Finishing: Western Red Cedar

Everything you need to know about finishing.
Post Reply
pistolpedro
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:39 pm
Contact:

Finishing: Western Red Cedar

Post by pistolpedro » Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:00 pm

Hi

I am in the process of building a fence in my garden using Western Red Cedar and am looking for some advice regarding what finish to use.

The fence sits in quite a shaded area so it doesn't get a huge amount of sunlight, it can get quite damp, the fence I removed had quite a few patches of a what looked like a light moss

Ideally I would like a natural looking finish (matt preferably) and also to keep the reddish tones of the wood, are there any products on the market which would achieve this?

Pete

woodpecker
Occasional Poster
Posts: 211
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:35 pm
Location: North Staffordshire
Contact:

Re: Finishing: Western Red Cedar

Post by woodpecker » Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:10 pm

Western Red Cedar doesn't need any finish - that's why it is so suitable for outdoor projects. You can get clear cedar oils that claim to ensure colour retention but in my experience they don't work for long. The cedar still goes grey'ish in sunlight. The inside of my summer house is as red as the day I made it - 20 years ago but the outside is what I consider to be a very pleasant, natural grey. Moss/algy grows on the North and West sides but an annual pressure wash cleans it up well.

Richard

pistolpedro
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:39 pm
Contact:

Re: Finishing: Western Red Cedar

Post by pistolpedro » Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:35 pm

thanks for your reply Richard

after searching for images I think the fence will look great when it has weathered grey as currently it looks quite bright, good tip on pressure washing as I was concerned about parts of the fence turning green.

thanks again,

Pete

oiliner
New Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:15 pm
Contact:

Re: Finishing: Western Red Cedar

Post by oiliner » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:38 pm

Hi,

just stepped into this forum and read about your question on finishing of a red cedar fench.
Although western red cedar is like tropical wood, any wood needs protection.
( like our skin needs also from time to time a creme to avoid to dry out )
My advise is to treat the wood with a thin impregnation oil. A natural colourless impregnation oil based
on natural oils like linseed oil or tungoil or mixtures of linseedoil-tungoil with a resin cooked.
Sounds maybe difficult now, but there are such products.
Important is to treat the wood with an impregnation oil to prevent against uv light and moisture.
Such an impregnation oil is used to penetrate deep into the wood and gives adhesion to the next coating ( if required ).
Apply the oil with a brush or cloth, but in thin layers. One layer should be enough. After abt. 10-15 minutes you wipe off the remaining oil from
the surface and let it dry. That´s all.
In case of a higher protection against water, UV light and weather resistance it is recommendable to use a clear varnish ( but natural varnishes )
of a tungoil cooked with resins, this will be the perfect and longlasting protection for your fench.
If you are interested I can sent you more info on these products.
Sounds all maybe complex, but wood is a living material and should also be treatened this way.
I have such products here in germany and they are really very good but not sold to consumer markets but to the industrial market ( paint manufacturers )
who sell this under their own label.
Hope I could be of help and let me know if you need more info,
regards, ronald

sgiandubh
Subscriber
Posts: 570
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:11 am
Contact:

Re: Finishing: Western Red Cedar

Post by sgiandubh » Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:03 am

oiliner, I'm going to go very gently on you based on the assumption that English is not your first language, meaning you may not be familiar with the written idiom, but I spotted at least four factual errors in your post that contained what looked like what's known as corporate cobblers, business b*llsh*t, or even a bit of shiny squeaky suited salemanship.

For instance, why not remove the obfuscation in your description where you say "linseed oil or tungoil or mixtures of linseedoil-tungoil with a resin cooked" and just call it what it is, oil based varnish, presumably a long oil varnish formulated for exterior applications, aka yacht varnish or spar varnish such as that supplied by Epifanes, Cabot, McCloskey, Boysen, etc and others that sell finishes to the yachting fraternity and suchlike.

At this point I'll refrain from ripping apart the factual errors in your original post, unless you decide to respond and compound your original errors with new, further, spurious, er, hmm, (?), ahem, 'information', or as I know it ... bollox. Slainte.

promhandicam
Moderator
Posts: 3501
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:50 am
Location: Surrey / Hampshire
Contact:

Re: Finishing: Western Red Cedar

Post by promhandicam » Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:53 pm

Image

oiliner
New Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:15 pm
Contact:

Re: Finishing: Western Red Cedar

Post by oiliner » Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:27 pm

sgiandubh, thanks for being gently on me, and quite right, english is surely not my native language, but is something better as my russian, french and german. First of all, no surely i do not intend to sell anything here, why should I ? I think a forum is to support eachother and not a kind of ebay platform.
What I was trying to say, that a good coating is a varnish cooked with natural oils and resins. ( "oil based varnish" did not occur in my mind at that time, as you know now I am a alien so please excuse the mistakes ) But I have tried some danish oil stuff and likewise products which contain such a mass of solvents that i wanted to indicate to look for a quality product. That´s all.
I am not familar with uk products, so all the names you mention are for me out of range of commenting.
Ok, what else on the factual errors ? BTW, do you have a name ? what is sgiandubh ? regards, ronald

sgiandubh
Subscriber
Posts: 570
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:11 am
Contact:

