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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm making a small box, similar to this:


out of curly cherry with a recessed lid of curly maple and I want to pop the grain.

I've used transtint dye and sealcoat on maple before to get a nice pop but I've never worked with curly cherry before and I'm not sure how to get a similar effect.

reading elsewhere it seems tung oil is good finish to bring out the figure in cherry but I'm not sure you'll get the same pop with the maple.

do you prefinish the maple and cherry separately then assemble and finish up with a wipe-on poly or do you treat them the same and use what; to get a good pop from the figured wood?
 

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Rick Mosher
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Best way to pop the grain is by cutting the wood fibers with a scraper or plane instead of sanding. After that, any oil works well to highlight figure and if you are going to use a dye stain you can stain with a little darker color first, plane the color off the harder wood so the color is only in the figure and then stain everything with a brighter color. Do samples first!



Left side is sanded right side is planed and scraped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
that's a good idea. I did watch a FWW video that said to sand to 150 grit. scraping would be similar in that you get a smooth finish but the sawdust doesn't fill the end grain voids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I sharpened the cabinet scraper and it leaves it glass smooth. I did a few passes and you can really see the figure stand out.

I picked up some waterlox recently and have a few test pieces; scraped then wetted to raise the grain, scraped and just sanded to 120. I want to see how each take the waterlox.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
here's a couple pictures of the curly cherry with a few coats of waterlox:

sanded 120 grit on left scraped and wetted right:




same left but right was only scraped


 
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