Evening out the color of cherry boards

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Forum topic by yooper posted 11-26-2013 05:50 PM 923 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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216 posts in 2797 days

11-26-2013 05:50 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cherry staining dying even color

All, Do you have an opinion on the best way to even out the color of cherry boards from different sources? I started a project, and I using my left over cherry from three different sources. Of course they are differently colored and some boards have a bit of sapwood present. Is dying or staining better? Is there another alternative? Thanks

-- Jeff, CT - keep calm and make sawdust

4 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5626 posts in 2783 days

#1 posted 11-26-2013 05:56 PM

Here is a nice discussion on the topic. Basically you need to use a heavy bodied stain with a high solids content, and a low dye content (Rodda, Varathane, Cabot). That will help blend the sapwood and varying colors into one unified piece of furniture. The sapwood will not get much darker due to age and oxidation alone.
As with staining any blotch prone wood, use a pre-stain conditioner. I like a 3:2 mix of denatured alcohol to shellac sealcoat. It still allows you to get a rich dark color, but prevents blotching.

Here is a recent bed project I made with cherry. The lumber was from three different sources. Some of the lumber was white, and some was a dark pink. I was pleasantly surprised how well the Rodda stain made it look like the cherry was all from the same tree.

Best of luck with your project.

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

View yooper's profile


216 posts in 2797 days

#2 posted 11-26-2013 06:11 PM

Thanks pintodelux. I knew there was a prior topic like this, but I search too specifically. I have had issues with walnut in the past, and Watco dark walnut even it out, but I have never tried to even out cherry. Your answer is helpful.

-- Jeff, CT - keep calm and make sawdust

View CharlesA's profile


3312 posts in 1767 days

#3 posted 11-26-2013 07:38 PM

Charles Neil had this suggestion that I found to work pretty well: two coats of General Finishes Gel poly (satin), followed by a coat of General Finishes Candlewood Gel Stain. It gives a very nice, very thin coat that evens out the color and makes it look like it aged naturally.

-- "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 yooper's profile


216 posts in 2797 days

#4 posted 11-26-2013 07:47 PM

Thanks Charles. I have some GF statin gel poly on hand. I’ll look into the Candlewood Gel stain. One question? I assume this is like applying a seal coat where the the sapwood and hardwood would absorb the poly differently, and then the stain evens out the color. But, are you saying that this also unifies the color on boards from different trees?

-- Jeff, CT - keep calm and make sawdust

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