Red Cedar is very porous. Being such, it will take a lot of stain and sealer... but as it does, it will not be consistent.
If you first go mix up a 50/50 of pre-mixed shellac and thinner (to make a DIY sealcoat). Apply it on and and let dry. It will soak in to just below the surface... then as it dries it will seal "there." It will then take stain and finish, but requiring less and be more even and consistent. A sealcoat made from alcohol based shellac, thinned with alcohol, is going to be completely dry in about 2-4 hours.
Otherwise, if you go just with an oil finish like you said you were, I would do one coat... Then wait 2 days before applying the second coat (to do the same kind of thing). Otherwise, with each coat it will keep soaking in and turn out splotchy.
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Last edited by MAFoElffen; 11-05-2013 at 01:08 AM.