stain for cedar chest?

I'm refinishing a solid cedar chest that is probably 90 years old. I've stripped the original finish and have sanded the entire thing a couple times. The wood is mostly in good shape, but there are what appear to be some water stains on the top. I want to minimize these as much as possible. I've heard oxalic acid will help remove the stains.
Also, I was advised that some careful application of light or diluted stain could help even out the color on top. If so, what type of stain would be best for cedar? I know cedar isn't usually stained, but in the interest of cleaning up the discoloration. I still want it to look like cedar of course, but my tastes prefer darker cedar over light.
So my questions are:
1) Can anyone confirm that oxalic acid is worth a try, and that it won't harm unfinished wood?
2) What type of stain should I use on cedar to hide some of the discoloration? Or is this a bad idea all around?
abe
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I've used oxalic acid on oak flooring, but not on cedar. The result that I got wasn't very favorable as it somewhat changed the texture of the wood where it had been treated. It lightened the stain, but also changed the wood texture so that it took stain different than the untreated area. I ended up re-sanding the whole surface, then treated the stained area again, then I put on a second coat of acid, but this time I treated the whole surface. After that the staining process was much more even, but still not perfect. I think if I was doing it all over again I wouldn't use the acid at all. I would just sand the surface more to get as much stain out as possible and then use a darker stain to hide what was left. It would have been and easier job that way.
--
Charley


"Abe" < snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com> wrote in message
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Tue, Mar 13, 2007, 6:46am (EDT-3) snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (Abe) doth proclaim: I'm refinishing a solid cedar chest that is probably 90 years old. I've stripped the original finish and have sanded the entire thing a couple times. <snip>
Well, I guess you finished any collector value it might have had.
I'd get a scrap piece of cedar and test on it. Well, not actually, I doubt I'd want to stain cedar.
JOAT It was too early in the morning for it to be early in the morning. That was the only thing that he currently knew for sure. - Clodpool
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On Mar 14, 7:29 pm, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

That's not really all that helpful.
It wasn't worth much beforehand. It's a nice chest, but the old finish was black. I tried to just clean and rejuvenate, but it was too far gone.
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Abe wrote:

He's being honest. There's no magic stain that works for every piece for every person. Figure out what you want it to look like, find a stain or dye or tinted topcoat that looks like it comes close, try it on the bottom or somewhere else that will be hidden, if you like it go with it, if you don't then try something else.
Personally I don't use much stain--generally oil brings out enough color for me unless I'm going for an off-the-wall effect like the black-dyed maple box I made for someone a while back. Aromatic red cedar if it's of good quality has quit a bit of color already--if you can bring that out then finish with something that has a UV block and there shouldn't be much need for stain.
Get some tung oil and and some boiled linseed oil and try a little of each in an inconspicuous spot and see what they bring out--you may get a pleasant surprise. Note--only oil the outside--a cedar chest shouldn't have any finish on the _inside_.
--
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--John
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Thu, Mar 15, 2007, 12:35pm (EDT-3) snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (Abe) doth sayeth: That's not really all that helpful. It wasn't worth much beforehand.<snip>
Read John's post. He goes into more detail.
You never know what something old is worth - unless you ask someone qualified to say. If you'd asked a qualified antique appriser first, he/she "might" have said it was worthless, except for any selentimal value - or could have said it was a valuable collectible, "if left as is", and any home "improvements" would ruin that value. So, you're saying you're a such qualified appariser?
When I was a kid we tossed a lot of stuff that was junk. If we'd only stuck that stuff in an attic and kept we'd have wound up with a bunch of antiques, that would sell for some serious money today.
JOAT Custom philosophizing done. No job too small; must be indoor work, with no heavy lifting.
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Plenty of antique furniture has a finish (typically linseed oil based I think) that has gone black and looks like crap. Sometimes careful refinishing will reveal burl or curly figure with a gorgeous patina.
But it still destroys the value. It sucks that the furniture was worth more when it looked like crap.
Given that cedar has sort of a blotchy appearance to it, you might consider using a stain only on part of the lid to hide the watermarks. Staining the whole think would probably just make it look like stained watermarks.
--
FF


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