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Forum topic by USCJeff posted 2426 days ago 1569 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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USCJeff

1044 posts in 2674 days


2426 days ago

I’m having my first experience with Cherry on some small projects I’m doing for the Holidays. I’m learning that it has some unique properties that present some challenges. Namely, the sap/heart wood contrast very apparently. What do you all do to make the board more uniform. I’ve seen a few people using dye, but that seems tricky in mixing and matching the colors. Any thoughts?

-- Jeff, South Carolina


8 replies so far

View Karson's profile

Karson

34862 posts in 3006 days


#1 posted 2426 days ago

Remember that the contrast is in the eyes of the beholder.

Cherry ages. if you make the sapwood the color of the other wood, it won’t last long because the heart wood will age on its own.

My suggestion use it as is, or cut off the sap and use heart cherry boards to get the amount that you need of heartwood.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

12855 posts in 2588 days


#2 posted 2426 days ago

I agree with Karson. cherry sapwood is attractive, especially if it is intentially placed in the piece.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Dorje's profile

Dorje

1763 posts in 2602 days


#3 posted 2425 days ago

I’m working with cherry on a bed right now- I chose to cut off the sap or locate it where it wouldn’t be seen for this particular project, going for a consistent uniform color and appearance. That said, I agree with the others that the sap contrast could be used to a nice effect if done thoughtfully! Also, I think what Karson pointed out was important re: dye…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View hObOmOnk's profile

hObOmOnk

1380 posts in 2733 days


#4 posted 2425 days ago

Jeff:

My chosen genre is rustic.
I want to see the contrast between heart and sap wood.
I try to use the difference in colors to accentuate my designs.

However, time and exposure to sunlight will change the colors of the cherry and
can mellow the contrast.

I’ve used Potassium Bichromate (Dichromate) to age the cherry and get it closer
to where it wants to go naturally.

Ammonia fuming is another trick. Hazmat suit is optional. <grin>

-- 温故知新

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USCJeff

1044 posts in 2674 days


#5 posted 2425 days ago

Good points. I only bought 10 BF of it, but I would have chosen the boards differently had I known I would use them for what I’m doing. The contrast is not what I need in this project, so I’ll probably save them for another day. There really isn’t a logical way to cut out the sapwood that would leave decent size stock to work with on these particular boards. I’m doing some small things and I think the contrast would make the look too “busy” on the smaller decor items. Ammonia fuming is a bit too nasty for me! Many things to master before I give that a shot.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4761 posts in 2487 days


#6 posted 2425 days ago

I have used grocery store lye diluted in water to age cherry, but just as father time, it does not completely hide the sapwood. Something else about cherry is you can get dark burn marks quite easily with dull or slow tools. If you have to rip or even route the edges, remember to do it quickly.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Blake's profile

Blake

3436 posts in 2480 days


#7 posted 2425 days ago

Please don’t Dye!

I look for those boards with the contrasting heart/sapwood because they are so much more interesting than the uniform lumber. They are harder to find because lumber yards tend to choose the uniform stuff. If that’s not the look you are going for use a different piece of wood or cut strategically.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View Alin Dobra's profile

Alin Dobra

350 posts in 2493 days


#8 posted 2425 days ago

USCJeff,

If you match the boards carefully, the effect you can get with the contrast is amazing. I usually try to highlight the contrast rather than hide it. Even to a piece of furniture, the contrast can add a lot of visual interest. I’m with Blake completely on this one.

One trick used by the lumber makers is to steam the cherry. This makes the color from the heart wood to migrate to the sap wood. It makes the cherry cloudy though and not so good looking.

Alin

-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

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