I'm building an outdoor sofa primarily out of cedar. The basic framework will be cedar 2x4s and possible the seat and back out of one-by lumber. The sofa will live in an enclosed porch. It'll never see a drop of rain, but it will be exposed to humidity and temperature fluctuations.
Do I need to seal it with something? I just love the smell of cedar and I'm looking forward to that. I hate the thought of eliminating that.
If it's just to look at and not used then it doesn't need a finish. Any place people touch it they will deposit dirt and skin oils which will make dark spots on the wood. You could put a unpigmented oil finish on it to seal it but it needs something.
...Do I need to seal it with something? I just love the smell of cedar and I'm looking forward to that. I hate the thought of eliminating that.
No...you do not need to seal your wood at all...
There are some natural/traditional oils that will still allow the cedar oil smell to come through yet nothing like bare wood.
Actually "bare wood" is common place in many cultures and regions of the world that have Cypress and Juniper species as there primary wood source (there are no true "Cedars" in North America.) The fallacy that wood has to be "seal" is more a modern concept and marketing tactic of the finishing industry and those that work within it....or...simple ignorance by modern woodworkers not understanding (or knowing) traditional woodworking modalities and/or inaccurate habits...
It is actually impossible to get the finish on some woods (like Japanese floors as just one example) if the wood is "sealed" with anything in the modern context, as the sebaceous oils in human skin create a patina (over time) that is unmatched for smoothness, silkiness and patina.
As pointed out, if these are used for actual sitting, you will note quickly the areas where these oils are in the highs concentrations. If, after a few years, you wish to balance out the tone within the patina, a lite natural oil like walnut or tung can be rube into the wood by had with a lint free rage...
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