Aromatic Cedar

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Forum topic by tommytenspeed posted 05-13-2014 10:09 PM 833 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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32 posts in 2892 days

05-13-2014 10:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question cedar oak

I recently tried my hand at a cedar lined hope chest; it turned out well except for one thing that I am hoping someone can help me with.

Once I completed the build I got busy and did not finish it (applied a natural stain to the oak but did not lacquer it and left the cedar raw). I closed the lid and there it sat for a couple of months. When I came back to it the inside of the lid was covered with a very sticky substance; in fact, every square inch of the inside that was not cedar was coated with this sticky substance. The cedar was unaffected as were the areas of the lid that did not directly communicate with the interior (i.e. around the edges).

Could it be that the cedar off-gassed leaving this “sap” covering everything? Which begs the question, “If I had sealed the oak would the cedar still have off-gassed and left the sticky substance on the wood anyway? And, what is to prevent this from happening once I seal it and put it into service. I have never seen raw wood do this. Any help?


3 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile


5137 posts in 1744 days

#1 posted 05-15-2014 12:38 PM

I put some up in the front hall coat closet and haven’t had any issues, but it’s probably breathing better given the greater volume and more frequent opening and closing. How long had the cedar been left to air out before installing it? Was it from a retailer packaged in a box or is this something you harvested yourself? I harvested, milled dried and planed my own and haven’t experienced and symptoms like what you’ve described.

View tommytenspeed's profile


32 posts in 2892 days

#2 posted 05-16-2014 12:00 AM

i resawed it into 3/8 inch strips then tongue and groved it prior to installing it. Needless to say it was quite fragrant.

View EPJartisan's profile


1118 posts in 3148 days

#3 posted 05-16-2014 12:36 AM

I have never made a cedar chest before, nor have I had this problem… so I am going out on a limb here. Cedar wood “off-gasses” as you call it, fumes of hydrocarbon Phenols and acids… if the cedar wasn’t completely dry, and the chest got warm I bet the fumes reacted with the unsealed stains… stains ride between and inside the wood cells and fibers (vs. dyes which penetrates and changes the color of the wood cells and fibers).. So I am betting the acid fumes pulled the stain out of the wood… and I could be wrong. :)

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

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