I'm looking at what finish would be best for a redwood bed frame. I would like the wood to look natural, warmish color, and a bit of a satiny feel. I've done a few trials and here is where I stand (see pics):

  • polycrylic satin looks OK but dulls the details in the wood a bit (compared to others I tried) and I seem to be leaving streak marks
  • shellac looked better than poly but gets stained by water (experience on a diff project)
  • wax looked the best IMO, and felt the best but provide no protection (and redwood is quite soft)
  • Danish oil has a nice overall color but made some parts look grayish and other parts look blotchy (could be I haven't applied it correctly).

Would you guys have any suggestions?

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  • 2
    Re. this, "other parts look blotchy (could be i haven't applied it correctly)" redwood, like most softwoods, is a blotch-prone wood. Straight oil or the oil in a penetrating finish can be enough to bring this to light.
    – Graphus
    Commented Apr 8, 2018 at 12:24
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    FYI this is likely to closed as Answers are going to be primarily opinion-based, and mine is that I'd use nothing you've tested here. I'd go with an oil-based varnish, thinned down to wiping consistency and with maybe three coats applied. Cheap, couldn't be easier to apply and provides a high level of protection on all fronts.
    – Graphus
    Commented Apr 8, 2018 at 12:28
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    I've curious what "Howard Wax" is. When I saw that, I thought OPs user name would be "Howard"...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 15:13
  • 1
    I'll say this then duck but .. I would give Tung oil a shot. It'll look amazing and harden nicely too.
    – Still.Tony
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 18:51
  • 1
    @Graphus you'd have thought so, but, 2.5 years later it's still open. I've started the close campaign, since OP seems to have abandoned it without ever selecting an answer.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 17:32

2 Answers 2


I suggest the wax! I think it looks best, and it provides enough protection. Redwood used to be commonly used for outdoor building projects that would be exposed to water because it is durable - at least the heartwood is.

Because this will be indoor, wax will be fine. You may want to re-apply in a couple of years, but in reality, this wood will endure with strength.


Howards is (I presume we're talking about the same Howard's) "Howards FEED-N-WAX" (google it), it is an "original blend of beeswax, Brazilian carnauba wax, mineral oil, and orange oil". It smells great and it easy to use (like any of the oils).

I have used it and I like it but I'd worry that it would wear off (the wax would) and leave no protection. That might not be an issues for a bed (table, countertop, sink surround certainly an issue).

Remember mineral oil does not "dry" or evaporate it just sits there so repeated washings will remove it - again not a problem for a bed.

I used Howards on old redwood walls that had become scuffed and dingy over the years. A light sand and the Howards did a beautiful job revitalizing that wood.

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