Finish for aromatic cedar

I tried finishing a piece of aromatic cedar with a water-based varnish. My problem is that it has gone sticky in places as if resin from the wood is affecting the finish. I will have to sand it down and re-apply a new finish.
What would be the best treatment for this sort of wood? I need to seal the surface with a semi-matt finish. I then need to mark on top of this with ink lines that will not penetrate or 'bleed' into the surface.
Thanks for any advice, Donald.
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D Spy asks:

Try a couple coats of shellac--dewaxed--then coat over with anything you want.
Charlie Self
"I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it." George Carlin
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Won't it lose the smell if varnished?? Wilson

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Wilson Lamb asks:

Yup. The aroma is not always what is sought. I made my wife a music box of red cedar some years ago, and finished both inside and outside. Made the youngest kid a hope chest (walnut) the same year, lined it with red cedar and left the cedar unfinished.
Charlie Self
"I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it." George Carlin
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Just an FYI. Western redcedar (Thuja plicata) is NOT aromatic cedar. Although western redcedar is mildly aromatic. Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) is what is commonly referred to as aromatic cedar. My source: The encyclopedia of wood, sterling publishing.
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Dirty Bob writes:

The Encyclopedia of Wood is a reprint of the Wood Handbook, Wood as an Engineering Material, from the USDA (Forest Service). Lee Valley has a great hardcover reprint of it.
Charlie Self
"I have one yardstick by which I test every major problem-and that yardstick is: Is it good for America?" Dwight D. Eisenhower
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wrote:

There are four "interesting" cedars, and many others too.
WRC is lightweight, easily dented, and smells of either tomcats or pencils, depending on your taste.
ERC is commonplace, cheap, smells "of cedar" and is the one that gets used for chest linings.
Real "aromatic cedar" is cedar of lebanon, a true cedar and not a jumped-up juniper. Damned hard to find (your only real source is parkland with storm-damaged ornamentals) and expensive. BTW - don't fell your own - it's brittle and has a reputation as a killer tree.
Spanish cedar is the stuff used for cigar humidors, because it doesn't mind the humidity. Slightly aromatic, but not much compared to the others. It has a well-known problem with some boards weeping.
Personally I avoid weeping spanish cedar by cutting around the resin pocket and just not using that part of the board. If the OP has a resin problem, I'd wonder if this is what they're using.
Other "cedars" are the Moroccan thuya burrs used for turning and veneers. They're mainly decorative, but they have a really intense smell when machining them, or burning the offcuts.
There are also incense cedars (traditional for pencil making). They're useless _as_ incense, but they're a good flavour-free spindle to coat powdered incense onto.
Port Orford Cedar is just the stuff if you've bust your boat and need a new mast.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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I have two lovely pieces of cedar, which I am making into Go boards, a traditional Japanese game. I sealed the wood with a water-based matt varnish prior to applying lines using ink - my intention being to finish off with another coat of varnish to protect the lines.
My problem is that the cedar, which has been seasoned for about ten years, seems to be exuding some sort of sap which is reacting with the varnish in places, making it permanently sticky - particularly noticeable at the end grain, but also on the surface.
I will have to sand them back to bare wood now and start again. What I want to know is how to give a durable finish that will seal the wood sufficiently so that the ink lines will not bleed into the grain of the wood - without being made sticky by the aromatic sap/vapour. Ideally, I want a semi-matt finish.
Would Tung or Danish oil work? Another consideration is an oil based varnish mixed with turpentine. Some advice would be appreciated before I waste time and energy getting it wrong.
Many thanks, Donald.
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first shellac. then varnish.
wrote:

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finish with shellac to make a sealer, then finish with your varnish.
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