Finishing a Cherry Bad

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Forum topic by OldTimeShopSmith posted 10-03-2012 08:45 PM 1710 views 1 time favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13 posts in 2487 days

10-03-2012 08:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finish cherry bed question finishing

I have just spent the last month building my first piece of furniture, a queen size cherry bed. I was wondering what the best way to put a finish on it. I really do not want to use a poly on the bed and was thinking about a clear danish oil finish, but I am not sure how durable that type of finish would be. I want the bed to age naturally. Any thoughts and suggestions would be great.

-- Scott, Illinois

21 replies so far

View derosa's profile


1590 posts in 3073 days

#1 posted 10-03-2012 08:50 PM

I used danish on my crib, other then the teeth marks its held up so far, it is about to get a second round so I’ll see how that goes. Before the next kid goes in I’ll add another coat or two; doesn’t seem to need it but refreshing can’t hurt.

-- A posse ad esse

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2462 days

#2 posted 10-03-2012 08:56 PM

I was drawn in by your title “Finishing a Cherry Bad” – I thought I was in for a horror story.

Like derosa, I have used Danish oil on my cherry pieces and it holds up fine. But nothing I have done in cherry gets the hard use that a bed does.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2599 days

#3 posted 10-03-2012 11:30 PM

For a brush-on, try waterborne poly. The best would be a sprayed solvent lacquer. Oil finishes are for those who don’t value their work and too lazy to learn. Even a wipe-on oil poly would be better.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View lysdexic's profile


5268 posts in 2861 days

#4 posted 10-03-2012 11:39 PM

Strong words there Clint.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

View derosa's profile


1590 posts in 3073 days

#5 posted 10-04-2012 12:50 AM

That is pretty harsh Clint. I’ve done poly, varnish, paint and shellac on a number of projects; at the end of the day I happen to like danish oil and BLO on certain projects and think it can be nicer. I could do another finish over the oil on the crib when I modify it to make it a non drop side but I don’t think any of them would look as good. Finish should be based on style, desired look and intended use and you shouldn’t belittle another person’s choice.

-- A posse ad esse

View Willardz's profile


59 posts in 2548 days

#6 posted 10-04-2012 01:15 AM

Danish oil is one of my favorites. Like it better than the plastic look.

-- I have Carrie, food, shelter, and wood to turn. What else do I need?

View OldTimeShopSmith's profile


13 posts in 2487 days

#7 posted 10-04-2012 01:31 AM

Thanks for all of the information. How many coats of Danish oil should be used and how would you suggest preparing between coats?

-- Scott, Illinois

View oldnovice's profile


7380 posts in 3605 days

#8 posted 10-04-2012 01:53 AM

I use lacquer, oil, and poly but when I poly I use satin. I don’t like the plastic look either and the satin fills that requirement. I apply the the poly with combed sheepskin pads which gives me a lot of control. For lacquer I use a rattle can and for oil I use clean room, lint free, cotton rags.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View EPJartisan's profile


1122 posts in 3363 days

#9 posted 10-04-2012 03:52 AM

My finish for Cherry is to scrape smooth, sand to 600.. drench the surface with Danish oil.. wait… as the oil sinks in it will go dull… put more on.. wait.. put more on.. wait… put more on.. wait… until the oil stops soaking in… wipe it dry… Let cure for 48 hours… sand to 1,000, polish with steel wool until it shines… soak with oil… put more on.. wait.. put more on…wipe it dry… let cure over night… a few coats of wipe on Poly. Though what I use on Cherry trim is a Naptha/oil/beeswax finish… makes it very soft to touch.. it vibrates in color and darkens nicely.

The truth is.. people who like oil.. just like the way it works with wood.
I guess one can sand to 320 and varnish…it’s like a tiny fraction of the time, but it looks like it was.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View Jacob's profile


85 posts in 2880 days

#10 posted 10-04-2012 04:11 AM

ouch clint, I suppose woodworker didnt start valuing their work until the invention of polymers and plastics. What about woodworkers who send their work out to get finished due to space and permit restrictions related to spray booths??

I quite like oils, danish is a simple and good one. Oils age handsomely compared to some more modern finishes and can be rejuvenated with less work. Im not a genius finished so perhaps thats why I like the oil, but I like my first few coats are applied generously and with rag and wiped off with a clean one. Then I like to apply a few coats with a soaked piece of steel wool.

Cherry also looks nicely with Tung Oil, which I apply similarly.

-- -Jacob Turetsky, Industrial Designer

View oldnovice's profile


7380 posts in 3605 days

#11 posted 10-04-2012 04:40 AM

Thanks Jacob, I forget tung oil!

I have always liked the natural look of tung oil and used it on a lot of small projects.

For a long time I used the Homer Formy’s tung oil but for some reason none of the retailers here carry that product and I have been forced to switch brands which IMO are not as good!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View BigYin's profile


421 posts in 2654 days

#12 posted 10-04-2012 04:40 AM

Danish oil has lasted 15 years on our mahogany kingsize, gets recoated every 2nd year to freshen it up and protect the wood.

The lemon oil treated bed in the spare room is recoated each year. (lemon oil hasnt any drying agents)

The old saying for oil finishes was once a day for a month, once a month for a year and once a year for life

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

View CharlesNeil's profile


2469 posts in 4108 days

#13 posted 10-04-2012 11:44 AM

use either some Waterlox or Arm R Seal, do about 4 coats, hand wiped, and check it in about 20 years, you will be good to go, Oils are excellent finishes, ,just depends on the oil !

View EPJartisan's profile


1122 posts in 3363 days

#14 posted 10-04-2012 12:52 PM

in my opinion, Tung oil has too much of an orange tone… which is why I like Watco Danish… clean, tined to the wood type (or not at all) and cures nicely… a reliable product.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3523 days

#15 posted 10-04-2012 01:42 PM


KISS!..........keep it simple scott. Since this is your first piece of furniture that you are finishing, I would suggest using something that is pretty easy to work with and not screw up. As recommended above, your oil finish is a pretty good way to go. Wipe on, Wipe off excess, let dry, repeat untill desired look. I don’t know the details of your bed, but it’s a lot of surface to work with and if you have a lot of crooks and crannys to deal with, then a brush on finish or spraying an even coat gets a little more difficult. As far as durablity goes, I wouldn’t think you need a poly finish or anything like that. Surrounded with pillows, blankets, comforters, sheets and a mattress, not sure how much protection you need. (just kidding).

Every finish has it’s pros and cons and the more finishing you do, the more you will probably find one product that you like as far as ease of use, the look, the feel, ease of repair and durability. My finishing techniques and products have changed over the years based on many factors, as I’m sure yours will.

Good luck and hope you will post some pictures when it’s finished.

-- John @

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