Cedar Chests

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  #1  
Old 08-07-04, 07:37 PM
narf
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Question Cedar Chests

After hours of work my cedar chest is now stripped. Looks very nice. It is in a house with hot air heat. I am concerned that it does not "dry out", look shabby and after the work i have done want to keep it in the best possible way.

So, I went to the hardware store.

The hardware store guy said put on lemon oil as a finish (this would keep it "natural looking" but water/glass wetness would seep in). It would be best to redo 2 to 3 times/year. Better than other products as in the application it would not streak. I asked if i wanted to change it...once i put on the lemon oil can i cover it with another product (say tung oil or polyurethane). He did not seem to know. Your piece about the floor and lemon oil makes me cautious. The previous cedar chest posts seem not to address how to finish the cedar chest.

what finish(es) do you recommend and what should i anticipate to be future maintenance, the result or possible problems?

Thanks for the help....!!!!!!

narf
 
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Old 08-08-04, 06:15 AM
narf
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Cedar Chests

from Narf again,
In advance i thank you for your reply. I have no to little knowledge about this stuff. So,

when you post a reply could you give very basic details, no abbreviations, maybe even a good place to get a particular product?

Thank you, narf
 
  #3  
Old 08-08-04, 06:35 PM
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Cedar can be difficult to finish. wash the surface well with lacquer thinner to wash back some of the natural oils in the cedar. By washing with lacquer thinner you are not washing out the oils completely from the wood as much as you are washing out the surface oils in order to create a good surface in which to apply another coating.
Because cedar has natural oil that migrate to the surface, this may cause most any surface coating to remain soft, or lift from the woods surface.
By washing with lacquer thinner, you will wash off the oil that has migrated up to the surface and create a good clean surface to apply a shellac finish to.The shellac is alcohol soluble, and is not subject to softening from the migration of the natural cedar oil. Because of the fact that shellac is alcohol soluble, this makes it a good stain and oil blocker, shellac is often used when finishing knotty pine to help seal in the sap from the knots. Remember, only finish the outside, not the inside.
 

Last edited by tae; 08-08-04 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 08-08-04, 07:43 PM
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An alternative would be to clean the surface as tae described, then apply lacquer or polyurethane. The clean surface will allow the finish to bond to the surface of the wood. The natural oil will be trapped inside the film.

Applying an oil such as lemon oil will contaminate the wood rendering it unsuitable for applying any other finish without stripping the oil. Tung oil, on the other hand, makes a good, durable finish that is easily renewed if worn or damaged. Use 100% tung oil, not the blends. You may be able to find tung oil locally. Here is one internet source.

http://www.rockler.com/ecom7/product...ter=tung%20oil

Oils such as lemon oil are better suited for cleaning and shining finished surfaces such as lacquer or polyurethane.

Other oils make nice finishes, but the toughest one is tung oil.

Shellac makes an excellent first coat for other coatings. It is especially effective in sealing knots when painting wood.

It is unlikely that your piece will dry out. Inasmuch as wood that is kiln dried prior to use in the manufacture of furniture is dried to a level much below ambient moisture in most environments.

Hope this helps.
 
  #5  
Old 08-11-04, 02:26 PM
narf
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Cedar Chest

a few more QUESTIONS?

first, thank you Tae & Chris, for the responses. The chest looks great and i want to keep it looking nice (no longer old brown but light, with grain apparent)

SO>>>>>>>>

Q Do i need to clean the surface with lacquer thinner?

I stripped the chest with stripper(ultimately using very fine steel wool and getting most everything up, including doing a kind of fine sanding). So is cleaning the surface with lacquer thinner something i still need to do?


Q Is Tung oil like Lemon oil?

does it make the surface unsuitable for applying any other finish without stripping? and what does it do and not do when compared with the other two suggested finishes(shellac, polyurethane)

Q Does Tung oil "grow old"?

I have a (8yrs or so) old can of it, seems fine. Does it get old (kind of like paint) and can not be used? or can i use it with no problem?

Q Does shellac or polyurethane "darken with age"

One reason i stripped the chest was because it was that dark, dark brown seen on many old furniture pieces. It is now light, very beautiful and i like that. So i do not want to have it darken (though enhancing the grain sounds ok/good) and then have to redo this (because i won't)

again much detail is appreciated as i have little knowledge and so far my project looks great

thanks narf
 
  #6  
Old 08-11-04, 10:16 PM
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I would use lacquer thinner just before the application to cut the natural oils.

Tung oil is a finish the same as polyurethane, in that it coats the surface and hardens into a film. Lemon oil does not.

I would use fresh materials. Be a shame to try to save a nickel and ruin a project.

Shellac tends to be yellow or amber in color. Oil based polyurethane yellows. Water based polyurethane does not, unless amber colorant is added to impart the yellow tint.

Hope this helps.
 
  #7  
Old 08-12-04, 10:08 AM
narf
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cedar chest

once again thanks for the response

hopefully these are my last questions (for this project)

Q does tung oil darken or yellow with age?

Q what are the problems (if any) with polyurethane water base, if I use a clear water based polyurethane is there anY "amber colorant" potential & if so would that be listed listed?

Q what would you use to keep it about its same "look" and why

thank you very much, narf
 
  #8  
Old 08-12-04, 01:34 PM
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Tung oil will darken the wood somewhat when applied the same as any wetting. The underlying wood may change on its own with exposure to light.

The water based polyurethane should contain information on the label as to its clarity and any amber tint that may have been added.

For stability in appearance, water based polyurethane would likely be the best choice.

Hope this helps.
 
 

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