Restoring a Sauna

Bleaching and oiling to clean and rejuvenate the cedar in a sauna. November 15, 2011

A hotel wants me to refinish their sauna. I did a couple of test spots, and the wood is so dry it took me no time to get to healthy wood. One issue I have is some bleeding that the wood is getting from the screws that hold the benches together. Is there a way I can bleach this out? Sanding helps, but not 100%. What type of finish/oil/conditioner should I use to enhance the color of the wood? I believe it is either cedar or pine.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
Most likely the wood is cedar... The stains can be spot treated with oxalic acid solution. I do not recommend treating the wood with any sealer - the wood is part of the experience.

From the original questioner:
What about using some sort of a conditioner type material that would enhance the wood?

From contributor A:
Saunas are left unfinished. Bleach the iron stains with oxalic acid, wash those areas with distilled water, sand lightly, then you can apply cedar oil to refresh the cedar aroma.

From the original questioner:
That's what I was looking for! Thanks a bunch.