Help with how to glue up contrasting stained pieces for table

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Forum topic by Drumn2121 posted 05-09-2018 11:43 AM 1163 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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18 posts in 991 days

05-09-2018 11:43 AM

I have some friends that want a surfboard style coffee table with maple and dark cherry stripes. How can I stain and glue the dark cherry pieces to the maple and still get a good smooth finish? I know I won’t be able to sand once it’s stained but I also don’t want to stain after glue up in cases it bleeds over.

9 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2507 posts in 966 days

#1 posted 05-09-2018 11:58 AM

I guess the question comes to some people’s mind: why do you want to stain it ??
if it were my project, I would coax the client into using all natural woods that will
turn dark over time. (or accelerated darkening out in the UV sunlight). and no staining.
the customer may not always be right and they may not always get their way.
in my nautical world ~ holly and mahogany is a beautiful marriage of colors.
jus my Dos Centavos


-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View ScottM's profile


748 posts in 2950 days

#2 posted 05-09-2018 12:02 PM

I agree with John. Plus, any oil type of finish will also darken the cherry a bit.

View OSU55's profile


2651 posts in 2793 days

#3 posted 05-09-2018 12:10 PM

Use walnut instead of cherry, no stain required

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2798 days

#4 posted 05-09-2018 12:20 PM

There is really no need to stain the cherry. If you assemble it, then coat the whole thing with natural Danish oil it will yellow the maple some, but redden the cherry. Then in a few months the cherry will be noticeably darker as it darkens naturally with age.

Another option would be to coat the whole thing with seal coat shellac. Then you could mask off the maple pieces and coat just the cherry with a darker tinted shellac coat.

Or…just use a wood that is dark to begin with.


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

View bonesbr549's profile


1588 posts in 3870 days

#5 posted 05-09-2018 01:06 PM

Ok, as someone who works mostly in cherry and have had to deal with this, I can say how i did it. First I would not use stain at all. Use a dye. Reason is it’s just pigment, it stays on top if you fubar, sand it off do over. Stain sinks in and seals. Bad bad bad if you hav any bleed.

Now cherry will age and darken naturally and the contrast will develop. I’d just seal with good sealer of choice then do a few good top coats buff out and call it done.

If you absolutely want that 100 year old look to start with, then I would tape off (which in this case is easy as it’s all strait lines). I’d go to a local autobody supply store of off web get some good tape for pinstriping. Tape off the cherry. Seal with shellac. Pull the tape and shoot or wipe a dye. If your top coat is oil, use a water base dye. If your top coat is waterbase use alcohol dye.

I prefer to spray dye to get an even application. Since you sealed the clear wood the dye will wipe right off.

Apply your top coats and buff out. Done it a few times.

However, let your client know that if it’s just natrual it will not take long in sunlight for that cherry to darken.

This cabinet I made had the waterfall bubinga dyed and cherry left natural. I used this method i mentioned above. I wanted the bubinga to contrast against the cherry. The topcoat in this case is waterlox.

Over the years the cherry has darkened and its not as noticeable now, so it was probably wasted effort, but it’s still a great piece.


-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

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18 posts in 991 days

#6 posted 05-09-2018 04:06 PM

Thank you. I will bring it up to them and see what they say.

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2289 days

#7 posted 05-09-2018 04:13 PM

I don’t see a realistic plan with anything you have so far. No offense meant.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Drumn2121's profile


18 posts in 991 days

#8 posted 05-09-2018 04:34 PM

I live in Arizona so if I build it and leave it outside unprotected for a few weeks will it do anything to the maple? I want to keep the maple as light as possible.

View Drumn2121's profile


18 posts in 991 days

#9 posted 05-12-2018 02:16 AM

Bonesbr549 what dye would you recommend if I went that way for the cherry?

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