Finish or liner for cedar planters

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Forum topic by Bugnurd posted 05-10-2015 12:42 PM 1528 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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105 posts in 1556 days

05-10-2015 12:42 PM

I’m building a pair of cedar planters and I’m getting close to being finished so I was hoping to get advise on finishing them. I originally was going to just wipe on a couple coats of boiled linseed oil (since I already have a gallon of it) and possibly line the inside with heavy plastic. Do you think condensation will build up between the plastic and wood defeating the purpose? Since I used cedar, will they still last long in contact with soil? I’m assuming I’ll have to reapply the oil each year? Any thoughts or past experiences would be great. Here’s what I have done so far.


-- Marc -- Worcester, MA

9 replies so far

View levan's profile


472 posts in 2945 days

#1 posted 05-10-2015 01:13 PM

Looks good

I would be looking for a plastic container that would fit. (think garbage container or plastic planter)
I have some this way and they last for years. Just keep the feet elevated on a paver or something. I used a water based solid color exterior stain, works well and has lasted over 6 years and still looks good.
As far as changing the soil, I don’t I just ad nutrients to it.
best wishes Lynn

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3859 days

#2 posted 05-10-2015 02:01 PM

I should be working but oh well

Just an observation and Im betting it the answer partly lies in which growing you zone you live.

I built one similar to yours many years ago and inserted a galvanized liner with a drain hole in the bottom. The plants thrived albeit they were all annuals and or Dahlias that were dug up in the fall.

Im currently at a house working where the entire veranda has cedar planters that act as railings, it has no finish on the interior, no plastic or galvanized liner and all the boxwood and firebushes are as dead as a weed after just one winter, and the exterior is already turning black from water and soil against wood

Heavy plastic and a torch with adhesive and you can make a liner, or have someone fabricate a galvanized liner with drain so your plants dont drown

Good luck amd nice planter btw

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Bugnurd's profile


105 posts in 1556 days

#3 posted 05-10-2015 03:42 PM

Thanks for the advice so far. Here’s some more info for you. I’m in plant hardiness zone 5b and we hope to grow annual vegetable plants (we’re going to try tomatoes this year). I think I like the idea of a removable plastic inner pot. Hopefully I can find one of an appropriate size. Any thoughts on the BLO, yay or nay?

-- Marc -- Worcester, MA

View bigblockyeti's profile


5093 posts in 1686 days

#4 posted 05-10-2015 03:58 PM

I made some and made a stainless steel liner box for each. I used a spar varnish on the inside and the liner might have touched a little around the top, but was designed to have an air gap between it and the inside of the panels. Never had to do anything else with them and that was about 8 years ago.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4954 posts in 2458 days

#5 posted 05-10-2015 04:22 PM

I’d go with the plastic insert. For the BLO, I don’t see a need for it but if you want to use some up have at it.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Ghidrah's profile


667 posts in 1187 days

#6 posted 05-11-2015 02:50 AM

If you’re above 35° N I’d go with an insert you can pull out and empty for the cold. I’d bore a through hole at the lowest point of the bottom of the insert and planter then fit a plastic tube to drain excess water, cover the drain with bug screen. I’d also bore a couple 3 or 4, 1/4 to 3/8” holes in the bottom of the planter box then cover that with bug screen.

-- I meant to do that!

View Bugnurd's profile


105 posts in 1556 days

#7 posted 05-11-2015 12:24 PM

Awesome. I think I’m going to attempt a custom made sheet metal insert. I’ll probably rivet the heck out of it and seal the seams with a JB Weld or some such product. As for the planter box, I like the idea of sealing it somehow, but I’m not sure i want to do a film finish like spar varnish. Won’t that eventually crack and/or peel and I’d have to strip it to renew the finish? I’d like to go with some sort of oil based sealer someone might use on a deck and just reapply each year. Having the insert would allow me to bring them indoors over the winter and do a quick coat each spring before we fill them. Are there transparent sealers like that that will retain the nice cedar color if I reapply every year? Thanks again for all the replies so far.

-- Marc -- Worcester, MA

View larson1170's profile


32 posts in 1577 days

#8 posted 05-11-2015 06:01 PM

I got one for you that I have used a few different times. You can go to any of the big box stores and get yourself some aluminum trim coil. The same stuff sides use to wrap windows and door frames. It is fairly cheap and easy to work with(two big selling points in my book). You can make a clamp with a few boards clamped together and use a hammer to put in the bends that you need. Then use a good exterior caulk on the seams. It will make it watertight and work as a glue to hold the pieces together. I usually put a drain in the bottom that I can caulk into place. Another upside is that the outside(not shiny) usually has an enamel or plastic coating so that the aluminum is not oxidizing up against the wood. Just my two cents.

View Bugnurd's profile


105 posts in 1556 days

#9 posted 06-13-2015 11:38 PM

So just in case anyone was interested, here’s what I ended up doing. Galvanized sheet metal insert, and I finished it with spar varnish. I’m too in love with the cedar color to let it fade to gray. I did 3 coats of the varnish.

-- Marc -- Worcester, MA

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