Rotten Redwood

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Forum topic by Wagon173 posted 04-10-2014 06:21 AM 896 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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50 posts in 1561 days

04-10-2014 06:21 AM

So I’m in the middle of making a redwood coffee table for my anniversary and I have 3 more days to make it. I got the legs all finished and started cutting the mortise in the table top to find out that the center is rotten. It still feels strong but there is definitely too much rot in the center to be cut out. It’s about 2 1/4 inches thick and depending on where your at on the table it goes from no rot to almost an inch and some change of rot in the middle (thickness wise) My question is, if I seal it with spar urithane, or penetrating oil or something else, will it continue to rot? I need an answer quick since if I have to abandon this table top, I need to find a new one quick! I just don’t want my table to fall apart a year or two down the road :( Thanks for your help, guys

5 replies so far

View Ted's profile


2873 posts in 2239 days

#1 posted 04-10-2014 07:04 AM

Rot needs moisture to continue growing, so I’d say no it would not continue. I would stabilize it with minwax wood hardener but I’d be interested to see what others have to say.

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

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50 posts in 1561 days

#2 posted 04-10-2014 02:57 PM

Well it’s still pretty wet inside the wood even though the outside is bone dry. I had water oozing out as I was chiseling away as much of the rotten stuff as I could. My thoughts have been to only seal the top and legs until it’s had a chance to fully dry in the house. I guess I’ll see if I can get the joints tight enough to get by without glue incase it does fall apart, I only have to build another table top. This makes me a sad panda. I guess that’s what I get for pulling a backboard out of the brush that’s been outside for the last 30 years. I’ll definitely pick up some of that minwax though and treat it down the road when it is totally dry. Thanks for your help, ted!

View HerbC's profile


1764 posts in 2887 days

#3 posted 04-10-2014 10:52 PM

If you finish/seal the top but not the bottom you will almost certainly get warping (probably cupping) as the top dries in your home.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


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

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1276 posts in 1662 days

#4 posted 04-10-2014 11:05 PM

You’ve answered your own question, you still have water in the lumber. You can’t build with that.
it’s history..

Are you sure the wood is rotted, and not green. Green wood is very soft. Sounds like you have wood that has not dried yet, and was not ready to be used.

-- Jeff NJ

View Wagon173's profile


50 posts in 1561 days

#5 posted 04-11-2014 04:01 AM

No, the slab I’m using was from an old horseshoe backboard way back when. The tree it was cut from was probably fell sometime in the late 1800’s so it’s definitely not green. Thanks for the heads up on the sealing tip, herb. My grandpa took pitty on my anniversary gift gone wrong and offered to take me to his friends house to pick up another small slab. I guess we’ll see what kinda shape the new one is in tomorrow when I go to pick it up. Fingers crossed. Thanks for all your help guys! It’s much appreciated!

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