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What finish on Eastern Red Cedar?

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Forum topic by KYtoolsmith posted 02-03-2019 02:50 AM 1911 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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KYtoolsmith

253 posts in 1322 days


02-03-2019 02:50 AM

Making a primitive style garden bench from a cedar log. Had a large cedar fall in our pasture a couple of years ago. Using part of it for a bench. Wife wants to keep the color from fading. My thought was to use Thompson’s water seal but don’t know if that will work. Anyone have better ways to finish or protect cedar used outdoors?

Thanks! The Kentucky Toolsmith

-- "Good enough" is just another way of saying "it could be better"...


4 replies so far

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WoodenDreams

1592 posts in 1372 days


#1 posted 02-03-2019 05:36 AM

I use Minwax Natural Stain, then apply poly over the stain. I’ve also used Linseed Oil on eastern aromatic cedar with success. If this is for outdoor use, you may want to use a marine poly.

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sawdustdad

379 posts in 2347 days


#2 posted 02-03-2019 12:26 PM

Nothing you use will last indefinitely, so be prepared to renew the finish periodically. A good marine varnish will last a couple years, depending on the weather it is exposed to. Many boaters with teak on their boats keep a regular annual maintenance routine of sanding and re-coating to keep the finish intact. It you let it go too long, the finish will fail and then it’s a major chore to strip and replace the finish.

Oil finishes will be less durable but much easier to renew.

Bottom line, there is no “finish and forget” solution for coating wood left out doors.

May be best to let it go a natural grey and not worry about it?

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

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KYtoolsmith

253 posts in 1322 days


#3 posted 02-03-2019 10:43 PM

Thanks for the ideas! I’ll look into a marine varnish or poly. Yeah I hear you loud n clear that no outdoor finish is without maintenance… I googled finishing ERC and found a lot of conflicting opinions. Some claim poly or oil based finishes don’t adhere to cedar… The use of Minwax natural stain caught my eye. Never could understand what a “stain” with no pigment could possibly be good for… ;-)

-- "Good enough" is just another way of saying "it could be better"...

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WoodenDreams

1592 posts in 1372 days


#4 posted 02-03-2019 11:18 PM

The Natural Stain will help the wood pop the color. Try some scrape pieces, and apply the natural stain and poly over it, then apply only poly on another piece of scrap. There is a significant difference.

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