Hand peeled cedar logs, working with them?

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Old 01-13-13, 07:11 AM
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Hand peeled cedar logs, working with them?

Hello, I'm trying to make a rustic/log cabin style mantel for our firplace, as well as a few other small projects with cedar logs. I had some white cedar logs cut to shape/size from a saw mill that makes products/materials for log cabins. The wood we received, as told/expected, was green and hand peeled. We were told to leave it indoors to dry for several weeks.
Any other advice on working with/preparing it?? What we ultimately are trying to get are logs to lookl like the rustic, white cedar in rustic log cabins. Currently, there is still a lot of fiber/fine wood strands on the outside of the logs. Does this fall off naturally over time or does it need to be sanded off with fine grit sandpaper?
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Old 01-13-13, 08:11 AM
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You would definitely want to strip the outer bark off. If you are wanting them to be white then yes, you'll need to do a lot of sanding on them. Just remember that whatever grit you use for sanding that the sanding abrasive will leave swirls and scratches that you will need to sand out with progressively finer grits.

A good final grit would be 150 grit. A belt sander is for fast sanding, and it will take off a lot of material in a hurry so you have to be very careful with it. A 5" orbital is not quite as agressive but its a lot faster than hand sanding. 1/4" sheet sanders are a little slower than the 5" orbitals and are generally finish sanders.
 
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Old 01-13-13, 08:51 AM
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Thanks, I was wondering what would be a good grit to go up to. I've got a few sanding pads that are 150 grit, I thought those would be good for the curved exterior side of the log; I've got a 1/4 sheet sander and access to orbital and belt sanders, but don't think they'll work well as the surface is curved and irregular. They already have the bark peeled off, but there is still some fiber on it that I'm trying to remove. My goal is to have the smooth, white, curved exterior side of the log as the exposed/visible surface.
Then I have to figure out do I seal/stain/polyurathane it or leave as is?????
 
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Old 01-13-13, 11:41 AM
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A sander will work well on the top but other than a quick once over, probably won't help much on the irregular parts of the log. The outer part of the log shouldn't be overly difficult to hand sand as there won't be any saw marks to remove, just remember to always sand with the direction of the grain! Cross sanding will leave scratches in the wood that could be difficult to remove.

I'd definitely apply some type of finish to the wood once it has dried. Mainly so it will stay clean looking. No finish makes the wood susceptible to all kinds of stains and hard to dust.
 
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Old 01-14-13, 06:21 AM
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Bark Surfaces

I would peel the bark with a draw knife to leave an irregular, rustic surface.
 
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Old 01-18-13, 03:02 PM
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Draw knife/blade would look nice, but these already came with the bark peeled off. Still could have done it but don't have the tools and already sanded them down.
I've got them sanded down to 150 grit and they look good. I want to put a coat of something to seal them. I was all set to use some polyurathane that I already had, then a little research made me concerned that poly wasn't the best way to go. The concern was that polyurathane forms a layer over the wood and as the wood continues to dry/shrink/crack, the coat of poly will flake and peel off.
The articles I saw suggested using a sealer, rather than a polyurathane, but didn't mention any types. Any suggestions?
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Old 01-18-13, 03:09 PM
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About the only reason for the poly to peel would be if the moisture content in the wood is still high. I don't know how long it would take a log portion like that to dry. A water based water sealer might work ok in the meantime.
 
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Old 01-18-13, 05:11 PM
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If you don't mind the slightly golden hue, amber shellac might be a good choice. Shellac is an excellent sealer and shouldn't peel. Repairs are easier with shellac than poly, although it isn't nearly as hard of a finish.
 
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Old 01-18-13, 05:45 PM
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Thanks for info, they are still somewhat green/moist. They were fresh cut when I got them about 3 weeks ago. I've kept them indoors and its fairly dry there, woodburnig stove is in same room. They're drying out fairly quickly and developing cracks, but I'm sure it's got a ways to go before its fully dried out. Golden hue isn't bad, may check out the shellac.
 
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Old 02-10-13, 11:54 PM
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Wood finishing is a very personal thing.
If it's true rustic you want, you should let the wood "age" somewhat. It will significantly dry out over time (months) and strongly check and figure.

For exterior logs, the only recommended treatment is wood preservative, which is simply a solution that soaks into the wood to prevent mold, rot and excessive aging. Peeled logs not exposed to the elements do not "need" any sort of treatment. You can rub on tung oil if you like, however. Applying lacquer, shellac, acrylic or any other kind of coating is very "anti-rustic".....

The logs in the picture are hand-peeled yellow pine and have aged nicely over the decades...

 
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Old 03-02-13, 07:55 AM
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Thanks for all the help; I ended up just a Cabot timberwick oil rubbed on, turned out nice.
Here's a link to the finished project, I received a lot of help from this and other forums on this site. This was a birthday/christmas gift for my wife, she loves it.
Bedroom gas fireplace and hearth | DoItYourself.com
 
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