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Thread: how to finish cedar

  1. #1

    Default how to finish cedar

    I am currently carving a sign out of cedar wood. The client will be using it outside when they are camping. What finish should I use or can it be left natural?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Kaukauna, Wisconsin


    Cedar can be left natural, but over time the oils will dry out. The wood will gray and separate from the grain a bit. I use linseed oil on natural cedar, but most be applied every couple of years or more to keep up the look. The other choice I have when going outside is spar vanish, it gives protection from the elements and last for years. I have a couple gate signs that have been sitting in a northern Wisconsin forests for about 6 years or more , I'm think, that have 4 coats of spar on them and still look great. No one gets out there much as the snows fall and they get covered in snow with no issues. The sun comes up and tries to beat them down, mainly the south gate sign, which they handle like troopers. Spar can be used as an overcoat as long as previous finishes are dry first.

  3. #3


    For example, I have gate signs in a northern Wisconsin forest that have been out there for about six years with four coats of spar varnish. They still look great despite being exposed to snow and intense sunlight. Spar varnish can be used as an overcoat, provided any previous finishes are dry first.
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