Stain or No Stain?

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Forum topic by willie posted 01-14-2012 04:40 AM 1593 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View willie's profile


534 posts in 3333 days

01-14-2012 04:40 AM

I am building a TV stand out of cherry. It will be sitting next to a stereo cabinet made from mahogany and stained a dark mahogany color. I didn’t build the stereo cabinet, it was given to me. I rarely stain anything unless I’m trying to match an existing piece. Since cherry takes on a beautiful color on it’s own with time, I would prefer to let it darken on it’s own and just finish it with lacquer and no stain. The wife wants it dark to match the other cabinet. For just one 4X8X 3/4” sheet of cherry plywood and three 3/4X2X8’ pieces of cherry, I have $140.00 in it. I really hate to hide all that beautiful grain under a dark stain. What do you guys think? Stain or no stain?

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

8 replies so far

View jmos's profile


917 posts in 3248 days

#1 posted 01-14-2012 04:42 AM

No stain. I hate to ever stain cherry. But, the Wife is ALWAYS right.

-- John

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 3384 days

#2 posted 01-14-2012 05:39 AM

All here will tell you to never stain cherry, but none of them is married to your wife :-)

So unless you can convince her otherwise…

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3953 days

#3 posted 01-14-2012 05:40 AM

In general, I have always been an anti-stain guy. However, I have been softening on that position just a little lately.

Some stains change the color very little. Yet, they help bring out the grain. I’m starting to like stains like that. Example – Golden Oak darkens natural oak just a little. At the same time it can really help bring out the grain.

It sounds like, in your case, the desire is for a dark stain. You are right that a dark stain can actually hide the grain. If it were me, I would resist applying any stain that hides the grain. OTOH, as John said, the wife is always right.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View a1Jim's profile


118142 posts in 4456 days

#4 posted 01-14-2012 05:56 AM

There are a couple of ways to change cherry without way is to have it in direct sunlight. Using this technique you have to make sure you get equal exposure or the darkened color will not be uniform ,kind of like falling asleep in the sun your burnt on one side and not the other side. Another approach is to use Potassium dichromate it chemically changes the color of cherry and other woods ,you can do a search on the web to get more info on it. Both of these approaches darken the wood as if it had aged naturally.


View wisno's profile


88 posts in 3890 days

#5 posted 01-14-2012 05:56 AM

What if you try to stain and finish a piece of wood panel and show to your wife.
it will help you to make some further discussion about your idea.
And then finally, your customer is always right.

Good luck


View Woodknack's profile


13503 posts in 3259 days

#6 posted 01-14-2012 09:54 AM

I usually use dye instead of stain. Dye won’t hide the grain and it’s easier to apply. As for changing the color, which is more important, the plywood or your wife… only you can answer that!

-- Rick M,

View willie's profile


534 posts in 3333 days

#7 posted 01-15-2012 05:10 AM

I found some older cherry that I had from old project. I has aged nicely and the color is good. After showing the wife, she agrees. NO STAIN!!! I try to never stain anything. It drives me nuts when someone wants me to stain oak to look like walnut, or put oak stain on pine to make it look like oak. If you want it to look like it is made out of a specific kind of wood, then just make out of that kind of wood. I like the natural color and grain patterns of wood and can’t see doing anything to cover that up.
I also disagree with the antique people that want to leave nasty, black, and cracked finish on old furniture. The person that built the furniture wanted us to see the wood and what they have done with it, not the finish. When a finish gets old and hides the beauty of the piece, it’s time to refinish. If I find a piece that is worth a lot of money I wouldn’t mess with it but none of my stuff falls into that category!

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View semi75's profile


78 posts in 3779 days

#8 posted 01-15-2012 05:22 AM

I’m glad it worked out, she made a wise decision.
I disagree however on not staining oak, I hate the look of oak without stain. Maybe it is because it is so overused or my distase for my “natural golden oak cabinets” but I think oak needs all the help it can get.

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