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Old 12-13-2007, 11:43 AM   #1
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Staining solid cherry wood


I am building a bar using solid cherry for the front and sides. I am using raised panels, so I have lots of exposed end cuts. Some of the cherry is light colored, some darker. Some has very nice, wavy grain, others just straight. When I glued the panels together, I matched the grain and the hues as closely as I could. When the project is complete, I want to stain everything so that I have a nice even color and a smooth, satin finish.

What is the best way to prepare the wood so the ends cuts do not soak up so much stain that they appear black, and to ensure I get a consistant, even color across the wood surface?

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Old 12-13-2007, 12:50 PM   #2
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Staining solid cherry wood


Use a 'pre stain conditioner' available from Minwax Varathane, Etc. Use the one recommended by whichever stain manufacturer you are using.

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Old 12-13-2007, 01:25 PM   #3
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Staining solid cherry wood


Depending on the color you're going for, the best way to get even color on cherry is to use oil (boiled Linseed oil mixed with turp and japan dryer, or a catalyzed oil finish like Watco). Cherry darkens considerably on its own in just a year or two when oiled. It gets a rich reddish brown, nothing like the pinkish hue of the raw wood.

If you're going for a really dark color though, that won't work for you.
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Old 12-13-2007, 01:37 PM   #4
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Staining solid cherry wood


I would not use BLO or danish oil or any other similar finish on a bar top I would use a good polyurethane
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Old 12-13-2007, 02:55 PM   #5
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Staining solid cherry wood


I'll second the poly -- especially if you'll have any crazy parties

I love the color variations in cherry -- it makes it look more like wood to me and less like plastic

The last cherry I stained was a dining room set and I tried using pre-conditioner just on the end grain. If I had to do it again, I'd put the pre-conditioner on all surfaces for a more consistent look as it's hard to keep the pre-conditioner to just the end grain.

Good luck!
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:16 AM   #6
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Staining solid cherry wood


I was not suggesting using ONLY oil for a finish. I was suggesting using BLO as a stain. It richens any wood, and considerably darkens some woods. I use it under my top-coat on furniture more often than not.

As for Poly? I actually wouldn't use that on anything, especially a bar top or table top. For a table-top finish I'd use a catalyzed varnish, like Rockhard tabletop varnish, or a pour on bar-top varnish if you like that thick glassy look. At minimum I'd use a one-part alkyd varnish like Epifanes. Poly is too soft and unattractive for a tabletop, IMO.
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Old 12-15-2007, 10:46 AM   #7
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Staining solid cherry wood


Woodcutter,

If you have the time, experiment with your own sealer. It's made with 1pt. shellac and 5 pts. denatured alcohol. This is the standard formula.

For the open end grains, you can make it 4/1 or even 3/1. It would be great if you can experiment on scraps first.
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Old 12-26-2007, 08:03 PM   #8
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Staining solid cherry wood


Why stain cherry, Isn't that against one of the Commandments?

The freshly cut wood will darken quite fast, and no stain will ever give you the beautiful patina of natural aged cherry.

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