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Finishing Cedar Dining Chairs

2331 Views 5 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  nzgeordie
Any advice on finishing cedar dining chairs? They are very rough open grain and I'd like to get a smoother finish to match a pair of oak carvers from the same (Dutch) manufacturer. I'm considering the old plaster of parish wash technique but is there anything better?
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Geordie, This is a tough question and when in doubt I ask a professional. I will forward your question and be happy to post the reply ASAP.
Thanks Mike. Any advice would be appreciated. I maybe should have mentioned that I plan to stain the cedar to try and match the two carvers otherwise I would have considered sanding sealer followed by lots of work with my new detail sander. Any finish would need to be able to take a stain.
Ok, here is the reply from my favorite expert:
A: There are two groups of woods called cedar; the common American softwoods, which are not open grained, and the so called Spanish cedar group, which are open pore hardwoods with a grain pattern similar to mahogany. If you have the former and it is rough, simply sand it. In the case of the latter, you can certainly fill the pores if you like, and plaster of Paris will work, though I must admit that in my mind, it would be far easier to use a pre-mixed pore filler from one of the companies that sells it. However, I will also point out that while it is common to fill table tops, it is quite rare to fill pores on chairs unless they are very high line or antique copies. You will find pore filler at most woodworking specialty stores and at a wealth of online vendors.

Michael Dresdner
Cheers Mike. As these originated in Holland it's more likely to be a European cedar. Once they are stripped down I'll try sanding & staining a hidden area to see what the results are like before deciding if a pore filler is needed. Once they're stripped I'll post before / after close-ups before doing anything further.
I'll post these pics before having the chairs stripped. The panel-back chair in oak is one I re-finished and covered. The splatter back is from the same manufacturer but in cedar. The close-up of the splatter kinda shows how rough the timber is. I'm not sure if I'll be able to get a match given that cedar is a red colour (whatever the stain is on these prevents me from seeing quite how they'll look stripped down) but I'll post another snap after stripping.


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