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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, new to the forum and am hoping for a little direction...

I recently aquired an antique cedar chest from my grandfather. The outside was wrapped (glued) with vinyl. I took the vinyl off, stripped the glue, varnish, and then sanded the chest with a 150 then 220 sand paper. It looks great now, and even smells better.

My question is in refernce to refinishing/protecting the outside of the chest. I love the way it looks raw ,but have noticed that any drop of water (my sweat) stains it. Is there anyway or any product that might give me protection with little change made to the color of the chest? I don't want it much darker, and deffinately don't want it shiny. Not to shiny anyway.

I thought about restoring with cedar oil and then pure tung oil.

Thoughts?

Thanks in advance.
 

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cedar chests were used for linens mostly, moth resistant. if you top coat it with anything, you will seal in the smell of the cedar and kind of defeat the purpose of it. i'd leave it as is, and keep it away from water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
cedar chests were used for linens mostly, moth resistant. if you top coat it with anything, you will seal in the smell of the cedar and kind of defeat the purpose of it. i'd leave it as is, and keep it away from water.
Thanks, but I'd like it to be a little more resistant than having to always be careful with it.

Wondering about the cedar oil. Does a chest that's almost 100 years old need it.

Also, I will obviously leave the inside of the chest raw. Just concerned about the exterior
 

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Texas Boy said:
Also, I will obviously leave the inside of the chest raw. Just concerned about the exterior
That would work.

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Texas Boy said:
Sorry.. What would work?
Not finishing the inside to keep moths and other bugs out of the cloths or other fabric items that would be kept in the chest.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Not finishing the inside to keep moths and other bugs out of the cloths or other fabric items that would be kept in the chest.

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Thanks, but I'm looking for info on finishing the exterior of the chest. The inside is done and ready.
 

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In an inconspicuous location such as the bottom, do a small test area by applying a liberal coating of paraffin rubbed with 0000 steel wool in the same direction your sandpaper last traveled.

The color will virtually be unchanged and although definitely not water proof it will be better than most any oils that could be applied. Do a small area and test with a drop of water to see if the result is close to what you're looking for. If someone sets a condensing drink glass on it for a length of time it will leave a stain as with most finishes.
 

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You can apply any finish to the outside of the chest. However, the aromatic oils in cedar will affect an oil based finish causing it to lose adhesion. The solution is to first apply a coat of dewaxed shellac then apply a coat or two of a satin (non-gloss) oil based or waterborne clear finish. That will give the item plenty of protection. Zinsser Seal Coat is a 100% dewaxed shellac.

As others have said, do not apply any type of finish to the inside or you will lose any of the cedar scent.
 

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The red in cedar is going to turn brown no matter what you do. The best you can hope for is to slow the process down. If you apply enough tung oil it will protect it from water spots however it will do nothing toward preventing it from turning brown. The best way to retain the red color is to use a product called Sun Block sold by Kwick Kleen. It's a sun screen made for wood. Then if you have the means of spraying you can seal it with a vinyl sealer and topcoat with a cab-acrylic lacquer. The lacquer and sealer are available through Sherwin Williams in most states. If you are brushing the finish I would recommend a water based polyurethane. If you don't put too many coats on and use a satin sheen it should look pretty close to an oil finish and give better protection. Now the problem is you will have to mail order the Sun Block and the wood will darken a little while you are waiting. You might cover the chest with some dark blankets to keep sunlight off of it.
 
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