Outside finish for Eastern Red Cedar?

Claus

Claus
User
My neighbor‘s been bringing home loads of sawmill cedar and I’ve been using it for stuff like this bench. Cheap, easy to work with and really enjoyable. I’m ready to put this one outside and wondering what would be a good minimal but protective finish. I know cedar is bug and rot resistant but I’m reluctant to just leave it unfinished, but I will if that would work
Thanks in advance for any advice

Claus

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RickR

Rick
Senior User
Attached photos show before/after of my unprotected bench after 14 months of weather here in the Charlotte area. I did not want to get into a maintenance schedule so left it bare. I am happy with it.
0BF815B7-B71F-4076-ABBD-68588A71B692.jpeg
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Last edited:

Oka

Casey
Corporate Member
Just Linseed Oil. Cedar and Redwood, my parent's lived in Redwood country in California. All the outside furniture was treated with Linseed oil thinned with mineral spirits 10-20%. Lasts about 3-4 years, then just wash down the wood and retreat, not on the same day of course.
It will darken the wood though. I use mineral oil/beeswax if I want the color to remain close to original, darkens less.
 

Claus

Claus
User
Thanks Rick - that’s exactly the look that I had envisioned. And Casey that had not occurred to me but I think I’ll sand some off cuts and give it a test.

—Claus
 

AdamO

Update your profile with your name
User
I used a spar urethane (Minwax, I think) on a cedar post/support for my mailbox, and I hate it. It has not weathered well--yellowed and generally cruddy. Don't put that on your list.

I just finished a screened porch with cedar posts and decking. I finished it with Defy Extreme Clear, and it only had a minor color change (yes, the cedar goes brown whatever you do over time, but it should slow the gray). So far, so good with that stuff. I don't know how it will hold up, but I'm happy so far. It's an 'in the wood' finish type look rather than a coating like the spar urethane.

Good luck...and nice looking bench.
 

Whitfield

WT
User
We sided our house with cedar we milled (and torched--shou sugi ban), finished with three coats of 50/50 tung oil and citrus solvent. Holds up well. Smells good.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
I love seeing cedar projects. Its been a decade or two since I had a pile of ERC to use for various projects and I sure do miss the aroma when going in the shop.
 

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