Cherry cabinet

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Project by Matt Vredenburg posted 05-05-2017 12:44 AM 1721 views 16 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Custom designed and built cherry and maple cabinet, including two curly maple sliding doors, hand cut dovetailed cabinet and drawers. The doors are made using individual maple panels which are 1/8 inch veneers (back and front).

For the finish, I applied a mixture of naphtha and boiled linseed oil (to darken and pop the maple and cherry), then sealed it using blonde shellac. The topcoat finished is four coats of General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Urethane Topcoat (semi-gloss).

-- Matt, Arizona

20 comments so far

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


5964 posts in 2770 days

#1 posted 05-05-2017 02:01 AM

Sweet looking cabinet. Great work!

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Woodknack's profile


12772 posts in 2741 days

#2 posted 05-05-2017 02:08 AM

Interesting design

-- Rick M,

View Texcaster's profile


1286 posts in 2035 days

#3 posted 05-05-2017 02:32 AM

Very nice indeed! I would enjoy that piece day after day, year after year.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View Rich's profile (online now)


4404 posts in 950 days

#4 posted 05-05-2017 04:26 AM

Great work. Interesting combination of naphtha and BLO. I’ve never run across mention of that before, but it sure looks beautiful.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View Matt Vredenburg's profile

Matt Vredenburg

193 posts in 3775 days

#5 posted 05-05-2017 04:44 AM

Thank you for your comments!

RichTaylor – I combine BLO with naphtha, so it penetrates more and drys faster. A finishing expert showed me this trick, and I use it all the time. A lot of the time, I will apply BLO without naphtha for the first coat, wait 24 hours and then apply several coats of BLO/Naphtha within a single day. But keep in mind that I live in Arizona, all finishes dry fast here – average humidity is 23%.

-- Matt, Arizona

View Rich's profile (online now)


4404 posts in 950 days

#6 posted 05-05-2017 05:02 AM

I’m in Tucson, Matt. I have BLO and naphtha in my shop and will definitely keep that in my back pocket for future test boards. Thanks so much for the tip.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View Gary's profile


1381 posts in 4685 days

#7 posted 05-05-2017 11:50 AM

Good looking cabinet.

-- Gary, Florida

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1137 days

#8 posted 05-05-2017 12:27 PM

Impressive build, and very nice looking!

View averagedadworkshop's profile


29 posts in 1612 days

#9 posted 05-05-2017 01:07 PM


-- "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2704 days

#10 posted 05-05-2017 02:13 PM


View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9040 posts in 2689 days

#11 posted 05-05-2017 02:37 PM

Very nice!

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3228 days

#12 posted 05-05-2017 02:40 PM

Matt, this is a beautiful piece and I love the design.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View CL810's profile


3923 posts in 3349 days

#13 posted 05-05-2017 03:48 PM

Great craftsmanship on display Matt!

What is the ratio of naptha with BLO? I’ve just about given up on oils with cherry and maple because of blotching. Do you think the thinning prevents/reduces blotching? Your finish looks gorgeous.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Matt Vredenburg's profile

Matt Vredenburg

193 posts in 3775 days

#14 posted 05-05-2017 04:49 PM

Hi CL810 – I mix it by eye, but I normally pour BLO into a container and then thin it using Naphtha by eye, maybe 60/40.

Regarding blotching of cherry, that resides on how you prepare the cherry or maple to accept oil. I attended a course with Jeff Jewett in Ohio and learned early on that apply a thin sealer coat of Shellac can be your friend. Jeff has some great finishing books and articles, and there’s a Fine Woodworking article called, “Finishing Cherry without Blotching” which could you help you as well.

Here’s my approach: I sand using sharp sandpaper (changing the sandpaper often to avoid dulling the surface). I use several orbital sanders (mainly use a Festool Rotex, but any sander will work as long as you have sharp sandpaper) starting with (sometimes 80 to flatten the work), 100, 120, 150 and then 180. After that, I hand sand (with the grain) the piece using 180. Between coats you can check how you’re doing by wiping the surface with a rag that has Naphtha on it – this is what your first coat will look like. Don’t be tempted to sand any further then 180 grit, because you’ll be buffing the surface if you use 220 and the oil won’t adequately penetrate – causing blotches.

I then apply a thinned coat of shellac (washcoat) or if you’re confident, apply a 50/50 ratio coat of BLO (washcoat) and Naphtha. I like to use shellac as the sealer coat, but make sure you thin it by eye using alcohol. If you’ve prepared the surface properly and checked it as you go using Naphtha, the 50/50 (BLO/Naphtha) coat should be fine.

Good luck.

-- Matt, Arizona

View majuvla's profile


14372 posts in 3228 days

#15 posted 05-05-2017 05:24 PM

So beautiful cabinet- can I call it Japaneese style cabinet, because it looks so ’’light’’ as Japaneese traditional houses or furniture.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

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