|# Posted: 20 Jul 2013 08:04
They make cedar chests out of cedar because it repels things. Myself, I like to err on the side of caution. I don't know of any safe sealants other than silicone, and it's not fully transparent, and hard to smooth out. Plexiglass eventually discolors, but lasts pretty long. Glass with a silicone seam would probably be your best bet for transparency and sealing ability.
I would build it with a safe interior wood, then contact cement cedar laminate on the exterior. That way you get the cedar look, without the fumes going in really. It's not too tough to do the laminate. You just roll contact cement with a small roller brush. Paint it on both pieces that you want to stick together, then let them sit for about 10 minutes to get tacky. Stick them together and press it smooth out to the edges. You can use wooden dowels to keep the glued surfaces separate while lining up the laminate, the glue wont stick to them because they're not coated. I like to use a hot clothes iron to do the pressing working from the center out with moderate pressure, and a quick slide. The heat reactivates the glue real quick, and helps lock the pieces together. The iron is not mandatory for gluing pieces together, but I find it to work well. If you mess up, or just need to remove any laminate, all you need is said clothes iron, and a putty knife. Peel the pieces starting at an edge, and working your way along with the heat from the iron, clean off any chunks of glue and debris, paint more glue on top of the old glue, let the pieces sit, realign, and press it on with the iron. If your pieces are slightly too big, you can use a rasp to clean off the edges, but only move the rasp in one direction that doesn't peel the laminate off. If you go the wrong way, it will peel up and get dust under, making that edge not stick as well.
We can never go back to the way it was...