Re: Finishing: Western Red Cedar

Post by sgiandubh » Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:33 pm

oiliner wrote: Ok, what else on the factual errors ? ronald
ronald, wood used in the artefacts we build can't be 'fed' with oil, which implies the wood is alive. Thuja plicata (Western red cedar) is not at all like a tropical hardwood because it's a gymnosperm or softwood native to the very untropical northern parts of north America-- tropical woods almost all come from angiosperms (deciduous hardwoods) native to tropical climates and are very differently structured. Thuja plicata is naturally resistant to bacterial and fungal attack because its structure includes certain extractives that are anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. It's classified as a durable wood species where durable refers to a wood species' natural ability to resist rot in ground contact-- durable in timber technology terms means a life expectancy of up 25 years. There are, of course, tropical wood species such as îpe (Tabebuia serritifolia) or khaya ivorensis (one of the African mahoganies) that are either 'durable' or 'highly durable' in ground contact, but they are not 'like' western red cedar at all, except in their durability.

Neither linseed oil or pure tung oil are colourless liquids, although admittedly they will penetrate the wood to some small extent when applied (maybe 2 or 3 millimetres at best if applied with a brush or cloth), but their protective qualities on their own are limited even for internal wooden structures, and their ability to resist oxidation and UV light are poor. At a microscopic level water vapour passes through oil finishes easily because the film is porous. Pure oil finishes have very limited protective qualities in external situations. Both change the colour of the wood they are applied to, so they cannot be described as 'water clear' finishes.

Whilst the product you are offering is an oil varnish, ie, basically linseed oil and/or tung oil cooked with a resin, eg, an alkyd and/or polyurethane resin, what is it about your product that makes it better than any other long oil based varnish with UV protectors incorporated in it designed for external use, eg, that made by Epifanes or Cabot, particularly on a fence which may well be made of rough sawn timber rather than planed and smoothed timber such as that you might find on a yacht or boat? Any boat owners I know, or have known, admit thay spend probably as much time rubbing down and reapplying top quality and expensive varnish (not the cheap stuff from DIY centres) to their boat's brightwork as they do sailing if they want to keep a smart looking boat. And even a really good varnish will not protect wood that is in ground contact against rot, and that's where most wooden structures in contact with the ground fail first, at ground level.

The problem with your first post is that it contained the kind of marketing language about feeding the wood, not differentiating between a tropical hardwood and northern softwood, and the claimed colourlessness of linseed or tung oil that only gullible amateurs and DIY homeowners might believe as they make their wood finishing purchasing decisions. Many users and visitors to this site are professionals and know their way around the subject at both a high intellectual and practical level. So, if you have a good product suitable for the circumstances outlined initially by pistolpedro, please just tell us about the properties of your product that make it a suitable choice for that circumstance (without the marketing speak nonsense). Slainte.

senior
Subscriber
Posts: 3305
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 3:13 pm
Location: on the sofa
Contact:

Re: Finishing: Western Red Cedar

Post by senior » Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:47 pm

sgiandubh wrote: Many users and visitors to this site are professionals and know their way around the subject at both a high intellectual and practical level.
I'd just like to say I haven't got a clue what you're banging on about, so count me out.
Have a look at my facebook page and leave a comment or two.
Or browse my website Hand made kitchens Essex

oiliner
New Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:15 pm
Contact:

Re: Finishing: Western Red Cedar

Post by oiliner » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:45 am

Hi Slainte, thanks for the clear explanation. Very helpfull. One thing more, i am not selling any product ! I ran into a guy who is selling his own formulated woodcoatings to woodworkers in holland, all based on tungoil and colofonium resin etc. ( based on natural ingredients ) and I thought I could pass such information to Pistolpedro.
Quite interesting info you gave. Fully agree what you write, especially on the yachting lackers. Also the yellowing of varnishes seems to be a problem in the paintindustry. Still, difficult to find the right product, therefor so interesting to share information in a forum like this one, where not only practical and intelligent users communicate, but also for people like me willing to learn.
Listening to the problems and to learn from experienced, encourages to find solutions. ronald

sgiandubh
Subscriber
Posts: 570
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:11 am
Contact:

Re: Finishing: Western Red Cedar

Post by sgiandubh » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:35 pm

senior wrote: I haven't got a clue what you're banging on about, so count me out.
Oh, sorry senior ... I mistakenly, er, forgot to count you in to start with, ha, ha. Slainte.

mrgrimsdale
Incredibly Regular Poster
Posts: 6901
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 7:02 pm

Re: Finishing: Western Red Cedar

Post by mrgrimsdale » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:46 pm

pistolpedro wrote:...
Ideally I would like a natural looking finish (matt preferably) and also to keep the reddish tones of the wood, are there any products on the market which would achieve this?

Pete
Hate to state the obvious but if you want it to stay reddish and don't want moss growth then Western Red Cedar is absolutely the wrong material to start with. It fades to grey and grows moss.
What about plastic? Why p*ss into the wind?

Post Reply