Any advice on finishing curly redwood? I picked up a nice piece
because I liked the look. I don't have any project in mind yet but
wanted some suggestions on how to finish it.
The curl is absolutely beautiful but with the open pores is seems like
it would be easy to get the pores filled with sawdust and lose a lot
of its beauty. Also, how will the color age? Will it darken, turn
Any advice would be appreciated.
On Fri, 12 Nov 2004 17:49:28 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I've worked with a lot of redwood and had pretty good luck with it
keeping it's color after sealing it..
No idea what "curly" means, but it sounds interesting!
About 12 years ago, I built a set of 4 drawers out of old pallet slats
for chisels, etc...
the budget was zero... I made the drawer faces out of a couple of old
6" redwood fence pickets left over from a fence project in the past...
sanded the hell out of 'em, routed a mickey mouse edge around em and
gave them 3 or 4 coats with rubbing poly..
I still use the damn things and now that I have a few bucks for wood
and have drawer faces in the shop of poplar, oak, etc., those damn
redwood faces are the ones that everyone comments on...
"is it mahogany? Cherry?"
I just say that if I tell them, I have to kill them to preserve the
I posted a picture of the piece on ABPW.
It is a beautiful piece of wood. It is so nice I hesitate to use any
of it for experimentation but it will probably come to that. I'll
probably resaw a slice off of it to play around with a couple of
finishing techniques. It is 2 1/8 inch thick so I do have some
'spare' thickness (unless I want to make a bowl - hmmm, I wonder...)
I saw that....
I think I'd mount it in a lucite block and just look at it every night
on the way into the shop.. *g*
I'd hate to change the way it looks now, but it will probably look
incredible when you're done..
Why would you not do you experiment on some other redwood? I know there
are sources out here in California that could send you samples of
reclaimed/recycled redwood, if you can't get some closer to home.
BTW, the redwood/copper gate on Woodworks seemed to have been finished with
an outdoor version of a General oil/poly, if the can graphics can be
believed. Oiled redwood looks great!
That's good advice as far as coloring and durability but IME highly
figured woods tend to have their own 'personality' with respect to
finishing. Since the grain reverses so much on this piece I expect
that I'll have more open pores to deal with and I don't want to lose
any of the luster by 'muddying' it up with sawdust, wrong finish, etc.
Your other suggestion on ABPW about resawing to veneer is a good one.
I may consider that. I generally don't 'do' veneer but this curl is
so dramatic that 4 way bookmatching would be outstanding. It gives me
another reason to invest in tuning up my BS - of course this may mean
more tools ;-)
Thanks for the advice.
So does a Waterloxed redwood mantle. www.diversify.com/wood
LJ, who hasn't let any magic smoke out of items this weekend.
I'll apologize for offending someone...right
after they apologize for being easily offended.
http://www.diversify.com Inoffensive Web Design
Nice work, and what a gorgeous piece of wood! A couple of years
ago I happened across a lovely piece of redwood that I turned into a
rustic "bowl" (more like a miniature "trough") based on a Swedish
design I had run across on Drew Langsner's website. This picture
doesn't do it justice (horrible lighting), but it gives you an idea of
As to the original question of finishing -- I finished it with
Tried & True's beeswax/oil finish and was very pleased with the
result. The piece has darkened nicely since that picture was taken.
(FWIW, T&T is my favorite finish for bowls and such. It applies
easily, goes a long way, and really enhances the beauty of the wood
without putting a barrier between you and the wood.)
BTW, that redwood was probably the most difficult piece of wood to
carve that I have ever encountered. The grain reversals combined with
extreme difference in hardness between the growth rings made for a
On 16 Nov 2004 05:53:17 -0800, email@example.com (Conan The Librarian)
thanks for actually answering my original question ;-) When you say
that it darkens does it change color at all or simply turn darker. My
biggest concern was having the wood turn gray.
I see your point about the problem of carving. I tried to scrape the
surface to see how well that worked. One section was good but then
there was tearing/opening of the grain where the grain reversed. I
did sand down one surface and wiped it off with mineral spirits to see
how it looked and it still looked great so I guess progressively fine
sanding and cleaning out the pores with an oil finish is the best bet.
I liked another poster's suggestion to cut it into thick veneer. This
really begs for mirroring into bookmatched pieces and is thick enough
that I'll be able to get quite a few pieces out of it. Now I only
need to figure out which project...
BTW, I'll try the T&T, I've heard good things about it.
Finally, very nice bowl. Thanks for posting.
You're welcome. I'd almost forgotten what the whole point of the
thread was as well. I started to post something about what great prices
Lee Valley offers us Amurrcans. ;-)
Not the slightest hint of gray, just a richer, darker shade of rusty
brown. (Of course this piece isn't exposed to the elements.)
Sounds familiar. I used a spokeshave (LV's low-angle) for some
final shaping of the outside of the bowl, and it did a fine job. But
everywhere I tried using scrapers and gouges, I wound up with some ugly
Just between you and me ;-), I wound up using sandpaper to smooth
out some of the rougher areas inside the bowl. I *hate* sandpaper, but
there were some areas that simply wouldn't respond to anything else.
It's definitely worth a try. Especially for non-heavy-use projects.
Thanks, and glad if I could be of some help. Good luck with
whatever you decide to use it for.
Redwood goes gray, in exterior use, as a result of the natural oils in the
wood being dissipated by rain, wind, etc., and then affected by sunlight.
In interior use, with a modicum of surface treatement, redwood will darken
somewhat, towards red-brown, with the application of 'tincture of time'.
We used redwood for 'open' shelving -- those screw-on-the-wall tracks w/
adjustable metal support arms -- simply sanded smooth, and then rubbed with
a block of canning paraffin. 30+ years later, not a -hint- of gray, even on
the shelves that got several hours of direct sunlight a day.
I built some mudroom furniture out of reclaimed redwood. It was my
neighbor's deck and there is some sapwood which is spalted in parts. I
used BLO which popped the grain nicely followed by several coats of
gloss water based poly and one of satin. Looks good and is holding up
well so far.
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