I pretty much work with clear coating.. Most of my clients prefer it, and if
they think they don't I convince them..
But I do have a cherry dining table to do that will need to be stained.. I
know cherry is known for blotchiness..
One solution is a pre stain treatment, and the other is gel stain..
I also will be spraying a clear coat of catalyzed varnish, which I prefer
not to color...
So just checking to see what folks here have done..
I pre-treated with a wood conditioner and then applied an old-
fashioned wipe-on oil stain. Get several small cans of reddish stain
from the same manufacturer. Sherwin Williams still sells oil stain.
Mix and try on scrap until you get what you are looking for. I had
"Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him." - Thomas
I shudder at the thought of staining cherry, but what must be ...
My technique on any "blotchy" wood is to put down a couple of coats of
dewaxed shellac and then mix a dye into the next coat. More "toning" than
"staining". Then overcoat with varnish or poly if hard wear (as a table
top) is expected.
Cherry darkens rapidly when exposed to sunlight.
Another alternative is to wash it with a sodium hydroxide
(caustic soda lye) solution. The darkness of the effect is
dependent on the strength of the solution. You can rinse
with white vinegar to neutralize the caustic, or just leave
it exposed to the air for a few days as residual sodium
hydroxide will react with carbon dioxide in the air to form
However, Sodium hydroxide is use to make meth-
amphetamine so it is now hard to buy. You can order
over the internet from people who sell soap making
I suggest starting with one tablespoon to a pint of water.
Mix and store the solution in a PLASTIC jar or bottle,
it attacks glass. Mix it with COLD water, it is exothermic
and will get hot on its own as it dissolves. Do not allow
the solution to come into contact with aluminum, or
your. Wear goggles and gloves to use it.
If that first solution does not darken the wood enough,
double the strength and try again.
The effect is nearly immediate and produces a color
basically identical to that of natural aging.
I wasn't present for the incident below, and only heard
about it later frommy gf.
My gf's cousin's ex-gf evidently did the same with her
clothes dyes. At dinner one night she served an
extremely sour and bitter bread pudding. She said
she probably mistook something that she used for
dying clothes for sugar. What I found particularly
disturbing is that she was unable to identify the
chemical. It is not just that she didn't know the
name, she (or so she said) find the container or
recall what it was supposed to be used for, which
makes me wonder if she was any more successful
at dying clothes than she was at cooking.
My guess would be that it was oxalic acid as it is
used dying fabrics, in dry granular form it looks like
sugar, and was once called 'bitter salts of lemon'
which would seem to agree with the description of
how the pudding tasted.
Fortunately the pudding was so unpalatable that
no one ate--much.
Friend of mine, an excellent Cajun cook (but apparently only when firing on
less than two six packs), mistook the cinnamon jar for the red pepper jar
and whipped up the first known instance of 'candied' boiled crawfish.
... I haven't been able to smell either with the same gusto since.
It was sodium hydroxide with aluminum flakes and a blue dye.
The reaction with aluminum is very exothermic-it was added to
help melt grease. I haven't seen it in stores for a couple of
Red Devil Brand _was_ pure lye.
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