Finishing Redwoord Part I
Raw wood sales are a big part of our business. Whether it be a first time do it yourselfers looking to save a little money by finishing out their own project, or the professional wood worker, we constantly receive the same question from our customers: How or what kind of finish do we recommend for Redwood?
For what ever reason, Redwood Burl, Old Growth Redwood, or even Second Growth Redwood, seems to not only captivate the builder and consumers eye, it also seems to get in their head. By this I mean, Redwood seems to be, to most, a type of wood that, because it is so unique and rare, should also be treated as such when applying finish. However, this is not the case.
I have been finishing Redwood since I was about 10 years old. I have also finished other woods such as Manzanita Burl, Juniper, Maple, Madrone, Buck-Eye, Alder, and so on. The only real quality that Redwood has, outside of its amazing rot resistance, color, unique grain patterns, and awe inspiring growth size, is that it can work as both a hard wood, and soft wood.
Usually Redwood is soft, however, I have cut Redwood Burls that are so hard it dulled our a brand new saw blade in one cut. Often this hard and soft pattern can exist in the same cut of wood.
For this reason, one must always be on the look out for changes in finish sheen while applying your finish. This can be done with good lighting and simply looking across the surface of the wood. If your piece has hard and soft spots you will see brighter and more dull areas. The trick is to keep sanding and apply finish until the entire piece is of the same sheen.
This is a 2 part blog entry, and I will post some photos and more information of types of finishes, their reaction to Redwood, and application in the next post.