Should I seal my Western Red Cedar Furniture? If so, what do you recommend?
These are the most asked questions that we receive. All the furniture we currently sell online is shipped to you unfinished. They are sanded smooth and all the edges are rounded over. So, now I ask you do you like the colors of the cedar as it is now? If so, we would recommend you seal it immediately with an outdoor sealer that has UV inhibitors in it (some color) to prevent the sun from fading it. If properly sealed your furniture will last 35+ years.
-Rymar Xtreme Weather Wood Sealer, #7625 Natural Cedar Honey Oil Based available at most Sherwin Williams Stores.
-Sikkens Cetol 1 or SRD Products
I like the natural patina grey look, how do I get it to look like that?
Just leave your furniture alone and it will weather to a beautiful patina grey in just a few months. While rustic in appearance, you may reduce the life span of your furniture left unfinished, but should still get 20+ years. If you prefer the patina look, our suggestion is to let it weather to the color you like then apply a clear water seal to the surface. Although western red cedar is a naturally durable, leaving it untreated is not recommended for outdoor furniture just from the surface smoothness standpoint. Remember, applying a finish or protective coating will greatly increase its service life.
Western Red Cedar 101
Western Red Cedar grows in coastal forests from British Columbia Canada, to California, along rugged mountains. It is a wood of exceptional beauty with warm mellow tones ranging from light amber to deep honey brown. It also has an aromatic fragrance unlike any other species.
Western Red Cedar contains natural oils that act as preservatives to help the wood resist insect attack and decay. It is not uncommon for Western Red Cedar furniture to last 30-40 years with minimal maintenance.
Western Red Cedar Cross Section
Because of regional differences in soil and climate conditions, Western Red Cedar can have varying characteristics. This is important to know when choosing products made from Western Red Cedar.
The large old-growth trees found in British Columbia yield clear heart-wood, which is used to make clear bevel siding – the most prized, (and the most costly), Cedar product. But, these trees also have a high amount of shake, rot, splits and large knots. Young-growth Cedar, found mostly in Washington State, has less clear heart-wood, but contains more material suitable for tight knot sidings. It has a lighter, more uniform color than old-growth Cedar and its knots are small and inter-grown with the surrounding wood. Young-growth cedar has the added advantage of being renewable. Western Red Cedar is one of North America’s great renewable resources. Slow growing and naturally durable, Western Red Cedar has one of the longest lifespans of any North American softwood. It produces long lengths of timber with true, straight grain.
What Make Western Red Cedar so Special
- It is free from pitch and its heartwood has natural decay resistance.
- Its low density gives it an insulation value superior to most other species.
- Light weight, easy to work, easy to finish, possessing outstanding dimensional stability, Western Red Cedar is a preferred wood for nearly all purposes where attractive appearance or resistance to weather is important.
- Density – One of the lightest commercial softwoods, the density of Western Red Cedar at 12% moisture content is approximately 23 pounds per cubic foot with a relative density (specific gravity) of 0.34. The density of oven-dry material is 21 pounds per cubic foot.
- Dimensional Stability – Like all woods, Western Red Cedar is hygroscopic and will absorb or discharge moisture to attain equilibrium with the surrounding atmosphere. However, it has a very low shrinkage factor and is superior to all other coniferous woods in its resistance to warping, twisting and checking.
- Durability – Historically, native peoples of the Pacific coast prized cedar for its long-lasting qualities and used wood and bark from cedar trees for most of their building needs. Evidence of cedar’s durability are the many cedar artifacts are still in good condition today. Properly finished and maintained, cedar will deliver decades of trouble-free service. If exposed for prolonged periods to conditions where decay could be a factor, such as where the wood is in contact with the ground, cedar should be treated with suitable wood preservatives.
- Fastening – Western Red Cedar has good fastening properties. Nails and screws used to fasten Western Red Cedar should be about one-third longer than those used to fasten hardwood species. Because it is free of pitch and resin, Western Red Cedar has excellent gluing properties, comparable to those, for example, of old growth Redwood and American Chestnut. It works well with a wide range of adhesives.
- Workability – With its straight grain and uniform texture, Western Red Cedar is among the easiest and most rewarding woods to work with. It takes a fine finish in all hand and machine operations, takes fasteners without splitting and is easily sawn and nailed. When working with Western Red Cedar, sharp cutters are recommended.
Bonus: Read this unsolicited Review of Our M61OT 61″ Octagon Picnic Table
Online Review from Best Backyard Gear by Nate
Best Wood Picnic Tables: Round or Octagonal
Western Red Cedar 61″ Octagon Top Picnic Table w/Easy Seating
- Company: Dan’s Outdoor Furniture Mfg. Co.
- Rating: 5 / 5 stars
- Price: $$$$
If you’re looking for an octagonal wood picnic table, this one is a fantastic choice! Although the price is not cheap, we believe it’s worth the investment due to it’s beauty and fine craftsmanship. It’s no slap-together, flimsy piece that’ll snap or fall apart on you, that’s for sure!
This table has a pre-cut umbrella hole and 4 seats that each will comfortably sit 2 adults. We love the shape of the table benches – the openings allow for easy seating, with no need to climb over the bench to get in and out. With only 5 points in total touching the ground, you’ll find it fairly easy to mow around too, if it’s set up on your lawn.
Dan’s Manufacturing has been in business for over 33 years now, and ships to 47 states. According to their website, this is their best selling wood picnic table. It’s hand-made in their warehouse, and like all their products, is stunning!
Material: Western Red Cedar – which is naturally insect and rot resistant. The lumber is milled, sanded, and the edges are nicely rounded. The planks (milled completely from 2x6s) have beautiful variations in the color tones, which adds to the look, we think!
Size: 88″ L x 88″ W x 30″ H (table top is 61″ across), seats 8 adults
Assembly: This octagonal picnic table comes partially assembled. Check out this video to watch Dan and his employees complete the assembly of one of the tables, the same way you would. Doesn’t look all that difficult at all! It takes his guys 19 minutes, and he expects it would take you approximately 40. (By the way – can you just imagine how GREAT it would smell in that big warehouse full of cedar? Cedar smells fabulous!)