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Hi All! I've attached a jpg of a table I am making from some slabs of cedar. I've never used cedar for an interior application - this table will most likely be used in a dining room. Any one have any ideas on how to finish something like this. I'd like to bring out the colors, especially the pinks and reds. I've seen another slab that was cedar like this on a vanity and the end-grain had turned black in spots.

One other consideration is that there are some spots on one of the slab where there are some dents that are deeper than I can/want to plane/sand. If I might be able to fill these, like I might have seen on a bar top perhaps, that would be nice.

Thanks!
 

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Log dog
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Here's a coffee table I did awhile back.
Eastern red cedar with 6 coats of oil base poly.
If you have a scrap piece? You could do a few samples finishes to see how it would look.
Nice pieces.

image-1873575190.jpg
 

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Log dog
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Not sure, maybe. Lol I got it from a guy that does chainsaw carvings down in Tennessee.
 

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If I'm not mistaken Dominick's table is aeromatic cedar and BuddyLumen's table is western cedar. The western cedar isn't going to have the same color. It will finish more like pine. If the table is western cedar I would recommend coating it with linseed oil to bring out the grain, then seal with zinsser sealcoat and topcoat with a water based polyurethane.

The dents if they are relatively minor fill with wood putty. The putty would probably need some touching up for color after you put the linseed oil on it. If there is deep holes you could mix some bondo the color of the finished wood and fill with that. You can use a universal tinting color to mix the bondo. You just have to make the color a little less red to allow for the hardener.

 

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Log dog
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Steve Neul said:
If I'm not mistaken Dominick's table is aeromatic cedar and BuddyLumen's table is western cedar. The western cedar isn't going to have the same color. It will finish more like pine. If the table is western cedar I would recommend coating it with linseed oil to bring out the grain, then seal with zinsser sealcoat and topcoat with a water based polyurethane. The dents if they are relatively minor fill with wood putty. The putty would probably need some touching up for color after you put the linseed oil on it. If there is deep holes you could mix some bondo the color of the finished wood and fill with that. You can use a universal tinting color to mix the bondo. You just have to make the color a little less red to allow for the hardener.
That's my guess to.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Steve, thanks for the great reply, and yes you are right, it is Western Red Cedar. The piece similar to this that I have seen was western cedar and it finish much more yellow and I think that he just used a lacquer on it. The dents are fairly deep - I haven't done much wood filling and color tinting, but hey all the more reason to give it a try I suppose. Time to find a test piece!
 

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Steve, thanks for the great reply, and yes you are right, it is Western Red Cedar. The piece similar to this that I have seen was western cedar and it finish much more yellow and I think that he just used a lacquer on it. The dents are fairly deep - I haven't done much wood filling and color tinting, but hey all the more reason to give it a try I suppose. Time to find a test piece!
If you have a deep dent to fill with wood filler you have to apply it a little at a time letting each coat thoroughly dry. It's just a lot easier for me to mix bondo and do it in one shot. The tinting color is the same thing paint stores use in their machines to mix paint. Some real paint stores sell the colorant in bottles. You would probably need yellow oxide, red oxide and lamp black to match western cedar. If you keep the bottles sealed the stuff will last for years. Be careful what kind of lacquer you use on the cedar if you go that route. Most common lacquers are a nitrocellulose lacquer which yellow as it ages. You could use a cabacrylic lacquer or one of the catalyzed lacquers. Those would remain clear.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Actually I'm not set on the lacquer idea, come to think of it, the vanity top I mentioned that was lacquered cedar did seem to have yellow-ed quite a bit - that's what I'd like to avoid actually. I like the linseed idea. The dents are probably a quarter of an inch to maybe three eighths, and the largest is dime size. How many layers do you think I should do on something like that?
 

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Actually I'm not set on the lacquer idea, come to think of it, the vanity top I mentioned that was lacquered cedar did seem to have yellow-ed quite a bit - that's what I'd like to avoid actually. I like the linseed idea. The dents are probably a quarter of an inch to maybe three eighths, and the largest is dime size. How many layers do you think I should do on something like that?
There are many different finishes you could use that wouldn't yellow. A water based polyurethane would work or any acrylic finish.

If the dents are that deep using a putty like famowood, I would apply a layer about the thickness of the cardboard on a legal pad every 12 hours until it was filled. The trouble going that thick is if you rush it, the putty is wet in the center and dries on the surface. The center will eventually dry and shrink and cause what is on the surface to crack and if very wet will just come out when you try to sand it.
 

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One other consideration is that there are some spots on one of the slab where there are some dents that are deeper than I can/want to plane/sand. If I might be able to fill these, like I might have seen on a bar top perhaps, that would be nice.

Thanks!
You may be able to bring the dents out with water and a clothes iron.
Test it out with a few self made dents on an offcut or the back of your boards .
 
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