Blotchy Cherry or Normal ??

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Forum topic by PhillyChopSaw posted 03-03-2017 08:50 PM 844 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View PhillyChopSaw's profile


21 posts in 662 days

03-03-2017 08:50 PM

Topic tags/keywords: blotchy cherry

So I made this cherry stool, wondering what the gang thinks of this finish. Don’t get me wrong, it is an attractive piece of furniture, but the cherry top got really blotchy and i dont know why. My finish was this: 2 coat danish, 2 coat poly.

Whats weird is that the cherry sides look really nice and not blotchy. I milled down them down and had a top from the same stock but naturally i broke my original top in the planer so I made another top from big box store cherry.

Any ideas on why this is blotchy and how to fix it in the future?

-- Dust Collection @my house: roll all your power tools outside, cut, roll everything back inside, hope for rain.

9 replies so far

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 847 days

#1 posted 03-03-2017 08:59 PM

... if only the two trees could talk. Personally, I like the top. It seems to tie in the two woods quite nicely … especially in the bottom photo! I’d leave it alone and tell everyone you planned it that way. Now, if you are still displease, PM me for my address … I’ll take it!

I almost forgot … GOOD JOB!

View OSU55's profile


1964 posts in 2189 days

#2 posted 03-03-2017 10:03 PM

To minimize blotch in the future, read this- Blotch control. While a little blotch shows in the pics, it may look really nice in person, hiliting the varying grain of the cherry. Its your piece in your house – it’s your opinion that matters.

View PhillyChopSaw's profile


21 posts in 662 days

#3 posted 03-04-2017 02:23 AM

Thank you very much for responses. Its a cool piece, just curious about the blotches. If you spend the time and effort finishing a piece of wood, you want it to finish at least some what consistent to the last thing you made. One thing i I learned from this project is that Cherry and Danish are good friends. Think they look incredible together. I tested danish on Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Maple, Tiger Maple,.... Danish looked the best on Cherry. Made it pop.

So OSU55, I understand the need to condition wood to basically create a base for coloring/finishes. (but i didn’t condition my last oak project and it looked awesome!) Do you think I would have been better off adding ( Minwax 1 pt. Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner) to my cherry top before oil? I have it in my shop, just for some reason i didn’t apply it. Or would you recommend in the future for all cherry finishes; 1st 1 part Elmers Wood glue , 2nd 4 to 8 parts water? Then danish, then poly…


-- Dust Collection @my house: roll all your power tools outside, cut, roll everything back inside, hope for rain.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5174 posts in 2693 days

#4 posted 03-04-2017 12:33 PM

One person’s blotch is another person’s grain….I like it; why fret over a non-issue?

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

View pmayer's profile


1032 posts in 3265 days

#5 posted 03-04-2017 12:57 PM

I’m with Fred. It is figure to me, and I say it looks great. Nice piece!

-- PaulMayer,

View OSU55's profile


1964 posts in 2189 days

#6 posted 03-04-2017 01:35 PM

Oak and walnut aren’t bad about blotching, usually just very burly areas, and it enhances the look. Just about any maple and cherry could need conditioning depending on what you want it to look like. Minwax has a solvent and a water based conditioner. Either can help, but I don’t like the solvent based that has no solids – I cover that type in the blog.

My recommendation when it comes to finishing is to test, test, and test some more. Just as people recommend practicing various woodworking skills to perfect them, spend time developing finishing skills and knowledge. I will reiterate – when finishing a piece for yourself, your opinion is what matters. You may like what others don’t or vice versa. I highly recommend these books:

Great Wood Finishes Jeff Jewitt Taunton Press
Understanding Wood Finishing Bob Flexner Reader’s Digest

Since you like Danish oil, you might find this interesting.

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3777 days

#7 posted 03-05-2017 12:02 AM

Hi Philly
Welcome to Ljs nice work on your stool ,good job.
Looking at your photos I don’t see what I would consider blotch but there does seem to be a difference in absorption in different boards in your glue up where a conditioner AKA as blotch control could have helped even out your finish. Sometimes folks that wish to be helpful use dated information that there may be newer solutions to finishing challenges than there has been even a couple of years ago due to some products have been reformulated due to federal and state regulations so it is always a good idea to use the most current information out there to properly assess what the right approach is for whatever project you’re working on. This is not to say that all information here or elsewhere is all wrong only that newer solutions may be available.
If you would like to have an expert finisher available to answer all of your finishing questions, may I suggest signing up for Charles Neils(a 30+YEAR FINISHING EXPERT) online finishing course? I believe you can sign up and cancel at any time if you’re not satisfied, he also has a library of problems and their solutions available to members.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View upinflames's profile


217 posts in 2362 days

#8 posted 03-05-2017 01:45 PM

Looks good, you can make the glue sizing that is being spammed from a poster here. It has been around a long time, read the info on the link OSU55 provided, good info.

There are “expert” finishers around every corner, to advertise glue sizing and say it’s new tech is…well….silly.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1180 posts in 3049 days

#9 posted 03-05-2017 02:43 PM

+ 1 for Charles Neil, I’ve learned loads from him, sometimes his videos get a bit “rambly” but you learn more too when he gets a bit off topic or distracted

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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