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Staining and Finishing Cherry - Antiques

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Forum topic by ranger_rick posted 06-05-2017 02:17 PM 380 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ranger_rick

4 posts in 195 days


06-05-2017 02:17 PM

I have restored antiques for many years but they have always been oak.

I am purest and avoid stain whenever possible but now i have bleached out cherry wardrobe and it is in desperate need of color.

I understand that cherry UV “tans” but this particular wardrobe has had the color chemically sucked out of it back in the 1920’s and i don’t think its coming back lol. (i have left pieces of the wardrobe out in the sun for a couple days and didn’t notice any change – yeah i know it takes years but i have seen change in fresh cherry boards as little as a day – all wood is different)

Plus I have incorporated repairs made from fresh cherry :(

The insides are warm a cherry but the outside has turned a bland pale yellow.

I have searched the web and read a variety of techniques on how to finish cherry but am having trouble figuring out what is the best way to go?

Gel stain?? If so what is the top coat? (i avoid poly – yeah i know “why?” – i just do :)

or

Oil wash coat then a oil stain then an oil top coat??

I want to keep it simple. What is the best way to go?

Thank you in advance RR


6 replies so far

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Kirk650

514 posts in 588 days


#1 posted 06-05-2017 02:51 PM

I can’t say what’s best, but I can say what I would try. I’d use a waterborne dye, specifically JE Moser Dark Wine Cherry, and try it out in various strengths on test boards. If too light, add dye. If too dark, wipe with wet rag. If worried about blotch, the Charles Neil blotch controller works very well. Since this approach will raise grain, I’d raise with water and sand with 400 grit a few times before using the dye.

This is what I did for a silverware chest for my wife. She wanted an antique look, so I used the dye, then sprayed on shellac, then shaded and ‘aged’ it to my satisfaction, then sprayed shellac. Then a few coats of Sherwood Williams Dull Effects hand rubbed lacquer. Whew…but it looks great.

On later projects I used the dye and then 4 coats of Waterloo Original. Much easier, but looks ‘new’, not old. And

Another approach was shown to me by a pro woodworker in Natchez, MS. He used a chemical (potassium something or other, I think) to darken the wood, then he used the French Polish approach. Very nice, and it really did look like old cherry. If the chemical (powder form) can’t be found on the internet, I can call my brother and he can call the guy.

The compound is potassium dichromate. Read up on it for proper safe use. Eye protection, vinyl gloves, respiration protection.

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RussellAP

3103 posts in 2126 days


#2 posted 06-05-2017 02:59 PM

A couple of pictures would be nice.
I prefer oiling cherry unless the piece has sapwood showing or not very uniform looking boards. Stain will draw all that together into one pallet.
These days people are opting to let the wood speak for itself up to a point. Some fine old pieces take on character with age and wear, while others just look like crap. Don’t know what your’s looks like so real hard to give advice.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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ranger_rick

4 posts in 195 days


#3 posted 06-05-2017 03:26 PM

because i am using old wood and new wood my first thoughts were go with dark stain or dye

in the image (side view) you can see the difference in wood color from exterior to interior (both wet with DA)

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ranger_rick

4 posts in 195 days


#4 posted 06-05-2017 09:10 PM

my goal is to achieve uniform color without obscuring the grain.

as i mention above i would like to go dark – possibly a “georgian cherry”?

why? match/mask the new wood with the old. i prefer darker richer coloring.

i am willing to try potassium dichromate but i am guessing i won’t get the georgian cherry. if PD offers the path of least resistance i will be ok.

i do have a fresh quart of “bush oil” (my wife bought it thinking i would laugh at the name. at near $30 a quart i didn’t laugh) RR

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RussellAP

3103 posts in 2126 days


#5 posted 06-05-2017 10:07 PM

It’s hard to experiment on something you don’t have a piece of cutoff for. Maybe there is some cherry on the back where you could try a few things. First get it sanded to 180 except any veneers, use a 340 on them just to clean and smooth them out by hand. Try some stain color on the back and see how you like it. Looks like it should be outstanding on cherry grain. Or you could use a good wood oil, like real tung oil, not the ‘tung oil finish’. Tung oil takes a while to penetrate so thin it with some citrus oil first. I’d use a 80/20 max on thinning. Then you have a plethora of top coats to choose from. My advice is keep it simple. And let us know what you did and how it turned out. Anything cherry is great.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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ranger_rick

4 posts in 195 days


#6 posted 06-05-2017 10:14 PM

unfortunately the back is near “black” lol. but yes i will have to experiment.

i am not a fan of complex finishing techniques RR

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