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Cherry kitchen cabinet finish

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Forum topic by jsvenson11 posted 05-01-2020 02:02 AM 313 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jsvenson11

16 posts in 1121 days


05-01-2020 02:02 AM

Topic tags/keywords: high performance arm-r-seal cherry finishing watco tung oil general finishes enduro var blotch control

This is a general fishing expedition for thoughts on finishing cherry. I’ve read several of the posts here and elsewhere but thought I’d throw some ideas out there. In the past, I’ve generally just done three coats of flat Arm-R-Seal and left it at that.

For a full set of quarter sawn cherry kitchen cabinets, I’ll be trying some other options. What I’m trying to achieve is:

(1) a “natural” cherry look;
(2) something that makes the grain pop;
(3) slow the darkening of cherry, which I’ve found Arm-R-Seal dones well because of UV inhibitors (I think);
(4) avoid blotching;
(5) a low sheen like flat or satin.
(6) relatively low-ish VOC

Here are a few options I’m considering with the finishes listed in order of application. I will probably try several and post the results. Curious on any thoughts

(1) Garnet shellac and flat General Finishes High Performance Poly
(2) Blonde shellac and flat General Finishes High Performance Poly
(3) Watco Tung Oil (not Danish), sanding sealer, and General Finishes High Performance Poly
(4) Sanding sealer and satin Arm-R-Seal
(5) General Finishes flat Enduro-Var
(6) Sanding sealer and flat Enduro-Var
(7) and maybe Watco Tung Oil, sanding sealer, Enduro-Var, just for kicks

I’m avoiding BLO because I have seen that darken more than I like on cherry. In lieu of that, I was thinking of trying Watco Tung Oil (not the Watco Danish Oil). Watco claims that its tung oil finish will not darken over time and the application method makes me think it may actually have some tung oil in it.

The attached pic is an earlier test. From the top down, the finishes are Minwax Satin Oil Poly (not quite as dark as it looks), flat GF High Performance, sanding sealer and flat GF High Performance, sanding sealer and Minwax Satin Oil Poly. The GF HP obviously came out to pale and washed out, though the sanding sealer helped that a little.


9 replies so far

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3685 posts in 2811 days


#1 posted 05-01-2020 03:02 AM

I think Cherry will darken over time no matter what finish you use. For a kitchen cabinet where there could be food booger’s I would use Generals finish. I don’t know if they still sell water based lacquer it’s what I used to use a lot.
Good Luck

-- Aj

View SMP's profile

SMP

3456 posts in 919 days


#2 posted 05-01-2020 03:09 AM

I personally like the Liberon Tung Oil Finish better than the Watco. I think Liberon actually has some Tung oil in theirs. Or Waterlox. Or you could use actual pure tung oil and then coat it with ARS or whatever after letting it dry.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

4170 posts in 2508 days


#3 posted 05-01-2020 12:26 PM

I put my typical small project Cherry finishing schedule in this project post:
Click for details

Anytime I need color balance cherry lumber, I use NGR dye stain. Used full strength it adds ~5 years to aging process.

For large cabinet projects that don’t need durability of Polyurethane or post catalyzed lacquer/varnish, have used pre-cat lacquer as top coat in same recipe. Though have noticed the pre-cat added more yellow tones on my oldest projects. If goal is keep a lighter pink cherry color, good luck – have never figured out how to stop cherry from getting darker.

Brushing/wiping Arm-R-Seal on large projects is very time consuming, and prone to streaking if you work slow or have high ambient temperatures/low humidity. Highly suggest choosing a top coat you can spray.

IMHO – GF HP is too soft and not durable enough for kitchen cabinets with kids. Even GF Commercial Enduro finishes are wimpy older generation of WB coating. Highly suggest Renner 2K WB poly, Gemini WB poly, or Target Coatings WB; if you want low VOC top coat. You will need to step up your finishing game, and visit a commercial wood finishing supplier to get these better materials. IME – Once you experience professional grade coating performance, you will never buy any Minwax branded products again.

PS – Your test samples are showing the dreaded blotch with all the oil finishes and with sanding sealer. IMHO oil based finish and cherry is recipe for disaster, even when you use blotch coat. Also looks like you need a different blotch control ‘sanding sealer’? The one used is not working.

As with all finishing suggestions, There are many ways to reach similar results. so YMMV.

