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Can you restore bright cedar finish once the sun has faded it?

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Forum topic by Sabre posted 07-17-2019 07:39 PM 262 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Sabre

9 posts in 1085 days


07-17-2019 07:39 PM

Good afternoon everyone,
Our cedar deck furniture has turned dark gray due to sun exposure, is there any way to bring the beautiful orange color back without disassembling the furniture and planning/sanding all the pieces?


7 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1912 posts in 610 days


#1 posted 07-17-2019 07:53 PM

what finish is on the furniture now ?

in my observation of similar situations, no, other than sanding down
to fresh material like you said.
but then, in a few years, it has to be done all over again.
I would just learn to accept the aged patina if possible.
if you used Formby’s Tung Oil Finish or MinWax Helmsman Spar Urethane,
it will be an ongoing process (sooner than later).

.

.

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

View LesB's profile

LesB

2151 posts in 3890 days


#2 posted 07-17-2019 07:54 PM

You can clean it with a commercial deck brightener (don’t use deck stripper unless there is a finish you want to remove also). There are several manufacturers and all big box stores carry it. The active ingredient in most of they is Sodium hydroxide. Some also contain Oxalic acid. You could also clean it with just an Oxalic acid solution which is more of a bleach and available at the same stores. After it is rinsed and dried it the gray should be gone but it won’t appear exactly like new. Then I would treat it with a clear deck or fence sealer. You should always test something like this in an inconspicuous place or extra piece of wood to see if it does what you *are looking for.
Some people like the gray look and if you stick with that you could just wash it with a mild detergent and a brush. Let it dry and apply a clear sealer.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Sabre's profile

Sabre

9 posts in 1085 days


#3 posted 07-17-2019 08:23 PM

John, Lesb, thank you for the fast responses. I figured this would be the case. I do a lot of wood working but have little experience with cedar. The gent who built these pieces appears to have used only screws (some under plugs), Do you think if I dismantled them and planed the pieces 1/16th or so that it would be enough to reveal the orange color again? If so could do that and then finish it with a uv blocking finish.

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John Smith

1912 posts in 610 days


#4 posted 07-17-2019 09:04 PM

how long have you had the furniture ?
and – what finish in them now ?

yes, sanding and planing will restore “most” of the original color.
but – as a woodworker, you know that exposure to the elements
changes the color in just about everything made of wood without
the appropriate UV blocking finishes. take wooden boats for example.
no matter how many coats of UV blocking varnish you put on, it is a
continuing maintenance issue to lightly sand and renew the finish every year or two..
so unless you want to go through this same scenario every few years,
eventually the wood will be too thin to continue as furniture.
here in the Southeastern US, red cedar and cypress is very popular for furniture items.
if you choose to go down to bare wood, the best finish option would be something
that you can clean and renew each season with minimal effort.
like Les suggested, see what the paint stores have for “brightening” faded wood.
a hard finish like Spar Varnish will definately be a never ending maintenance problem.
if you keep up with wood products such as decks, boats and furniture, you will see that
so far, no one has invented a “one shot & forget it” type of finish.
depending on what part of the country you live in, will determine how fast the furniture
will fade again.
I would suggest you visit some of your local “Paint Stores” and see what they have
for your furniture after you get the colors back to where you like them.
after planing and sanding, the wood will turn very quickly. so you can’t dilly-dally around
with the time constraints of applying the finish.
best of luck in your project !

.

.

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

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3353 posts in 1021 days


#5 posted 07-17-2019 09:12 PM

Pretty sure if you splash some oil on a part not usually seen, but faded, you will see a remarkable change in color. Pretty much any oil will do it, but you would want to use something with a petro base, that has UV limiters/blockers.

The oils are sold as several kinds of products, some with color, or dyes. Some with the UV products included. But essentially oil.

Power wash, see if that makes the wood look better. I’d hold off buying a lot of cleaning products marketed to clean decks, and such, Simple Green in warm water will do just as good a job, or Mr Clean, Soap…..

Let everything dry, and if you want natural, just a good oil, I am fond of Walnut oil, but actual Tung, and many others can get the wood fed, and enriched. Then something on top to block the sun, and that moves you out a few years, or just put it down to have nice clean pretty looking cedar chairs you will need to do it every 2 to 3 years without the UV stuff. Of the chain of products I have found the UV stuff the most dodgy, lots of claims, but nothing lasts a long time. If you want longer lasting, ask the wooden boat guys what they use.

-- Think safe, be safe

View pottz's profile

pottz

5749 posts in 1432 days


#6 posted 07-17-2019 11:04 PM

as les said get some deck fence wood brightner and it will get rid of the gray then you can refinish.ive used an oil finish made by penofin.it comes in cedar or western red cedar depending on how much of a tint you want.ive used this on my cedar fence and it made it look almost new again.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View Sabre's profile

Sabre

9 posts in 1085 days


#7 posted 07-17-2019 11:48 PM

Thank you everyone, It has cedar oil on it now, I will try your suggestions and see if it brightens the wood up.

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