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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been saving a few pieces of cherry 4/4 for that perfect project. Well it came along last week in the form of a table and chair set for my niece and nephew. Question I have is how to finish cherry??

Every google search I do is how hard it is. This is the first time ever working with cherry so I didn't know this... Could I not just clear coat it with polyurathane and keep that cherry color?!! Everything I'm finding is gel stain than clear coat?? Is that in fact true?
 

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Cherry Finish

First of all I would neither stain nor dye it. Cherry turns a wonderful color on its own.
I do not care for poly as it looks plastic to me. I have used Waterlox with great results, IMHO. The draw back with it is a long curing time and it needs several coats for build up. It is durable and adds a lot of pop to the wood.
Be sure and do test pieces first!
 

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I'm working on a small cherry project now.
Sanded to 220, wash coat of Seal Coat shellac to prevent blotching, light wipe on-wipe-off Cabot cherry stain for even coloring.
I'll then finish with Watco Satin Wax (natural).
The satin wax would not be the best finish for a table 'cause it would need to be renewed frequently, but a wiping varnish sure would be nice.
Please no poly on cherry.:thumbdown:
Bill
 

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Cherry is my absolute favorite, but it has to be older slower growing trees producing the true Cherry color, Pennsylvania. I would never stain it. If you want it darker, a few days in the sun does wonders. It takes any finish well.
 

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I recently dyed some cherry and it looked great. It took nice and evenly with no blotching. I used the TransTints liquid dye from Rockler.
 

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Yea i got wood
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personally i like poly and love it on cherry
if you don't like the glossy look you can use satin finish poly
its all personal preference
 

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I do quite a lot of work with Cherry. After many experiments over the years. Depending on the coloring I’m after I landed on two methods that always produce great results for me. The one I favor most is using Potassium Dichromate to quickly age it covered with a clear coat of your choice. I bought a small vile of Potassium Dichromate about ten years ago (not very expensive) and I still have about half a vile left, a little goes a long way. I hardly ever use it stronger than half the recommended strength. Its water based but the warnings say it’s pretty toxic. I always wear gloves and a mask when applying it and never had any problems.
As a top coat, I like to use Liberon Furniture oil if it’s not going to need a lot of protection. It repairs easily, looks great and is hard to mess up. I’ve used Polywipe and Waterlox when it needs to be tougher with great results as well.
The second approach is to skip any coloring at all and use either Liberon Furniture oil or Polywipe or Waterlox as a top coat. I’ve never been disappointed since I started using these two approaches.
Finally it is always necessary to apply all finishes, coloring and complete sanding on a piece of scrap (all steps, all the way to the end) before doing anything on your finished project.
 

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I wouldn't recommend a gel stain for anything other than a fiberglass door. It will cover up the natural beauty of the wood. Cherry is bad to darken from sunlight as it ages. It would help if you would coat the wood with a product called Sun Block offered by Kwick Kleen paint remover company. It is like a sunscreen made for wood. Then you could topcoat with polyurethane. The wood will still darken but the Sun Block will slow the process down. It would help to not keep the furniture in a very sunny location.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all so much. I think I am going to go with the clear coat on top of some sort. Def, not going to stain or discolor in anyway as the wood Gods would punish me... I have read more reviews and I think I will try the waterlox. I will keep you posted on how it goes!

Now for question #2... WOULD YOU BUY?

Guy emailed me today with 200+ board ft of Cherry lumber. Havent went to look at it, and only have the below picture to go on, but said he would sell it all to me (200+BF) for $300. half is planed the other half rough sawn. But I have a guy that can dress my lumber for .15 a BF. What ya think, deal or no deal?
 

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Alan Sweet
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Well, I see there is a consensus on cherry and how to

finish it.

When I lived in Tucson, AZ and worked with cherry I used to let the dressed lumber sit out in the sun 8-10 hours a day for about 10 days in a row. Then when done (furniture or large things), I would let them spend another 8-10 hours a day for 2-3 days. They would always have a great deep cherry color when they were delivered.
 

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Thank you all so much. I think I am going to go with the clear coat on top of some sort. Def, not going to stain or discolor in anyway as the wood Gods would punish me... I have read more reviews and I think I will try the waterlox. I will keep you posted on how it goes!

Now for question #2... WOULD YOU BUY?

Guy emailed me today with 200+ board ft of Cherry lumber. Havent went to look at it, and only have the below picture to go on, but said he would sell it all to me (200+BF) for $300. half is planed the other half rough sawn. But I have a guy that can dress my lumber for .15 a BF. What ya think, deal or no deal?
The cherry appears to be a pretty low grade. If you like all the heart seams and knots then it's a good deal. Otherwise unless you have pretty small projects I would pass on it.
 

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I used gel polyurethane on cherry and it worked out great. No blotching. Gel varnish, like gel stain, tends to work well with blotch prone woods.
 

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On cherry if you have the means of spraying I would use either a water based polyurethane or a catalyzed lacquer. If you are applying the finish by hand I would use Behlen rock hard table top finish. The Behlen is really a better finish however in time it will yellow.
 

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believebraves said:
Thank you all so much. I think I am going to go with the clear coat on top of some sort. Def, not going to stain or discolor in anyway as the wood Gods would punish me... I have read more reviews and I think I will try the waterlox. I will keep you posted on how it goes!

Now for question #2... WOULD YOU BUY?

Guy emailed me today with 200+ board ft of Cherry lumber. Havent went to look at it, and only have the below picture to go on, but said he would sell it all to me (200+BF) for $300. half is planed the other half rough sawn. But I have a guy that can dress my lumber for .15 a BF. What ya think, deal or no deal?
Excellent choice on the Waterlox.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 
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