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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Albury
    Posts
    2,537

    Default Finishing Surian Cedar/Australian Red Cedar

    I'm making a box out of Surian Cedar (Toona Calantas), which is close to receiving the final finish. It's got a coat of Feast Watson Proofclear on it (a metho based sanding sealer), I'm not really happy with the colour but I should be able to address this with a Prooftint stain, which is also metho based. What I'm really concerned about is that I was planning to use an oil finish (Feast Watson Fine Buffing Oil) and even after the sealer and light sanding to 600 grit the timber is still shedding some long fibres, particularly on the edges if they're 'eased' with 2 light passes of the 600 grit paper. The grain is also very open and some areas look like they could really do with some grain filling sanding sealer. I can't use this of course because you can't put oil finishes over it?

    This is the first time I've used this timber, when machining it I found some pieces to be very 'woolly' off the saw and when sanding. It's really doing my head in, never struck anything quite as bad as it before.

    Should I persevere with the oil finish and just do as many coats as needed to get an acceptable finish? Or should I be using the grain filling sealer and spraying with a clear topcoat? If so which one? I understand that some of the automotive finishes are very good but I only have very basic spray gear.

    HELP!!!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    bilpin
    Posts
    3,069

    Default

    This is a very common problem with Calantas. I do most of my work in Australian cedar and it too can sometimes be fury. Particularly immature timber. I try to avoid it.
    I think you would be much better off using a surface finish rather than a penetrating oil finish as the oil will continue to penetrate leaving the surface bereft of polish and the fibres at liberty to do as they please once again. This is the reason why a true oil finish requires regular maintenance, even on the best of timber. A spray lacquer would be my choice of surface sealing finish rather than a poly as it can be refurbished easily. The surface can be "pulled" on early coats while the polish is still tacky to help with grain fill but regular fine sanding between coats should give a decent result. You will probably need quite a few coats.
    Another option would be a gun oil finish called Tru-Oil, which isn't. Its actually a hybrid. Application is by wipe on and coats are applied until the required luster is reached. The first coats are fine sanded while wet which quickly fills open grain. The wet sanding is carried out after each application until the pours are filled. Subsequent coats are then applied and dry sanded until the desired finish is reached.
    Hope this helps.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    melbourne australia
    Posts
    1,940

    Default

    I've made a lot of Australian Red Cedar pieces. My goto finish is two to four coats of danish oil depending on grain, one coat of FW Fine Buffing Oil and a coat of U-Beaut Polishes cedar coloured wax. Wet sanding the DO as rustynail suggests definitely helps fill the grain. I've used 400 grit W&D. A red Scotchbrite works well too.

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