Auto wax on cedar?

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Forum topic by jklingel posted 04-12-2018 05:48 AM 512 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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110 posts in 1764 days

04-12-2018 05:48 AM

I just built a couple of small, indoor cedar tables and am playing with various finishing ideas. One option is Watco Danish, natural color. I love the color, and will have to see about the interference of the cedar oil if we go that way. I read here where that may be a problem. Anyway, on the can of Danish it says you can apply Watco satin wax, i think they called it, but I don’t have any. I do have some auto wax that claims to have UV inhibitors in it, so I am thinking of testing it on a scrap. Does anyone have any experience rubbing Auri auto wax over Danish on cedar? The wax is not for wood, but I figured Danished wood might be ok…. dunno yet. Thanks. john

5 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4255 days

#1 posted 04-12-2018 06:05 AM

Car wax may be harder. It dries to a haze I’ve
never seen with waxes formulated for wood.
You can test it but don’t be surprised if it does
something weird.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2134 posts in 770 days

#2 posted 04-12-2018 12:14 PM

John ~ as for the UV inhibitors in paste wax, I would look at marine (boating) products
and compare the ingredients if this is something that you will be using a lot of.
if UV is an issue in your area, applying a 3M UV protective film on the windows helps a lot.
Eastern Red Cedar will definitely turn color in the sun – no doubt about it.
one thing to do with new red cedar furniture such as tables and dressers is to not leave an item in the
same place for more than 2 months or it will leave a lighter spot where it sat. (like a clock, for example).
rotate the items frequently until the wood reaches the point that it is comfortable with itself
in its final patina stages. and if possible, do not put the furniture in direct sunlight for the first year.

photos of your projects would be nice to see

[wood gets darker with age – that is just the nature of the beast – accept it for what it is].


-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View jklingel's profile


110 posts in 1764 days

#3 posted 04-12-2018 04:39 PM

thanks for the replies. i will test the car wax today. i have already noticed the effect of my LED shop lights on the wood. i had a scrap sitting on a table top for 7-10 days and when i moved it yesterday the wood underneath was brighter, and not just because it had no dust on it. i was surprised. as long as the cedar does not turn dark brown, we’ll be fine. if so, i’ll sell the tables and buy some bubinga… and hope. my wife likes its color, but i don’t like its price tag. cheers. john

View LesB's profile


2315 posts in 4051 days

#4 posted 04-12-2018 05:44 PM

What type of cedar is it. Eastern or western?
I doubt your LED lights changed the color of the wood. It was most likely there was still some moisture in the wood that evaporated and made the wood look lighter.
Test the wax idea but I would expect it to soak in unless you have completely sealed the wood with several coats of the Danish oil. It is not likely to help hold the color of the wood in any event.

For western cedar the color will darken over time almost regardless of the treatment however, it can be bleached to bring back the lighter color; a process that is done all the time on cedar decks. The bleach is referred to as a”brightener” (oxalic acid also works) and is usually used in combination with a striper that removes any previous finish. Then the wood is retreated with a new finish coat.
You indicate that these are “indoor tables” so the darkening affect of outdoor exposure will not be the problem.
I would use your Danish oil to get the color you like then top coat it with polyurethane which will seal it and greatly slow down the darkening caused by exposure to the air (oxidation).
Report your results.

-- Les B, Oregon

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110 posts in 1764 days

#5 posted 04-12-2018 07:30 PM

Les: Thanks. It’s Eastern. The waxing didn’t do too much, after two coats, but the wood does seem smoother after some rubbing. I am going to apply another coat, and will try some over some of the other finishes, just for kicks. I will take some pics of the sample board and try to post them.

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