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Cedar Chest

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Forum topic by moke posted 12-08-2014 06:35 PM 1069 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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moke

862 posts in 2242 days


12-08-2014 06:35 PM

I made a cedar chest many years ago, I applyed some sort of finish, and it put the chest in a screened in porch…It held up fairly well until I moved it outboors. The finish then lasted a few years. I attempted to throw it away and my wife reminded me it was the first thing I made her, and I would not be throwing it away…rather I would be stripping it and refinishing it. ( I Hate refinishing!!) so I have stripped off all the finish and am almost done sanding. After having a finish on it for so long there are some parts, like down in the cracks that still have some remnants of finsh in there. So I am stuck spraying with something again. I read on here some time ago that you should never put varnissh on cedar…..is that true and knowing that I am pretty well stuck to recoat it, is there something that I can spray on with my Earlex 5500 then cover it with an outdoor coffee table cover the majority of the time…..
Thank you
Mike


13 replies so far

View pjones46's profile

pjones46

986 posts in 2109 days


#1 posted 12-10-2014 07:50 AM

NOT Recommended
Transparent, non-flexible, film-forming finishes such as lacquer, shellac, urethane, and varnish are not recommended for exterior use on cedar. Ultraviolet radiation will penetrate the transparent film (even with UV inhibitors) and degrade the wood surface.

No matter how many coats you apply, the finish will eventually become brittle, then crack and blister – and will ultimately fail. If you do decide to apply a polyurethane, or similar, transparent finish – don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The above being said you are left with the following choices:

Oils
The opinion on the use of oils on outdoor furniture is divided. Some desire a little more protection than a sealer or preservative can supply, yet want to retain the natural look and character of the wood. One of the earliest protections for outdoor furniture was oil. Old-timers would soak their outdoor furniture in boiled linseed oil to afford some measure of protection. In our modern times, linseed oil has been replaced by modern oil formulations that perform much better.

An application of a quality teak oil will help protect the wood and give the wood a rich appearance. Follow the instructions of the finish product carefully. Like sealers, the service life of an oil finish is one to two years, and a yearly application is recommended. If you decide to use an oil finish, you will achieve better protection if you choose a product that contains an ultraviolet blocker.

Some feel that an oil finish is unsuitable for outdoor furniture because the oil will capture dust particles in the air. The finish can achieve a “dingy” appearance, and be harder to keep clean.

Stains
Cedar is considered to have excellent finish-retention qualities, with an exceptional ability to accept many different types of finishes. It is recommended that if you decide to apply a finish to your outdoor or indoor cedar furniture that you do so before the furniture has weathered much. Even a few weeks of exposure will decrease cedar’s ability to hold a finish.

[ Note: Cedar should NOT be left unfinished for 6 to 12 months as suggested by some finish manufacturers (and others) ]. Tip: Finishing wood that is obviously wet, will likely cause finish failure.

Exterior wood stains fall into two groups – semi-transparent and solid color. Both come in a wide range of colors, and surely one will suit your decor and tastes. Once again, purchase a product with ultraviolet (UV) inhibitors for the best results. Little, or no, preparation is required to stain our furniture. The furniture is delivered completely sanded and stain does not require a primer. Just make sure the surface is clean. Apply a semi-transparent stain (with UV inhibitors) in two coats, following the manufacturer’s instructions. To keep your outdoor furniture fresh looking, every other year you might consider giving it a very light sanding, and reapplying your semi-transparent stain. Indoor furniture might go for a decade or more before you felt the need to refinish.

Some (the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association for one) advise against the use of solid color stains for outdoor furniture, maintaining that they are not really suited for smooth, sanded-wood applications. Solid color stains tend to leave a surface film which does not adhere well enough on the sanded wood to stand up to the day-to-day abuse of furniture use.

The service life of a quality semi-transparent exterior stain, with UV inhibitors, is one to three years (and likely only one year without UV inhibitors).

Paint
Paint, without a doubt, provides the most protection to your furniture against weathering and wear (especially from the detrimental effects of water). Being an opaque finish, it also conceals your wood’s natural characteristics. Paint is available in an unlimited color range, and so is often a choice when your furniture needs to closely match a decor.

As in the advice for stains, your furniture should not be allowed to weather any more than necessary before painting. Your furniture arrives completely sanded. For the best results, a quality exterior alkyd oil-based primer offers the best shield against staining by “bleed-through”. A quality exterior latex paint (especially a 100% acrylic formula) remains the most flexible and durable as it ages. The service life for a high quality primer and paint system, properly applied, can be up to ten years. (However, at some point, the furniture will need repainting – requiring a thorough surface preparation, including scraping and sanding. By that time, you’ll probably be ready to change the color anyway.)

