Matching a dark cherry finish

I know it is a sin to talk about any colored finish on cherry in this group but I have to make a headboard to match some cherry furniture we bought. My Flexner book " Understanding Wood Finishing" talks about either using a gel stain to avoid the blotchy nature of cherry or to use a dye on maple as the grain is so similar. I can of course start doing experiments but I thought first I would see if anyone in this group has had a similar task to do and if so, how you did it.
TIA
Dick Snyder
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I know it is a sin to talk about any colored finish on cherry in this group but I have to make a headboard to match some cherry furniture we bought. My Bob Flexner book, "Understanding Wood Finishing" talks about either using a gel stain to avoid the blotchy nature of cherry or to use a dye on maple as the grain is so similar. I can of course start doing experiments but I thought first I would see if anyone in this group has had a similar task to do and if so, how you did it.
TIA
Dick Snyder
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Personally, I'd try to spur it on to a natural finish and not paint it or stain it.
Consider the real wood finish - it will continue to age for years.
This year match will match for a while. Next year it will stand out.
I have a 25 year old Grand Father clock in Cherry. It changes more and more glow and deeper color.
Martin
Dick Snyder wrote:

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On Wed, 7 Oct 2009 19:53:35 -0400, "Dick Snyder"

Have you tried "fuming" cherry with Ammonia? Makes the aged dark colour without the aging.
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Of course depending on the color you are matching it makes a huge difference on the approach. Lots of testing will be the only real answer.
1. If it tend towards dark, plum, wine, purpley type color then I would say find a gel stain. They are very similar to using a toned film finish because they are just ploy with pigment. Of course they are a pigment stain and will not leave as clear a look. I just did a test of black gel stain wash over some Sapele with a light coat of shellac first. I was just trying to blacken the grain. I did 1/2 of the board and the Sapele shimmers on the un-gelled side and has some nice black grain but looks muddy even with a minimal film of gel stain. Cheery isn't so shimmery so it won't suffer so much.
2. If you have a good lacquer spraying capability you could try the tinted film finish approach as suggested by swingman. You need to be very careful but if you start with a little lighter tone, you can add layers to build up to the darkness you want. I wouldn't go this route if you can't spray.
3. If you think it is just matching well aged cherry, you can try doing a lye treatment. Use Red Devil drain cleaner, good gloves and respirator. Longer and stronger mixes make darker faster. Then neutralize with a water and vinegar wash.
4. Using dye on Maple sounds like the most difficult but have never tried such. One tip on using dye from my experience is to go with water based and wet the wood first to help slow down the absorbtion. It makes it much more controllable how much color you lay down. Then you can do a few washes of lighter dye to build to the darkness you want.
This can be lots of fun experimenting. Swingmans formula sounds interesting. I have always just started with one of the red or brown trans tint colors and darkened with black or brown. Building up from primary colors sounds like fun.

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You can do advanced aging of wood, especially the ones containing tannins (oak, cherry, walnut, mahogany) using potassium di-chromate. It is a mucous irritant so use goggles and respirators (not pollen/ dust masks!). It's remarkably fast - instant - and not the least bid artificial considering that it goes on a clear, bright orange liquid. You mix powder into water. See better info on the BT3 Central forum in this article. http://www.bt3central.com/showthread.php?t '343
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Cool, I had seen this and other chemical techniques before and have been meaning to play with them. Thanks for the link, great info.

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I'm making a cherry entertainment center, though I don't plan on staining it. I'll apply linseed oil then coat with shellac before topcoating with a finish coat. I suppose you could use a tinted shellac to match the color you want, before topcoating with a finish coat.
One of my references is this site: http://www.finishwiz.com/cherry04.htm
Sonny
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Well that's pretty much the classic finish for Cherry.. Boiled linseed oil and garnet shellac and maybe some brown wax on top of the shellac to darken it slightly more.. I prefer to use a clear oil/varnish mix as the base coat.. There's several out there you can but or make your own. I'm more confident the mix will form a harder base coat than just "boiled" linseed oil.. Also in case you're not aware of it, don't put any vases etc on top of it for at least six months or more. The wood will darken naturally and if you have something covering a portion it, that part will not darken at the same rate and leave a visable spot on the wood.. Eventually it will catch up over time if you remove the vase but is a bit unnerving when it happens..
Bob Flexner has a new revised "Understanding Wood finishes" book out, which I think is one of the best books out on the topic.. good luck...

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Sorry.. I can see your original thread message now in Swingman's response.. my newsreader started with Sonny's.. so was responding to that without seeing original where you mention Flexner and are looking for a stain..

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Thanks for the website. While I am looking for a finish that is quite dark, this was a good reference and I have book marked it for future cherry projects.
Dick
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good articles. thx
shelly
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Dick Snyder wrote:

Since Tom Watson didn't jump in here, let me do it for him with a nugget of excellent info on getting that dark cherry color. This is from one of his previous posts on the subject:
<quote>
For about my last ten years in business I did almost nothing but build cabinets out of cherry.
What most of my customers thought of as "cherry" was the deep and dark color of cherry that was at least more than five years old.
There were some that could be educated to the idea that it starts out light and then darkens over time.
Most wanted that aged color immediately.
So, having a family to feed, I stained their cherry.
Here is the recipe for aged cherry using TransTint dyes in one gallon of nitro lacquer finish:
2 tsp medium brown. 2 tsp red. 1 tsp blue. 1 tsp yellow.
This gives you a deep red color without much brown.
If you want more brown, do the obvious.
Regards,
Tom Watson http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
</quote>
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
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On Thu, 08 Oct 2009 08:21:42 -0500, the infamous Swingman

--snip of his quote-- What he didn't say is that 5-10 years later, the crap is damnear black, as the cherry continues to darken under it. (Got pics of that, Tawmy?)
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very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands.
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Damn, but it's good to have you wrecking again. C-less!
ROFLMAO!
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On Sun, 01 Nov 2009 15:59:16 -0600, the infamous Dave Balderstone

Thanks, Dave. I perspirate that muchly.
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On Sun, 01 Nov 2009 13:51:46 -0800, Larry Jaques

You really don't understand this finishing thing too well.
Regards,
Tom Watson http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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On Sun, 01 Nov 2009 17:10:36 -0500, the infamous Tom Watson

Are you saying that under your special finish, that cherry does not continue to darken with age and sunlight? Gee Whillikers!
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Dick Snyder wrote:

Try doing a google search for:
Great wood finishes: a step-by-step guide to beautiful results By Jeff Jewitt
In Chapter 10 Jeff gives step by step instructions.
It looks like at least part of the book is on line but I'd suggest either the library or purchasing a copy. It's another good reference book.
(watch for word wrap in the link below)
http://books.google.com/books?id=Wg6I_eaZO8kC&pg=PA222&lpg=PA222&dq=jeff+jewitt+aged+cherry+finish&source=bl&ots=IqTyU2gUif&sig=UyjFaRMRVS_wp7maFuyRUIuzSog&hl=en&ei=wxvOStuGMcLDlAfFsoypCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#v=onepage&q=&f lse
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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