Finishing tips needed

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Forum topic by SST posted 09-25-2007 02:23 AM 1476 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View SST's profile


790 posts in 5250 days

09-25-2007 02:23 AM

I’m kooking for a tip or two on finishing cedar. I’m using it as a liner in a box and wondering if I should finish it or just leave it. It’s not a humidor, or anything that needs to be like a cedar chest. I’m just using it as a liner because I have some scraps that will fit and look pretty good. (I’m big on using up the wood I have laying around)
These pieces were in a box of closet lining pieces that I got at a yard sale. I did notice that some pieces seem to be bleeding sap that has crystallized in a few spots.
Anyway, I’m looking for some advice (opinions) on on whether to apply some finish, and if so, what kind, keeping in mind that I’m a simplistic kind of guy, so I don’t want to get too exotic. (remember, I’m using yard sale wood and, did I mention that the box I’m lining also came from a yard sale..different one, though).
Oh, and don’t worry, I’ll be sure to show it off when I’m done. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

8 replies so far

View bryano's profile


546 posts in 4988 days

#1 posted 09-25-2007 02:38 AM

Is this airomatic cedar? If so i wouldnt put any finish on it, mite take away that wonderful smell.

-- bryano

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 5261 days

#2 posted 09-25-2007 03:05 AM

Hello SST;
—-well depends on whether you want to retain the smell or go for a look of finish?

I use cedar for backsplashes when I’m doing wood (white oak) countertops, so I will then contrast with cedar. I will apply a coat of tung oil, then apply a coat or two of de-waxed shellac, which I will then follow with several coats of oil poly….

Bear in mind that you can also just go with the tung oil, although in order to speed the drying process up some, I usually cut 50:50 with gum turps (mineral spirits works great also) and then use some Japan dryer.

As to stopping the bleeding sap, try using two coats of shellac on the wood. You only need to go with the de-waxed if you are planning on applying a top finish over such as poly or a varnish.

I also think it’s great that you are using all your wood and as to any finish being simple….well, finishing is an art in it’s own, but any who want to, can master this art.

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

View MattD's profile


150 posts in 4999 days

#3 posted 09-25-2007 05:51 AM

It’s a personal preference really. My preference would be to sand it around 220 grit occassioanlly to clean it up and restore the smell of the cedar. You might also consider using a cedar/mineral oil that would provide a reasonable finish and maintain the smell. Looking forward to seeing the new project!

-- Matt - Syracuse, NY

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 5229 days

#4 posted 09-25-2007 06:30 AM

If you want to just seal up the gum deposits so they don’t leak anymore, you just need to hit it with a coat or two of dewaxed shellac.

BTW, if you ever do get to making a humidor, you’ll want to use Spanish cedar, which is really more like mahogany, than the western or eastern cedar you’re used to seeing.

Good luck on the box!

-- Ethan,

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4073 posts in 5119 days

#5 posted 09-25-2007 08:08 AM

Echoing what others have said, dewaxed shellac if you want to seal it, burnishing it to P400 grit if you want it to scent the project.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View Karson's profile


35271 posts in 5455 days

#6 posted 09-25-2007 06:04 PM

I’m with leaving it alone and enjoy the smell.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View SST's profile


790 posts in 5250 days

#7 posted 09-26-2007 11:55 PM

Thanks for all the tips. I’ll be digesting it all and, hopefully, moving forward soon. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View Woodminer's profile


69 posts in 4992 days

#8 posted 09-28-2007 07:24 PM

Leaving it naked does not preserve the color. Wood oxidizes. Almost all wood changes color with that process.

If you’re interested in color, use a lacquer or other water clear product to avoid color changes. Lacquer will mask the scent (darn) but leaves the color pretty much alone. And if you’re wanting the scent, too, you could always make it a dry potpourri, right? Add some fresh cedar chips now and then, keep dust in a little pouch hidden in the bowl…

I’m working on a little cedar bowl right now and know that I have to finish it so that it won’t crack. Wild grain patterns, very cool, but am concerned about the cracking. LOVE the aroma of turning it and will probably put some chips in a pouch nearby once it’s displayed. Padauk’s aroma is also wonderful, but fleeting. Might do the same there…

-- Dean, Missouri

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