Advice on correcting shellac on cherry

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Forum topic by Bob Curry posted 01-07-2015 02:02 PM 1541 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bob Curry

3 posts in 1742 days

01-07-2015 02:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shellac sealcoat cherry add warmth finishing question

I finished a cherry jewelry box with Zinser Sealcoat shellac. As this is a dewaxed super blond shellac, the finish came out too light for my taste and I’d like to add more warmth to the color

Any idea’s on how to add more color without mottling the cherry figure and grain would be appreciated

A few of my thoughts are to add a coat of darker shellac? I thought of a glaze but don’t want to obscure the grain.

One complication is that I rubbed out the finish with steel wool and wax. So how do I remove the wax to add more finish?

Maybe I should leave it alone and let it darken with time?

-- Enjoy the Process

12 replies so far

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

1222 posts in 2740 days

#1 posted 01-07-2015 02:23 PM

The cherry will turn a beautiful color all by itself. Just let it sit. One can look inside the box and compare the colors as time passes. I have set pieces I have made outside and it speeds up the transformation.

-- Jerry

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2875 days

#2 posted 01-07-2015 02:26 PM

I agree with Jerry, just let it darken naturally. Place it in direct sunlight to speed up the process. I had a cherry board leaning up against my work table in the garage for a week, not even getting very much sunlight, but when I picked it up after a week, the top of the board (above the table height) was noticeably darker than the bottom.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View a1Jim's profile


117721 posts in 4082 days

#3 posted 01-07-2015 02:46 PM

Ditto on using the sun,just make sure you turn it so that it gets and equal tan. You could have used dye to add warmth to your cherry or even chemically darkening the cherry, the chemical is called potassium dichromate

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 3196 days

#4 posted 01-07-2015 02:49 PM


-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View bondogaposis's profile


5538 posts in 2857 days

#5 posted 01-07-2015 03:13 PM

You will not be able to improve on what will happen if you just leave it alone. Patience.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Craftsman on the lake

3012 posts in 3943 days

#6 posted 01-07-2015 03:42 PM

These guys are right.. i.e. I made new doors and veneered the old carcasses of the cabinets in my kitchen. The veneer was rolled up and the exposed part, outer layer of the roll was much darker than the hidden part in the role. I put it up on the end of a cabinet. Top half very light, bottom half very dark. Poly’d it all. It took about three months with just kitchen light but today the whole thing is the same color. I should have taken pictures.

It will turn 20% darker over a few weeks/months.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1457 posts in 3355 days

#7 posted 01-07-2015 05:17 PM

Put the project into the sunlight @ the UV’s will darken the cherry pretty quickly, Cherry will continue to darken under the stain while it ages, which can be a real PITA if you use stock from different trees from different growing conditions, because you’ll see different colors as they age. I built this table 4 years ago, and today it’s aged to a very warm color,

-- 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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Bob Curry

3 posts in 1742 days

#8 posted 01-07-2015 05:25 PM

Thanks to all of you. I was inclined to remove the wax and try to warm up the Cheery, but I will follow your advice and let the Sun do the work. Once again thank you all for your guidance. Next time I’ll dye the wood a little first.

I’ve attached a photo of the Chest. It’s a miniature of a Cherry blanket chest. Measures 15” wide X 8” dp X 7.5 ” high. Brusso 110 degree mortised hinges. Note this photo was before moldings were attached (top is held on with blue tape). This was my first shot at hand cut dovetails. While far from perfect, I’m ok with the results, and challenge myself to improve.

I found this design on the web

-- Enjoy the Process

View Kazooman's profile


1356 posts in 2458 days

#9 posted 01-07-2015 05:55 PM

A word of caution on potassium dichromate. Hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen. Appropriate personal protection is a must as is proper disposal of any residual material. You may recall the movie Erin Brockovich. That was based on an actual lawsuit claiming a cluster of cancers was caused by PG&E contaminating the local water supply with chromium 6. Sunlight is a much safer alternative!

View ddockstader's profile


172 posts in 3767 days

#10 posted 01-07-2015 08:14 PM

First of all, where on the web did you find the design? I need to make one like it and I really love the design. Secondly, if you still want to remove the wax to get closer to the shellac, mineral spirits will remove about any wax. I actually use Sealcoat and wax and then warm it with a heat gun to melt the wax into the wood. On cherry, for some reason, it actually bubbles the shellac and I have to buff it down with steel wool. But on other woods it leaves a nice soft finish.

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Bob Curry

3 posts in 1742 days

#11 posted 01-08-2015 12:14 AM

This is a link to a Popular Woodworking free download of the design

The only thing I would do differently is not use Titebound III for the glue. I found out that it has dark brown glue lines that are hard to hide.Titebond I or II don’t have this issue.

-- Enjoy the Process

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2875 days

#12 posted 01-08-2015 01:35 PM

I think you’ll be fine with the Titebond III. Once the cherry darkens, it’ll blend in better. I have a cherry drill bit box on my shop wall that I used TBIII on, and I don’t see any glue lines. Are your glue lines showing at the dovetails, or the panel glue-ups?

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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