What should I finish Red Cedar with?

I installing some Red Cedar closet boards in a motorhome as panaling, because it looks nice and will kill the motorhome musty smell. I need to finish the cedar with something, but I'm sure polyurithan looks nice, but will kill the fresh smell.
Currently I'm thinking of cutting panals of the 1/4" cedar chip board and glueing the cedar boards to that and leave a 1/4" air space in back so I can use the polyurithane on the front side and still let the back side breath.
Does anybody have a better idea?
Thanks in advance!
Robert
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The poly would undoubtedly surprise you as the oily, resin-soaked cedar discarded it. Leave it bare both sides, the stuff burnishes pretty nicely with no finish.
Never finish only one side of anything - recipe for disaster.
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I just made a doll bed for my grandaughter out of cedar fence material (not red) and covered it w/ poly. Major mistake. It took a week for it to fully dry, still smells a little and doesn't look near as nice as I expected after 2 coats.
I'll experiment w/ varnish next and maybe even some wax. Something has got to go on it to protect it yet keep the odor of the wood. John
Robert Miller wrote:

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I always thought cedar was left bare and unfinished when used to protect clothing and bedding storage from moths. I've never seen a cedar closet or cedar chest that had a finish applied to the cedar.
Bob
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BillyBob wrote:

For the original poster, if its inside a closet I'd leave it be and let it do its thing. For my doll furniture it needs to be covered as little uns will have it looking nasty in no time. John
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Robert,

We used 1x6 T&G cedar boards on the ceilings of our house. I was told by the lumber supplier that it was an "aromatic cedar" from Canada.
And, we made all the trimwork in our house (including window jambs and sills) from Western Red Cedar.
Initially we had planned on leaving the cedar unfinished, but after trying some poly on a few cedar scraps, we decided to finish them.
We applied two coats of Olympic Satin Oil Based Polyurethane, letting it dry overnight between coats.
We sanded the window trim between coats with 220 grit paper to achieve a smoother finish, but the ceilings were simply double coated.
We went through many gallons of the poly, but we are very happy with the results. Unfortunately, the poly DOES block the cedar smell :( but it really brings out the colors in the cedar.
Try a few scraps to see how it works and whether you like the look.
If you're looking for the "smell" of cedar, there are sprays available, cedar blocks/balls/shavings that can be placed in drawers, or they make a type of plywood from cedar chips that you can line a closet with for the aroma. Obviously, you'll want to leave the cedar unfinished if you're looking for the aroma.
Take care,
Anthony
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Aromatic cedar will inhibit the curing of many finishes.
Leave it natural, or use something else. Durability shouldn't be a problem in the motorhome closet.
Patriarch
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If the odor of the cedar is important to you, do not finish the wood. A film finish will seal in the oils that are responsible for the odor making the cedar worthless as a "scent generator". You can try sanding or burnishing it if you would like a different appearance. If the look is more than the odor, try shellac. It is a film finish that is evaporative. It will stick quite well to oily woods like cedar. The oils in cedar will inhibit the curing of reactive finishes like polyurethane and varnish
Good Luck.

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