Working with Redwood knots and burls, ancient redwood, and even second-growth redwood may be daunting, but it does not have to be.
Since the beauty of the wood is in the grains and burls, figuring out how to best show that off while protecting it is essential when you plan to finish your redwood burl table or a slab for building one.
While there are several ways to finish, a high-quality finish will keep your redwood furnishings looking new for years.
Over time, many finishes will fade or yellow, and most are not tough enough to withstand minor dents and scratches in the wood.
So, in this blog post, I will discuss a few excellent finishing options that can be used to finish your vintage redwood burl table. Stay tuned, and let’s get started…
Best Finish for Redwood Table
The best finish for redwood tables and other redwood furniture is natural tung oil as it gives burl wood furnishings a more natural look and feels, along with a less shiny surface (satin finish) that’s much easier to maintain and care for.
Also, the hidden colors and interesting textures of the knotty burls revealed by 100 percent pure tung oil are simply adorable.
You can opt for brands such as Minwax, Real Milk Paint, or Waterlox; they are all great.
Remember that wipe-on oil finishes can also be used and reapplied whenever needed if you plan to refinish your outdoor redwood furniture, like a picnic table or a chaise lounge.
But putting on resin, spray lacquer, varnish, beeswax, shellac, or polyurethane finishes seems challenging on redwood, and it tends to darken the wood even more with time.
Also, you will need to apply too many coats to get the desired sheen, and the long time it takes to dry and cure thoroughly is a problem.
Oils like Tung oil or Danish oil, on the other hand, only need a few coats to get the same effect on redwood burl table and will cure faster since they are more natural.
Finishing Redwood Table with Tung Oil
A redwood burl coffee table that’s properly maintained can last for 25 to 30 years.
Although it may appear challenging to finish the redwood compared to other kinds of wood, it’s relatively easy.
Following the procedures outlined below will assist you in finishing your table best…
Step 1: Clean Your Redwood Table
If you are refinishing an old redwood table outside, giving it a good cleanup is essential. However, if it’s a new unfinished one, you can generally skip this step.
Use a pressure wash or a garden hose with a spray nozzle attachment to clean the table.
Find a pressure washer that has at least 1,500 psi for best results, and if your table is in terrible condition, opt for a chemical cleaner as well.
Thoroughly power-washing your redwood table will eliminate molds, mildew, and stubborn grime. Be sure to rinse all the soap, detergent, and cleaner off the table and let it dry for at least a day before moving to the next step.
Step 2: Sand the Redwood Table Surface
Remove any splinters from the table’s surface and try to polish away any flaws on the table’s top using sandpaper, 120-grit, followed by 220-grit or even finer.
Sand the wood nicely to smooth out the table’s surface and bring out the natural beauty of burls. The corners and wood features of the table do not need to be sanded down because this surface is already rough and has texture.
Next, wipe the table’s surface with a lint-free cloth to remove dust before applying any finish because it can form bumps and flaws in the finished product.
Step 3: Apply the Tung Oil to the Redwood
Take a clean rag and pour a small amount of tung oil on it. Wipe the table’s surface with the oiled cloth in long, even strokes until the entire table is covered.
Afterward, let the oil seep into the wood for about 15 to 20 minutes, wiping off the excess with a clean, dry rag.
You can apply as many coats as possible until you get the desired finish.
Make sure that once you finish the redwood table top, apply the final coat in a circular motion to blend the tung oil and create an even sheen.
Also Read: Mistakes to Avoid with Tung Oil
Maintaining and Cleaning Finished Redwood Table
When you own a piece of redwood burl furniture, you must agree to yearly upkeep using finishes such as tung oil.
You can dust most dirt and smudges off with a soft, dry cloth. But if you need to clean more thoroughly, use Murphy’s oil soap or a citrus-based cleaner made specifically for wood. This will help keep your redwood furniture looking new.
If you decide to use waxes or polishes instead, always test them on a hidden spot first.
Envirotex finishes are durable, but be careful not to use harsh cleaning chemicals and solvents containing alcohol or acetone, which might harm the redwood grains and burls.
To keep your hardwood furniture looking like it did when you first bought it, sanding and refinishing will be necessary from time to time.
The most effective approach to preserve the appearance of your redwood furniture is to use a high-quality finish such as tung oil.
While this isn’t as long-lasting or attractive as an epoxy or resin finish, it’s easy to keep up while highlighting the color and personality of the wood.
Hi, I am Mark Garner a professional carpenter, woodworker, and DIY painter. I live in the small city of Peoria, Arizona as a semi-retired woodworker. I have started this blog with a simple motive to help you with my wood experience in this sector. If you like to know more about what I love doing and how it all got started, you can check more about me here.