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6844 posts in 3507 days


#4 posted 05-01-2020 12:34 PM

The garnet shellac would do well as a first coat, then top coat with something. I think given your desire to stay low VOC, I’d consider GF’s Enduro Poly, though I’ve had very good results with Enduro Var as well. Ditto what AJ said, the cherry will darken over time without help from anything…if you can’t live with that you may be sitting yourself up for some disappointment.

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

View jsvenson11's profile

jsvenson11

16 posts in 1121 days


#5 posted 05-01-2020 04:39 PM

Fred, have you had any problems with EnduroVar blotching? I’ve read here that some people have had some issues with that, I’m assuming from the oil modified part of the finish. I was planning on doing a test with sanding sealer then Enduro Var but thought that might also prevent the Enduro from bringing out the grain. Garnet shellac with a water based poly is what I’m leaning toward, but curious to try the Enduro — I’ve never used it

My post may have been confusing, I understand cherry will darken no matter what, I’d just like to slow it down a little. I made a cherry desk with maple inlay about 10 years ago, finished with 3 coats of Arm-R-Seal. It has definitely darkened but not as much as I would have expected.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6844 posts in 3507 days


#6 posted 05-01-2020 05:05 PM

I’ve used Enduro Var on white oak more than any woods that are considered blotch-prone, so I guess I haven’t seen it cause blotching. I have some Enduro Var on hand and would be happy to put some on a scrap of cherry, then post a pic. But I’m not sure it would be useful….even so I’ll give it shot the afternoon if I get time and post back. I may have a scrap of maple around to try as well.

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

View jsvenson11's profile

jsvenson11

16 posts in 1121 days


#7 posted 05-01-2020 06:03 PM

CaptainKlutz, thanks for your comments, very helpful.


IMHO – GF HP is too soft and not durable enough for kitchen cabinets with kids. Even GF Commercial Enduro finishes are wimpy older generation of WB coating. Highly suggest Renner 2K WB poly, Gemini WB poly, or Target Coatings WB; if you want low VOC top coat. You will need to step up your finishing game, and visit a commercial wood finishing supplier to get these better materials. IME – Once you experience professional grade coating performance, you will never buy any Minwax branded products again.

Our kitchen will be pretty light use, no kids to fend with. I will check out some of the Target brand WB finishes but would those actually be harder than GF HP or Enduro? My understanding is that most WB finishes are fairly similar. For the other brands, my problem is that I’m in Anchorage, Alaska. Even for GF, only one place sells it locally. Shipping stuff in can double the cost here.


PS – Your test samples are showing the dreaded blotch with all the oil finishes and with sanding sealer. IMHO oil based finish and cherry is recipe for disaster, even when you use blotch coat. Also looks like you need a different blotch control sanding sealer ? The one used is not working.

Yeah, I used a cheap sanding sealer from a box store but will use zinser sanding sealer/dewaxed shellac next and may try CN blotch control. I’m okay with some blotching and actually like it. The degree I was getting in my sample boards was okay with me, I just dont want the huge dark areas next to light. The wood I’m using is pretty high quality and consistent grain (QS) so I don’t think it’ll be too much of a problem

View jsvenson11's profile

jsvenson11

16 posts in 1121 days


#8 posted 05-01-2020 06:12 PM

CaptainKlutz, thanks for your comments, very helpful.

Our kitchen will be pretty light use, no kids to fend with yet. I will check out some of the Target brand WB finishes but would those actually be harder than GF HP or Enduro? My understanding is that most WB poly finishes are fairly similar in terms of hardness and durability. For the other brands like Renner and Gemini, my problem is that I’m in Alaska. Even for GF, only one place sells it locally. Shipping stuff in can double the cost here. Our one local woodshop doesn’t sell any finishes and neither do the paint stores. Kind of a pain

Regarding the blotching, yeah, I used a cheap sanding sealer from a box store but will try Zinser sanding sealer/dewaxed shellac next and may try CN blotch control. I’m okay with some blotching and actually like it. The degree I was getting in my sample boards was okay with me, I just don’t want the huge dark areas next to light. The wood I’m using is pretty high quality and consistent grain (QS cherry) so I don’t think it’ll be too much of a problem

I’m going to do a large test board with six or seven different recipes and see what looks good. I’ll post results, but it might be a week or two

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6844 posts in 3507 days


#9 posted 05-01-2020 06:35 PM

OK, I have the pics and did both cherry and maple with the Enduro Var. To my eyes, it looks like blotch on the cherry, but not any on the maple; judge for yourself. One thing I noticed, I was reading the can and they advise to never put Enduro Var on sanding sealer (or shellac). A lot of times this is just a big CYA, and may be so this time….but I thought I’d mention it.

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

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