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Question about cherry wood aging

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Forum topic by skogie1 posted 09-03-2018 11:59 PM 887 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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skogie1

120 posts in 1871 days


09-03-2018 11:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cherry shellac glaze aging oxidation

I’ve just finished a headboard made of cherry and I used to three different planks to achieve the size needed. They are matched up nicely, but there is more color variation between them than I would like at the moment. My question is simple: If I just let the natural aging process darken the boards, will they all reach the same level of darkness or will the lighter boards always be lighter? Thanks in advance.

If the lighter boards will always be lighter than I will look to glazing. I have finished it with hand-rubbed shellac at the moment. So if you have any glazing comment feel free to share them. Thanks.


15 replies so far

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msinc

567 posts in 1011 days


#1 posted 09-04-2018 01:31 AM

I mess with a lot of wild black cherry. I do know this…nothing darkens it faster than direct sunlight. I don’t know if it will work as fast or even the same if the wood has some sort of finish on it. But I will tell you this cherry that is milled, dried and made into something and finished and kept out of the sun can take years to darken the same amount as one week in the sun. As far as boards being lighter or darker, I don’t know, seems like it depends on why they are different to begin with. If the boards are from different trees or different parts of the tree they might never get the same shade…if they are different because one was darkened in the sunlight while the others were covered…they might catch up and even out.

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TungOil

1329 posts in 1003 days


#2 posted 09-04-2018 02:05 AM

Cherry will darken over time, even after finish has been applied. Assuming you sanded all the boards before you applied shellac and they still are different colors, i suspect it is color variations in the boards used. Not uncommon with cherry.

If you have the equipment to spray, you can topcoat with a toned finish and that will help even out the color but will not eliminate the variability. Your best bet might be to sand back the shellac to bare wood and apply a stain to even out the color before you finish it.

Or, you can accept the fact that you are working with a natural material and some color variations should be expected. That’s what I would do personally….

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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Rich

4979 posts in 1097 days


#3 posted 09-04-2018 03:50 AM


Or, you can accept the fact that you are working with a natural material and some color variations should be expected. That’s what I would do personally….

- TungOil

+1

-- There are 10 types of people—those who understand binary, and those who don’t

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OSU55

2403 posts in 2497 days


#4 posted 09-04-2018 12:19 PM

Cherry takes years to age naturally with a good finish on it.

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Fred Hargis

5741 posts in 3001 days


#5 posted 09-04-2018 06:54 PM


Or, you can accept the fact that you are working with a natural material and some color variations should be expected. That’s what I would do personally….

- TungOil

+1

- Rich

+2. Even had you carefully and perfectly matched the color, it would be different in short order. Over time, ti will all get quite a bit darker, though there’s no guarantee that it will all be the same darkness.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Rich

4979 posts in 1097 days


#6 posted 09-04-2018 07:18 PM

Here’s a quote from an excellent book that describes why cherry is so unpredictable:

“You never can count on any two shipments of cherry being quite the same in either color or texture. Nor can you ever completely count on its consistency from board to board within a given shipment. While one board may display the classic flesh-pink color and subtly intricate figure that is most common to this species, another will reveal a noticeably wavy curl in the grain. The next may be peppered with jet-black gum pockets, while still another will be slightly coarser textured, perhaps even flaunting decidedly greenish or chartreuse highlights. And if you’re tempted to blame all of this inconsistency on sloppy handling and sorting at the mill, you’d probably be wrong. In fact, much of the varied lumber in each shipment you receive actually may have come from the same log.”

Excerpt From: Taunton Press. “Woodworking Wisdom & Know-How.” iBooks.

-- There are 10 types of people—those who understand binary, and those who don’t

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BurlyBob

6497 posts in 2773 days


#7 posted 09-04-2018 07:52 PM

How would natural Danish oil affect color before and after a finish? It’s something I’ve kicked around but have yet to try.

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splintergroup

2913 posts in 1730 days


#8 posted 09-04-2018 09:20 PM

I always let my cherry projects spend a week in the sun as raw wood before applying the finish. Unless the wood is taken from the same board (and the same area of the board), it never quite exactly matches.

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

1222 posts in 2742 days


#9 posted 09-04-2018 10:34 PM

Take a look at this. We used Waterlox OSF. no time in the sun.

-- Jerry

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Gerald Thompson

1222 posts in 2742 days


#10 posted 09-04-2018 10:36 PM

The cradle has darkened some in the past 3 weeks just from being in the house.

-- Jerry

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newwoodbutcher

794 posts in 3358 days


#11 posted 09-05-2018 12:42 AM

I have darkened cherry successfully many times with Potassium Dichromate, It looks like 10 year old cherry in one day. Toxic stuff in liquid form though. Make sure to use it out doors with a respirator, gloves etc. I typically use Liberon Furniture oil after the PD dries to pop the figure. It’s the best cherry combination I have found.

-- Ken

View skogie1's profile

skogie1

120 posts in 1871 days


#12 posted 09-05-2018 12:52 AM

Thanks everyone. I decided to just leave it as is.

View Steve's profile

Steve

1579 posts in 1090 days


#13 posted 09-05-2018 01:46 PM

Post some pics of it. I’d love to see the headboard

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3088 posts in 2856 days


#14 posted 09-05-2018 05:45 PM

Natural cherry with all of the color differences and grain differences are what makes it such a popular choice. Natural Watco or Seal-a-Cell from General Finishes are good choices to accent the grain and color. A little time in the sun and it darkens into the deep red that looks so nice.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2466 days


#15 posted 09-05-2018 06:02 PM


Or, you can accept the fact that you are working with a natural material and some color variations should be expected. That’s what I would do personally….

- TungOil

+1

- Rich

+2

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

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