what type of finish for this cherry table

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Forum topic by bowedcurly posted 09-02-2013 09:01 AM 1589 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bowedcurly's profile


519 posts in 1906 days

09-02-2013 09:01 AM

Im getting ready to finish this cherry table I built early this spring, what do you guys recommend? Ive been debating for months and waiting for the wheather to cool off too, any suggestions will be great. thanks Stevo

-- Staining killed the wood<<<<<>>>>>Dyeing gave it life

14 replies so far

View hoosier0311's profile


706 posts in 2202 days

#1 posted 09-02-2013 10:16 AM

I really like tongue oil on cherry, but I’m sure whatever you use will look great. Looking forward to see this done!

-- atta boy Clarence!

View coachmancuso's profile


259 posts in 2108 days

#2 posted 09-02-2013 11:27 AM

I just finished a cherry table and I used Boiled Linseed OIl then poly . This was the first time I have used parks poly and it worked great

-- Coach Mancuso

View Finisherman's profile


227 posts in 2026 days

#3 posted 09-02-2013 03:17 PM

I like to use lacquer on most of my projects, but then, I have the ability to spray finishes. Dewaxed orange shellac would also work well, provided that the table won’t be subjected to excessive amounts of wear. These are my preferences. That said, you can use almost any finish that you want on your project. The only ones that I wouldn’t recommend are BLO or wax alone. They are not durable.

View MrFid's profile


885 posts in 2081 days

#4 posted 09-02-2013 03:22 PM

I generally use BLO (or Tung oil), then shellac, then poly. Buff with 0000. This gives a high polish though, so if you’re looking for something more casual or muted then it’s not the right finish.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View a1Jim's profile


117279 posts in 3754 days

#5 posted 09-02-2013 04:06 PM

It seems you have quite a variation in color,if you want to keep the that variation in color then use some of Charles Neil’s blotch control (cherry tends to blotch quite a bit) general finishes Seal-a cel and top coat with General finishes Arm-R-Seal. If you want to try and achieve a more uniform color/look then you might want to use some General finishes dye/stain,with dye stain you can apply additional coats of dye/stain to each piece to try and blend the color together, this might be hard to do given the design of your table. In time your cherry will darken on it’s own so you might just want to use the Charles Neil’s blotch control general finishes Seal-a cel and top coat with General finishes Arm-R-Seal and call it good. If you want to learn more about finishing I strongly recommend Charles Neil’s on line subscription finishing class . Good luck with your project.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2538 days

#6 posted 09-02-2013 04:21 PM

Don’t use BLO! Don’t use shellac! Both are unnecessary!

Go with straight poly; either oil or waterborne. Waterborne is easier.

Don’t worry about the dreaded BLOTCHING! It probably won’t happen, but so what if it does? It’ll add character.

-- 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 a1Jim's profile


117279 posts in 3754 days

#7 posted 09-02-2013 04:47 PM

Clint is certainly a fine woodworker but I disagree about blotching ,in my opinion it is lightly to happen especially on cherry plus blotching makes a project look terrible. If your wanting a very rustic look it might be ok. I would suggest no matter what finish you decide on use it on a sample board sanded the same way as your table and see what you think before applying it to your table.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Gary's profile


9377 posts in 3610 days

#8 posted 09-02-2013 06:58 PM

Got to agree with Jim on this one. No offence Clint. In my experience, cherry will most likely blotch. I hate the look. After putting in so many hours on a project that you want to be proud of…why take the chance?

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View CharlesA's profile


3342 posts in 1974 days

#9 posted 09-02-2013 08:53 PM

I think the question is how uniform you want the color. I’ve been researching this a bit since I’m doing my first major piece with Cherry. I read somewhere that in addition to the blotching solution, Charles Neil recommended two coats of Gel satin poly followed by one coat of General Finished Candelight Gel Stain. I tried it on a piece of scrap and it came out really well. This may have been before he came out with the blotch control:

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View RogerM's profile


798 posts in 2576 days

#10 posted 09-03-2013 03:20 PM

First step, apply light sealer of 3 parts alcohol with one part of Seal Coat and let dry for at least an hour (this essentially eliminates the potential of blotching). 2nd step, apply Minwax Cherry Stain right out of the can and let dry overnight (24hrs. preferred). Seal with a coat of Seal Coat diluted with equal parts of alcohol and let dry at least an hour. Finish with 3 coats of polyurethane diluted with an equal part of mineral spirits allowing each coat to dry at least 8 hours. Buff down with at least 1000 grit sandpaper followed by 0000 steel wool. Apply finishing wax (Minwax works fine) with 0000 steel wool and buff.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View bowedcurly's profile


519 posts in 1906 days

#11 posted 09-03-2013 03:29 PM

thinks I will try shellac sanding sealer 3 to 1 then poly but Iwill try a test pc first the wood is already dark it has been outside in a barn for over 100 years, thanks for all the input great ideas, just wanted to know I was on the right track, lumberjocks is the best

-- Staining killed the wood<<<<<>>>>>Dyeing gave it life

View pintodeluxe's profile


5787 posts in 2990 days

#12 posted 09-03-2013 03:36 PM

I am with the sealcoat crowd. Blotching, to me, looks awful no matter what style of furniture you build.
If you want a natural finish, just topcoat and you will be fine.
However most people don’t want to wait years for the color to darken on its own.
So I would suggest a 3:2 ratio of denatured alcohol to bullseye sealcoat as a pre-stain conditioner.
After that dries, scuff sand if needed and stain to preference with an oil based stain. I like Rodda, Varathane, and Cabot brands (avoid Minwax).
Wipe the stain back several times, as you may have some bleed-back.
After stain is dry, apply topcoat. This can be shellac, poly, or lacquer.
I prefer sprayed lacquer.
The benefit of this finishing schedule is you will eliminate blotching, and you can stain it any color you like.
Some pre-stain conditioners limit the darkness of color you can achieve, but with the 3:2 ratio you can stain it dark walnut if you like.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View CharlesNeil's profile


2454 posts in 4047 days

#13 posted 09-04-2013 01:02 PM

Charles ,

Gel stains are designed to avoid blotching and depending on the wood thay can do very well, the formula above was looking to emulate a slightly aged cherry , it did do well.

If you have wood that is really blotch prone then you do need a pre stain, you just have to experiment to see.

We use alot of dyes and unless sprayed they blotch , and we had issues with shellac , which we used for years, it was just not consistent , so we developed the Blotch control .

View bowedcurly's profile


519 posts in 1906 days

#14 posted 09-04-2013 01:23 PM

I seen the blotch control on youtube I guess Im gonna have to use it, going to order some later in the week, thanks fellas I really appreciate the time you guys took to help me out, GO JOCKS

-- Staining killed the wood<<<<<>>>>>Dyeing gave it life

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