Skip the finish
Top-coating aromatic cedar seals in, and therefore negates, its insect-repellent properties. But you should also avoid applying any stain, paint, or finish to the non-cedar interior surfaces of a cedar chest. That's because the resins in cedar share characteristics with turpentine, and the solvent-like vapors can cause oil- and water-based stains, paints, and finishes to soften, making lids (and clothes) stick. If you include a cedar lining or tray in your blanket chest, leave the interior unfinished.
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