epoxy on the bar top but everything else got lacquer. and it still looks as fresh as when I completed it.

Best of luck with your project !!! Basements are fun, to get creative with.

-- It’s not the hours you put in, but what you put into the hours that count.

View Loren's profile (online now)


9559 posts in 3461 days

#7 posted 03-02-2014 05:07 AM

I like spar varnish on red cedar. Poly is fine too. Spar is more
ambering if you want it darker.

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