I'm building a freestanding tv stand for a customer and they would like it stained instead of painted. Problem here is I have VERY limited experience with staining projects and what types of stock to use.
They would like a fairly tight grain like cherry, but aren't crazy about the cost. Are they alternatives to cherry that will stain well and are reasonably easy to find?
Thanks in advance.
That's a loaded question. I don't have an easy answer, but I will offer some input for you to consider. For the experienced finisher, he/she is familiar with wood species, how to prepare them, and what stains/dyes/and coloring techniques to use to get a desired result. Even with all that, it's a matter of trial and error, in making samples. IMO, doing a finish can be one of the most time consuming part of a project, that can't be rushed, and shortcuts don't usually produce good results.
For the hobbyist, the experimenting is invaluable. You have to keep in mind it's not just the media you use. It all starts with a certain species, and how it's prepared for a finish. If you are starting with a light colored wood, you may get some results with getting the color close by using a stain or dye. Once the topcoat goes on, the whole look can change.
Adding to the variables of the use of stains or dyes, the type of topcoat could induce more color, or change the shade. Knowing the characteristics of what you use help make testing more productive. Now that I've got you fairly versed with what's involved, you may run into projects with wood of the same species that don't look alike. I'm not trying to talk you out of anything, but rather to understand that the finishing process takes some planning before the first piece of wood is cut. You can't do better than experimenting, and making samples. It's a creative process when you see the results of your efforts.