I can't stain it

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Forum topic by ronstar posted 04-14-2008 01:54 AM 1635 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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457 posts in 3736 days

04-14-2008 01:54 AM

This is my first project other than my workbench – a cherry TV stand for my mother in law. Her furniture is stained dark pine. I thought I could get the TV stand to match. I got some stain and pre-stain conditioner. But after I applied the conditioner, I don’t think I can get myself to stain it. I like it the way it is, but it could be darker.

Can i put wipe on poly over the conditioner? I have the table sitting outside catching some sun. I hope it darkens it.

-- Ron, Northern Illinois

16 replies so far

View Mark E.'s profile

Mark E.

387 posts in 3768 days

#1 posted 04-14-2008 01:57 AM

Cherry will darken over time. Giving it a suntan will speed up the process.

By the way, very nice TV stand.

-- Mark

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3824 days

#2 posted 04-14-2008 02:01 AM

looks great. are you afraid of fading?

-- making sawdust....

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3921 days

#3 posted 04-14-2008 02:05 AM

I’m with Mark—- let it sit for a while and it will darken. I wouldn’t stain it either. Tell your mother-in-law that she needs to buy new furniture to match what you made!!!!

It’s a beautiful piece.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3793 days

#4 posted 04-14-2008 02:22 AM

i agree that if you leave it out there for a while it will darken. the table looks great by the way.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4243 days

#5 posted 04-14-2008 02:42 AM

It looks great the way it is. Who says is has to look the same as the other furniture?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Slacker's profile


178 posts in 3726 days

#6 posted 04-14-2008 03:02 AM

Or, or… you can make her all new cherry furniture.

That is a beautiful piece, and I can not fathom why you would want to uglify it into pine.

-- Adapt, improvise, overcome

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3847 days

#7 posted 04-14-2008 03:20 AM

Hi Ron,

To answer your question yes you can put poly over the conditioner. In fact this is one of the times when you should ignore what the label says. Wood conditioner is nothing more than diluted varnish ( i.e. poly). The directions call for staining within two hours but this does nothing to stop blotching. You should let the conditioner cure before applying any stain in order to help prevent blotching.

But cherry does not need staining. You cannot get cherry and pine to resemble each other. Cherry is such a gorgeous wood and it will develop its own patina with time. Putting poly on it is a good idea because it provides surface protection and you can build a poly finish. As a suggestion you might want to go with a wiping poly (3:1 poly: mineral spirits if you want to make your own) and wipe several coats on the table. It will turn out beautifully.

I am looking forward to seeing it posted.

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

View ronstar's profile


457 posts in 3736 days

#8 posted 04-14-2008 12:32 PM

Thanks for the support! I’ll wipe on poly after the conditioner dries a full day. Maybe I’ll bring it outside for some more sun. If she doesn’t like it, I’ll make a darker one out of walnut or something.

-- Ron, Northern Illinois

View DannyBoy's profile


521 posts in 3891 days

#9 posted 04-14-2008 03:52 PM

Very nice stand. Keep with whatever natural color its going to have. It seems to me we buy and build out of woods like cherry because they have such a great natural color. It would be a shame to ruin that.


-- He said wood...

View BertJ's profile


49 posts in 3723 days

#10 posted 04-14-2008 08:19 PM

To add just a note to Scott’s good advice, I recommend Min-wax Wipe-on Poly. It comes in both glossy and satin, I happen to prefer satin for most projects. It goes on VERY easily (and fast), dries quickly and allows you to build to a final finish in no time. I recommend three to five coats.

For future reference, cherry doesn’t stain very well. (Nor does pine, maple, poplar and other woods.) However, you can match almost any finish using aniline dyes. They come in many colors and can be mixed to get what you want. They can be wiped on, brushed (sponge type is best) or sprayed. Apply the dye before finishing and proceed after it is dry.

View ronstar's profile


457 posts in 3736 days

#11 posted 04-15-2008 12:51 PM

I have the Minwax wipe-on poly satin ready to go on the table. i also have a maple closet system started. i used the wood conditioner on a sample of the maple followed by stain. It didnt take the stain very well. I’ll have to go with dye on that one.

-- Ron, Northern Illinois

View BrianM's profile


116 posts in 3778 days

#12 posted 04-15-2008 01:42 PM

The holy grail for a cherry finish.

I have used the method in the link below, but have never used the Watco oil. I use a mixture of 70/30 boiled linseed oil/mineral spirits. For a number of cherry products I have taken it well over 1000 grit.

Try this on a sample piece and I don’t think you will ever use any other finish on cherry.


-- There is no such thing as scrap wood!,

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3987 days

#13 posted 04-15-2008 03:41 PM

Looks great! Just tell you Mother-in-law she needs to have you build all new furniture from Cherry. Ilike Cherry best with a natural finish.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View ronstar's profile


457 posts in 3736 days

#14 posted 04-16-2008 01:12 PM

Brian – I did try a little Watco on a sample. I didnt like the look. But after reading your link, I missed the sealing steps, and I think that would make a huge difference. I’ll give a try.

Thos & others – I dont want to tell the mother in law that I’ll build all new furniture. She’ll take me up on the offer. I have a few other projects in progress that I’ll have to finish first.

-- Ron, Northern Illinois

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 4102 days

#15 posted 04-16-2008 07:03 PM

Really nice looking stand – just as it is. I agree with others about a poly finish to protect the surface, but keep it clear.

Thanks, Brian for the link to the oil finish tecnique!

God Bless,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

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