Reply by fussy

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Posted on Darken Cherry

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980 posts in 3290 days

#1 posted 02-08-2012 08:46 AM


That’s exactly right. I usually sand to 220, then flood the piece with blo and sand in a circular motion with 320 wet-or-dry adding a little more blo as it looks dry. Then, after a few minutes of this, I wipe it dry. Next day, same thing with blo and 400 wet-or-dry; just not as much. It’s more to lubricate the sandpaper and create a slurry than to force more oil into the wood. At this point, the wood’s color has deepened and the texture is smoothed and softened. Wipe dry, and keep checking for wet spots that may weep out. Let it dry for a few days, wipe it down, if necessary with a gray synthetic pad and place in the sun. Cherry is photo-tropic (?) (light-sensitive) and it’s just like developing film. The right exposure for the look you want.

It will darken quickly, then slow down. It will continue to darken for years, but you will have given it a big jump start towards its’ final beauty. The big advantage of this approach is the natuarl look. The grain is not occluded by pigment stains, nor is the color forced by chemical treatments (which in themselves are dangerous to you and the environment), and as the color continues to develop, it will continue to be naturally beautiful; like the most beautiful woman you ever saw who needs no make-up instead of a cheap hooker with pounds of paint spoiling the picture.

Cherry is one of the loveliest woods in the world, and deserves the best tratment—the LEAST TREATMENT—to show itself. One can’t fake Mother Nature. You may come close, but it will allways bite you if you fake it.

I have been doing this to cherry for 40 years, and some of the stuff I built back then, when I see it again, leaves me breathless. Try a piece of masking tape on a scrap piece without oil just to see what an hour of full sun can do for you. You can finish the piece in any way you wish according to need. Usually, I just buff it out with a beeswax/oil mixture that’s soft. Rub it in sparingly, but thouroughly, buff with soft cotton or wool, repeat. If extreme protection is needed, poly applied over the oil will do the job. Then wax and buff to get the tactile feel that drives people to touch as well as look at it.

This is a simple approach, but I have allwaays gotten raves over the look. My Mother was my first recipient and she treasurred her gift to the day she died. Try it. It’s not hard, doesn’t cost much, doesn’t stink or hurt you, and doesn’t take forever. Left just waxed over the oil, scratches are easy to repair. Poly is harder to damage, but harder to repair. Both work well. Good luck


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

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