Good Luck…....

-- Respectfully, Paul

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HorizontalMike

7156 posts in 2380 days


#2 posted 12-10-2014 12:39 PM

Moke,
May I suggest DIY Milk Paint, with a glaze of Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna. Glaze is a mixture of Turpentine, BLO, the two pigments mentioned, plus a 1/4—1/2 teaspoon of Japan Dyer (from Home Depot). The Japan Dryer helps everything dry and get hard. Also match the acrylic/oil-based paints with the correct task (oil based pigments for making the glaze and water based acrylics for dying the milk paint). You rub most of this off before it dries, leaving just hints of it in cracks and corners, etc.

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/53291

I am finding that the above is very hard and durable, after all milk paint’s calcium proteins are basically creating a concrete/cement layer over the piece painted and glazed. IMO, comparing it with a building I painted in Latex, the DIY milk paint fades/streaks much LESS than the latex paint over the years. The glaze appears to offer additional weather protection against the elements, but I am not convinced that the glaze is the only protection. The durability of the DIY milk paint has been notable.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2410 posts in 1981 days


#3 posted 12-10-2014 12:43 PM

Mike is right, but only if you never, ever want to refinish it again. I refinished professionally for 12 years, and came to absolutely hate milk paint. Not because it looked bad, but it is just a bear to remove.

Other than that, it is a tough, calcium loaded bear of a finish.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1836 days


#4 posted 12-10-2014 01:19 PM

Do you have to keep it outdoors? If that’s a requirement, I can’t provide any input. If you can bring it indoors, I have used Polycrylic on ERC and it’s held up great (well, for 3-4 years so far).

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View moke's profile

moke

862 posts in 2242 days


#5 posted 12-10-2014 06:17 PM

Man guys….looks like I have my work cut out for me for research…...
HMike, I had considered milk paint, but not knowing anything about it, I discarded it….is there a learning curve to applying it? If I go that way, I would like to PM you, with some recommendations and mixing formulas

pjones…
Thank you for the run down of finishes…I printed it off and put it what I call my “important book” I think it has come down to the milk paint or the stain with uv inhibitor….I think if I cover it it may last maybe even 5 years…
Thanks all for your help,
Mike

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3043 days


#6 posted 12-10-2014 06:44 PM

Pjones pretty much nailed it.
moke
Forgive the observation but if this is a valued “first piece of furniture for your wife” shouldn’t it be valued enough to be indoors or even storage is better than outdoors.
If you decide to leave it outside and paint it make sure you use an alcohol based primer to prevent bleed through you can get with cedar.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View ex-member's profile

ex-member

186 posts in 1241 days


#7 posted 12-10-2014 06:53 PM

What a1Jim said…maybe it’s time it came in from the cold.

View moke's profile

moke

862 posts in 2242 days


#8 posted 12-10-2014 06:56 PM

a1jim…
As it was the first piece I made for my wife, it was not the first piece I ever made. In my mind it is a glorified deck box. In my mind, my deck is Cedar and I keep it outside…. As I am sanding it, it is starting to look like new, so I think I am going to be fine.
Mike

Oh…it has never been out over a winter…It stays in the storage shed all winter.

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3554 posts in 1234 days


#9 posted 12-10-2014 06:57 PM

Well, I think a request for picture is in order. If this thing has been sitting outside for so many years, does it need to be treated as a new cedar lumber as it relates to finishes?? I am thinking spar varnish should do the job.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3043 days


#10 posted 12-10-2014 07:07 PM

Ohhh I see Mike
One of those kind of things,yep my wife and I have the same kind of conversations :) My wife treasures a project I built for her for the thought involved in making it for her, and my thoughts are it’s old and not the most sophisticated thing I’ve ever made,I’ll use it for firewood.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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moke

862 posts in 2242 days


#11 posted 12-10-2014 07:37 PM

a1jim…
EXACTLY!!!! But at the same time it is going to be on my patio and I would like it to look good…
Mike

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7156 posts in 2380 days


#12 posted 12-10-2014 07:51 PM


Man guys….looks like I have my work cut out for me for research…...
HMike, I had considered milk paint, but not knowing anything about it, I discarded it….is there a learning curve to applying it? If I go that way, I would like to PM you, with some recommendations and mixing formulas…
- moke

Feel free to PM Moke, but most of what I know is in this link/post:
http://lumberjocks.com/topics/53291

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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moke

862 posts in 2242 days


#13 posted 12-11-2014 06:06 PM

Thanks HMike!

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