How can I seal/stain white cedar to make look similar to its original light color?

I made this white cedar chest & I want to protect it from rain and graying from ultraviolet (UV) sun exposure.

I desire an oil stain or sealer because I have seen skin-peeling from varnish, shellac, and polyurethane on items left outdoors. Plus, oil is easy to apply and maintain, just wash off dust and debris, let dry, and reapply a year or three later.

Here is the clincher: I want to keep the wood looking as close as possible to what it looks like now, light wood, although I know darkening of the wood is inevitable — I just want it looking lighter, not yellowed…

  • I was thinking to use tung oil & while mixing in a UV blocker, but I have no clue where to get a UV blocker, nor what is available, such as perhaps zinc powder.
  • Also I was wondering if some kind of pickling/whitewash may help the final oiled project look lighter like the original? — what would I use for the pickling effect? A little primer paint in the oil before applying?

Any suggestions are greatly appreciatedenter image description here

Woodworking Asked on November 17, 2021

2 Answers

2 Answers

I would be inclined to suggest experimenting with Mineral Oil - its a nice clear oil, it will darken some, but I do not know how much.

Otherwise you could try a clear deck sealer, like Thompson's Water Seal.

Answered by Paul Davis on November 17, 2021

If you want it to remain light colored I would NOT use an oil finish, like tung oil or linseed oil. These are used specifically when you want a more "amber" finish.

For UV protection you'll want a "spar varnish" or similar product labeled for outdoor use. Typically waterborne products keep the wood closer to their original color than oil-based products. So I'd probably try a waterborne spar varnish.

Answered by SaSSafraS1232 on November 17, 2021

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