I've just about finished my first project in Cherry, a Stickly nightstand,
and need to determine how I will finish it. The large pieces are not yet
assembled, so that should make finishing easier. I definately don't want
to stain the cherry, and instead prefer to let it age naturally. What
finish do you recommend that is simple, unobtrusive, and that won't
interfere with the natural color change process. I've used clear shellac
on other (non-cherry) pieces before, but don't know how that would look in
this situation. Whatever suggestions I get, I'll end up making a test
board first. I'm just looking for a place to start.
The finish should be simple, because based on my past experience I have a
tendency to spend far far to long on finishing out of some crazy desire to
have things perfect.
Any of the varieties of Tried and True oils make excellent choices for
cherry, providing you DON'T want a film finish.
Rubbed out shellac (with wax) on cherry is beautiful, and should provide
for sufficient protection for a nightstand.
And there my experience with finishing cherry ends...
I have used Watco clear oil on a couple of cherry stands. It looks quite
nice and leaves the cherry looking like cherry. After all this is why i
chose to use it in the first place. After a couple of applications and wipe
downs, I put a coat of Watco satin wax on. They do however get "thirsty"
every now and then so I re-oil them and apply another coat of wax.
You can use any finish you want to use. The question you should be
asking yourself is how much protection will the piece need for
reasonable expected daily use. THEN you pick one of the finishes that
fits the protection parameters.
A finish is, first and foremost, to protect the wood. Looking pretty is
a desired secondary requirement.
If it looks pretty but doesn't provide enough protection it won't look
pretty for long.
if you do not need the protection of a sealed surface I would just go
with oil - either Danish or pure Tung. You can't mess these up and,
to maintain, you simply rub in some more. A nightstand doesn't have
to stand the same wear and tear of a kitchen table for example so an
oil finish with perhaps a wax rub out would allow the beauty of the
wood to come through with an easy to maintain finish.
The beauty of the piece will be a function of how much work you put
into rubbing in the oil and sanding/polishing after the oil hardens.
This is my favorite way to finish cherry.
You can check out some of my pieces on my website for examples.
<g> that 'thing' is called a 'Resp-O-Rator'. It may look weird but it
is actually a very good dust filter that works much better than a dust
mask, especially if you have a beard and glasses. Dust doesn't seep
around it and my glasses don't fog up.
The filter cartridges are located behind your head so last longer
since they are further away from the heavy dust. Like I said, looks
weird but sure works well.
That's why I thought it was cool -- I also have the beard problem. I thought
about one of those full face masks with the belt-battery air supply, but
they're pretty steep. How do you keep your nose closed?
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll try that on some scrap and see how I like
it. I've actually not used oil on anything before - this is the first
piece I've built where a protective finish is not as high of a priority as
a good looking one.
just be sure to follow the specific instructions with the product. If
it tells you to flood the surface, wait 15 minutes, flood again, wait
30 and then wipe off - it's for a good reason - oil penetrates to
bring out the natural beauty of the wood. Let the product penetrate
at the right pace. Let it harden according to recommendations, sand
with fine grit sandpaper, pads, or steel wool and repeat as often as
necessary. Other than that it's pretty simple.
Keep doing this until the wood looks the way you want or it doesn't
absorb oil any more. I much prefer the feel of wood done this way
than any plastic coated piece...
For a small enough project (nightstand would qualify), I have had good
luck with Behlen's Polymerized Tung Oil Varnish from Woodworker's supply.
For large projects (like the entertainment center I'm building), I'm using
danish oil followed by Watco clear wiping poly.
On Mon, 01 Nov 2004 21:49:17 -0800, Fly-by-Night CC
Heh heh heh. I love it when ya talk dirty, Owie. ;)
I believe he said "natural", not "aged", though. Fuming
would darken that puppy in a heartbeat. (But at least it
wouldn't be RBS, wot?)
Some folks are worried about -= PROTECTION =- for some reason.
I did an oak dining set in Watco, did NOT fill the pores, and
it looked like new for years...with daily use.
I Watcoed Mumsy's front door (West-facing, SoCal sun daily)
every 6 months (half an hour job) for several years and it
held up well. The porch was shielded from rain, but no
special UV treatment was needed. I redid the door when I
noticed it fading a bit. She couldn't tell the difference
until I was done.
There were weathered oak towel racks and hooks in the bathroom
when I moved into this house. I cleaned one, rubbed a couple
coats of Waterlox on it, scuffed it with maroon scotchbrite,
and waxed it with Johnson's paste wax. I hang my towel on it
daily in that wet environment and it still looks like new.
I simply don't understand this fanatical fear or need for
-= PROTECTION =- that some folks have. Maybe it's just a
sales buzzword for Minwhacked. Cause fear = sell more junk.
It has been my experience that most finishes will work in
about 90% of applications.
"Given the low level of competence among politicians,
every American should become a Libertarian."
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