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how do i darken new cherry ?

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Forum topic by quickkenny posted 01-31-2011 09:14 AM 12305 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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quickkenny

5 posts in 2141 days


01-31-2011 09:14 AM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing

hi guys and gals, i just joined your group, and am looking for a way to darken my new cherry cupboard. i don’t want to use dyes or stains. is there a way to fume the wood, or do i just have to wait a few yars to have the old patina look? i intend to use an oil finish.

-- Kenny


13 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3288 days


#1 posted 01-31-2011 01:53 PM

Kenny, one of the first things I suggest when I see posts like this is to suggest using scrap pieces to practice on before tackling the project itself. Make yourself a reference board(s) out of cherry sanded to the final grit that you intend for your project and use it to detail the individual finishing steps. This lets you practice on scrap and decide the finish that you are going to apply to the real project.

As far as darkening cherry goes, an oil application such as boiled linseed oil, will tone it somewhat and add an aged look to the wood. But cherry will continue to darken with exposure to light. One thing that you can do, if you want to avoid chemical darkening, is to expose the wood to direct sunlight before applying your finish. Suntanning works pretty well for aging cherry. A 2 to 3 week exposure will darken the cherry.

If you want to consider a chemical application Alin Dobra posted this blog which details how he uses potassium dichromate to achieve an aged color in cherry. I have not used this as I prefer to simply let cherry age on its own but I have seen other references to it as a means of “aging” cherry.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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quickkenny

5 posts in 2141 days


#2 posted 01-31-2011 02:16 PM

Scott, thanks for your help. I will try the pd and let everyone know how I make out.

-- Kenny

View Sawdust2's profile

Sawdust2

1467 posts in 3554 days


#3 posted 01-31-2011 02:33 PM

I have used lye 2x to darken cherry.
Maybe I was just lucky,
After reading Dobra’s post I guess so.
In any case I just mixed up the amount I needed and used a paint sprayer to spray it on the work piece, a grandfather’s clock. As it was sprayed on I never bothered washing it off. After letting it dry for 2-3 days I sprayed water-based poly over it. It’s been in my living room for more than 20 years and is still beautiful.
Because I used Drano as the lye I just poured it down the sink.
Just one man’s method.

Lee

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 2535 days


#4 posted 01-31-2011 03:48 PM

Cherry will darken pretty quickly without any help. Put a piece of scrap in the sun, and leave another inside. Compare them after a few hours.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

View RogerBean's profile

RogerBean

1602 posts in 2420 days


#5 posted 01-31-2011 04:25 PM

Best method I’ve discovered is to use a water soluble dye (woodworker’s supply antique cherry). This brings the new wood to the same color as aged cherry. Then finish as normal. I have a house full of cherry, floors, cabinets etc. most of which has aged naturally. I have made pieces using the dye method, and after several years they are both the same color… the naturally aged and the dyed. The dye has the advantage of evening out the color of any sapwood or other variations in the project. And the water based dye is light safe and does not fade. I’ve tried a number of the common methods for quick aging cherry, but none has worked better than the dye, and none is easier. Just my experience. Your mileage may differ.
Roger

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

3187 posts in 2243 days


#6 posted 01-31-2011 04:26 PM

I use tung oil to start the process. I use this because poly can be used over it without an issue if you use a poly/tung oil mix as an in between step – add sun light and it will darken in weeks versus a year or two. Depending upon the cherry, I have had some darken to almost a stained mahogany depth.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View RogerBean's profile

RogerBean

1602 posts in 2420 days


#7 posted 01-31-2011 04:51 PM

Sawkerf and dbray45 both make valid points that cherry will darken rather quickly in sunlight. In a sheltered room it may take a year or two, but it will get there either way. If your boards were all closely matched, and no sapwood, it will age evenly. If there is sapwood anywhere, it will become increasingly prominent as the heartwood ages and darkens.
Roger

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View newwoodbutcher's profile

newwoodbutcher

552 posts in 2317 days


#8 posted 01-31-2011 10:26 PM

I have been very happy with the results using potassium dichromate and Liberon Finishing Oil on cherry.
I usually use 6-7 coats of the Liberon Finishing oil over the potassium dichromate. I never tested for comparison but I believe using potassium dichromate compares to a few years of natural darkening. Allways do a sample board sanded to 220 including all the coats of oil before you apply anything to your project. I highly recommend this approach.

-- Ken

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3115 days


#9 posted 01-31-2011 11:16 PM

I put my cherry cutting board in direct sunlight – did wonders to it and darkened it pretty nicely. may not be fitting for the case at hand, but just putting it out there.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View John Jerman's profile

John Jerman

8 posts in 2160 days


#10 posted 02-01-2011 05:19 AM

I would recommend letting the cherry age naturally with sunlight. If you wanted to accelerate the process then move the cabinet outside (if it is not a built-in) into direct sunlight and you will be amazed at how quickly it will begin to darken. Using the natural oil finish is a great idea, you will be pleased with how beautifully it naturally darkens. I built all the millwork for my wife’s office out of cherryand it had darkened quite nicely after the first year. Her office did get a lot of direct sunlight and the cherry looked fantastic. It is like a fine wine, it gets better and better as it ages.
Good luck
John Jerman

View quickkenny's profile

quickkenny

5 posts in 2141 days


#11 posted 02-01-2011 02:06 PM

Being a Rookie to this site, I can’t Believe how helpful you folks are !
I thank everyone for thier input, you guys are the greatest.

Kenny

-- Kenny

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

1159 posts in 2157 days


#12 posted 02-01-2011 07:11 PM

Sunlight!

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

1159 posts in 2157 days


#13 posted 02-01-2011 07:13 PM

Sunlight!

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

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