Guest Post by Adam Dias
In my last post on finishing redwood, I talked about the various densities of redwood and how they affect the finish sheen. In this post, I want to go over a few finishes we use at our shop and the benefits and drawbacks of each finish.
Finishing Redwood Using Lacquer
Likely the most used finish in our shop is lacquer. The downside of this finish is that it’s a difficult finish for DIY projects. However, most professional facilities have some kind of finish room or spray booth. Though lacquer can be applied by both spraying and brushing, we recommend spraying. It is by far the most smooth and consistent way to apply lacquer. If you don’t have a professional spray booth, a quality lacquer finish is not necessarily out of reach. You just need to be sure to use a well-ventilated area with no dust and lots of space. You will also need a spray gun and air compressor, along with a water trap air regulator.
The good thing about lacquer is that it’s one of the smoothest, cleanest, and easiest to repair finishes around. It also holds the true color and grain of the wood without yellowing. Additionally, it helps to protect redwood from unwanted movement and cracking.
Other Ways of Finishing Redwood
Several other finishes we use include wipe-on polyurethane and Danish oil finish. Both these finishes can be applied by hand and are easier for DIY projects. Additionally, they are affordable, durable, and easy to repair. The drawback is that they can take a very long time to fully cure. In order to get a glossy sheen or hand-rubbed finish on redwood, one has to apply a lot of coats.
These are the most common finishes we use to finish our redwood tables. However, there are lots of other finishes people use for redwood. Conversion varnish, tung oil, linseed oil, beeswax, shellac, and Envirotex are other popular finishes that are used for redwood.
Our recommendation is to always sand your project out to a minimum of 220 grit to close the pores in the wood and then apply polyurethane, Danish oil, or lacquer.
Thank you for reading, and feel free to share your results with us!