Finishing Cherry

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Forum topic by Alongiron posted 11-27-2016 11:40 PM 1741 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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654 posts in 3746 days

11-27-2016 11:40 PM

Hello fellow Woodworkers

I am currently making a Cherry candle stand for my family exchange gift and want to try a different type of finish on it. Normally I am a Danish oil with shellac finish kinda guy but would like to “Expand” my options. I would really like some good options to pick from so please share with me your ideas.



-- Measure twice and cut once.....sneak up on it! Steve Lien

14 replies so far

View nomercadies's profile


590 posts in 3392 days

#1 posted 11-28-2016 01:46 AM

I must watch along to see what people say. Good topic. I have some air dried cherry from years and years ago.

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

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Jim Jakosh

26060 posts in 4159 days

#2 posted 11-28-2016 02:19 AM

Hi Steve. I love to start with Danish Oil because it make the grain “pop”. Lacquer would be a good finish coat over it or satin poly. Poly is very durable for the long run. I worry about shellac on tables where alcohol might get spilled..

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View bbasiaga's profile


1259 posts in 3048 days

#3 posted 11-28-2016 03:24 AM

Natural color danish oil is a great place to start with Cherry, IMO. I know you want something different, but consider maybe the GF High Performance water based topcoat. Super clear (no yellow tinge), hard as poly. Or, you could go with a garnet shellac first, then a top coat of some kind. I’ve never tried that, but there are some projects here that have done that and it really gives a deeper red to the cherry once its natural color comes in.

I have seen some folks using wax based finishes, but I would avoid that here since it would likely be damaged quickly by drips from the wax candle.

Spray can lacquer works well over a lot of stuff too.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

1272 posts in 3288 days

#4 posted 11-28-2016 12:20 PM

We used GF EnduroVar on a cherry doll cradle. The product has a slight amber tone to it and it made the cherry look great. The wood has yet to mature to its desired cherry color but I do not think the finish tone would effect the color outcome.
It is easy to apply. I followed the directions and the three recommended coats went on easily. It takes several days to fully cure and it is professed to be a very durable finish.

-- Jerry

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2774 posts in 3043 days

#5 posted 11-28-2016 12:47 PM

Try using dyes. Transtint/transfast and W.D. Lockwood are brands to research. I can age cherry successfully with them. You will need something for blotch control. Info about oils, poly, dyes.

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1701 days

#6 posted 11-28-2016 01:21 PM

Apply boiled linseed oil … sit it in the sun for a day or two … finish with bees-wax!

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1803 posts in 3903 days

#7 posted 11-28-2016 01:30 PM

Very nice work Steve, I love the form, I want to try my hand at one but don’t have a lathe. I use BLO and cover with WB Poly, see these projects, for the hall table I added a pic after it aged a few years.

Hall Table

Entertainment Cabinet

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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5978 posts in 3404 days

#8 posted 11-28-2016 01:40 PM

For table tops nothing beats polyurethane for durability. I like to thin it 50/50 with mineral spirits and wipe it on.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View RogerM's profile


807 posts in 3452 days

#9 posted 11-28-2016 02:24 PM

Suggest Linseed oil. Cure for at least 8 hours then seal it with Seal Coat (dilute shellac). After at least 8 hours rub out with steel wool (0000) the three coats of dilute polyurethane (1 part poly to 1 part mineral spirits). After 8 hrs, rubdown with steel wool and Finishing Wax and buff.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View RogerM's profile


807 posts in 3452 days

#10 posted 11-28-2016 02:27 PM

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View Alongiron's profile


654 posts in 3746 days

#11 posted 11-28-2016 02:36 PM

Thanks so much for the comments. I have a couple test pieces that I am going to try. One with BLO and WB wipe on Poly and another with a tung oil finish of 4 or 5 coats rubbed out.

Stay tuned!

-- Measure twice and cut once.....sneak up on it! Steve Lien

View andy_P's profile


433 posts in 4261 days

#12 posted 11-28-2016 05:32 PM


Another beautiful piece of work!!! Far be it for me to advise you on anything having to do with woodworking, but I might suggest you might want to consider using a spray lacquer on the lower part of the table after your coat of clear danish oil. It will simplify application. You can apply the oil to the entire piece but leave the top for a coat or two of General Finishes’ ARM-R-SEAL. It is an oil & urethane top coat and you can wipe on and not worry about brush strokes. It will give the top the protection you want and simplify application.

I know whatever you decide on, the piece will look beautiful. I wish I were on your Christmas list…...LOL

-- Wood is a gift from God/Nature that maintains its beauty forever via the hand of a woodworker.

View Nic's profile


119 posts in 4526 days

#13 posted 11-28-2016 05:56 PM

I love Cherry. I use General Finish, Enduro. Water based polly. spray on two coats. then I use abrolox and buff between coats until i get that unbelivevable smooth finish.

View bilyo's profile


1345 posts in 2156 days

#14 posted 11-30-2016 02:55 AM

Over the past several years, I have made a number of cherry pieces. I like to add or change the color slightly with stain and that is usually subject to blotching on cherry. I have found the best system for me is to start with natural danish oil. I think that the oil accepts stain better than a seal coat of shellac or something similar. If I’m going to use stain (and I usually do) I will not let it cure more than a day. It takes the stain better that way. I then use an oil based gel stain to get the color I want. Now, let the oil and stain cure for a couple of days or more. Because an oil base finish will tend pull some of the stain off during application, I may use a barrier coat of thinned shellac. For a finish, I have used BLO, Waterlox, and oil based poly. I like all of them, but poly is usually my go-to because of its durability.

Keep up the nice work!

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