Unbalanced Cherry

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Forum topic by Woodoc posted 08-03-2015 04:39 AM 836 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Woodoc's profile


39 posts in 1322 days

08-03-2015 04:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cherry lye filler

I’m building a cherry bookcase for my grandchildren and have reached the finishing stage. It is constructed of cherry ply with solid cherry edge-banding, face frame, and molding. There is a noticeable difference in the shade of the cherry veneer versus the solid cherry. (This became even more disturbing when i wet the wood with distilled water to raise the grain.)

I tried a lye solution on scraps of the ply along side some solid cherry and was very pleased with the result. The two woods became an almost perfect match. I was getting ready to apply it to my project when it occurred to me that I had used a “stainable filler” to fill finishing nail holes in the case as well as some very thin openings in my less than perfect joinery.

I’m guessing the lye will have a completely different effect on the filler than it does on the cherry. I’m sure the filled areas will really stand out with this method. I was wondering if I should continue as planned and try to use those colored pens that furniture stores use to cover up scratches or is there another, better, solution for balancing the two shades of cherry?

-- Doc "Not all who wander are lost." --J. R.R. Tolkien

3 replies so far

View thirdrail's profile


54 posts in 2628 days

#1 posted 08-03-2015 05:29 AM

If I were you, I’d take a piece of plywood scrap from your case and put a small piece of your cherry trim on it, then use some of the same filler. When it’s dry, I’d try the lye solution, then stain and top coats just as you want to do on your bookcase. Then you will know, with your materials, solution strength, etc how it will come out.

-- Third rail

View Redoak49's profile


3195 posts in 1953 days

#2 posted 08-03-2015 11:50 AM

That can be a problem with several species of wood. I see it at times with red oak cabinets. I try to lay out my pieces and plywood before assembly to check for a problem. My experience is that cherry can show a very wide range of color and grain and can make matching difficult.

Sorry I do not have a solution for you but good luck.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4951 posts in 2458 days

#3 posted 08-03-2015 12:14 PM

Probably 12-14 years ago I built a complete bedroom suite out of cherry and cherry ply. I went through great pains to get color matched pieces (as best you can between hardwood and ply) arranged and then assembled on the 5 pieces. one year later, and to this day, the color shifted on everything and it was quite different. Eventually over time, it all darkened to the point where it’s not as noticeable (except to me, apparently), but the point is: it’s hopeless to try and keep such a wood matched. Do your best and don’t worry about it. One thing: a precoat of garnet shellac seems to tone down the difference somewhat, wthen top coat with whatever you want (use dewaxed shellac if it’s a poly-something).

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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