How to Sand Red Cedar Wood


Red cedar is prized for its ability to withstand weather, repel pests and especially for its clean, spicy scent. Whether you have a red cedar wood deck, furniture or closet, it will inevitably need some tender loving care to remove scratches, nicks and gouges. It is not hard to sand red cedar, and doing so is often enough to restore the warm glow and woodsy aroma. When you finish sanding red cedar, you have the option of leaving it alone to weather and age to a graceful gray, or sealing it to keep the fresh color intact.

Step 1

Wipe the cedar down with a clean, lint-free cloth, or sweep the area if you are going to sand a deck or floor.

Step 2

Put on your dust mask. Start with the coarser-grit sandpaper---the lower the number, the rougher the texture. Sand with the grain of the wood, not sideways to it or in circles.

Step 3

Wipe down or sweep the red cedar when you are finished, and then move to the finer-grit sandpaper. A sanding block or bare paper works best for small projects like closet shelves or chairs. A hand-sander is good for large tables and armoires, and a belt sander is best for use on a deck or floor.

Step 4

Use the finer-grit sandpaper the same way you did the coarser---work with the grain, and don't press too hard. Oil, seal or stain the cedar, or just leave it to age naturally.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use polyurethane on outdoor red cedar as it tends to lift and crack.

Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Clean, lint-free cloths
  • Dust mask
  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Optional:
  • Hand sander
  • Belt sander


  • Aromatic Cedar Closets and Products
  • How to Sand Furniture

Who Can Help

  • CedarFurnitureOutlet: Information on Cedar
Keywords: red cedar wood, sand red cedar, sanding red cedar

About this Author

Brynne Chandler has been a professional writer for 27 years, mostly in TV animation. Her first script was for the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and her last for Disney's Gargoyles. In between, she was nominated for an EMMY award for Batman: the Animated Series.

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