The Sin of coloring cherry


I'm having this moral dilema...
Cherry darkens with age but some folks just aren't patient enough to wait and pursue means to hasten said darkening.
Alternatives include:     * exposure to sunlight     * lye solution     * stain (dye or pigment?).
My question is, why is it considered OK to darken with lye but not stain? Philosophically, practically, or otherwise.
'Cause, ya see...
Horror of horrors, I'm, ever so slightly, considering, dare I say it, Staining Cherry (ducking..., peering..., no lightning bolt yet...).
Seems like lye is nasty stuff and it also seems that lye and stain are both artificial means of darkening the wood. Yet, one seems to be "approved", the other greatly frowned upon.
I love the look of natural cherry, even before it darkens. I never, never use stain ('ceptin' on decks and fences). But, the devil is tempting me...
Unfortunately, for the project I'm undertaking, there are 2 issues. 1) The darker cherry is a better match to the rest of the kitchen elements. 2) I'm impatient.
BTW, it's the UV in sunlight that hastens the darkening, correct? So, I set a couple of pieces of cherry in a windowsill to test the process (how long, how dark, etc.). Doesn't seem very effective. Musta gotten a defective piece of cherry wood, right? ;--) It finally dawned on me that these lovely new windows I had installed have UV blocking as a feature.
Thanx Renata
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Snip

Stain is more like paint as compared to a process that darkens the wood but leaves no residue behind. Naturally the stain covers up much of the woods color and grain.
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Leon wrote:

So use dye.
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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Probably not too practical unless you can leave the piece out in the midday sun in the summer for a week. That doesn't fit well with the "I'm impatient" thing.

I think this is for the most part going to simply accellerate the same/similar chemical process that the Oxygen+UV+time gives you. I would expect that further natural darkening would be less after the lye treatment.

Pigment accludes grain ... I vote no.
Dye will make it darker, it can give you a different tone, and the wood will continue to darken naturally. That may or may not be desirable to you.
-Steve
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Lye treatment simply accelerates the changes that take place naturally through exposure to air and light, compressing years into minutes. Stain obscures the grain of the wood.
The lye solutions that are used to color cherry are fairly dilute (on the order of one tablespoon per pint of water), and you need not fear them. Just the same, wear rubber gloves and eye protection. Even dilute lye in the eyes is Major Bad News.
Other alternatives include a tanning bed (if the piece is small), and ammonia fuming. There have been a few posts here in the last couple years regarding fuming cherry; Google is your friend. Haven't tried it myself yet, but one of the people who posted about it (David Eisan, IIRC) also posted a few pics at abpw that looked absolutely beautiful.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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>>My question is, why is it considered OK to darken

To me the color change imparted by lye isn't as pleasing as the natural aging color. Sort of like leaving a piece unfinished for a while, you can't get the same brilliance you can if you finish before surface oxidation has grayed the whole.
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If you dye/stain, it will continue to darken. If you lye, it will not, since you are advancing the normal process. I had a customer who wanted to match an Ethan Allen "painted" dark cherry piece. I tried lye and found it was much too irregular to work. Neither dye nor stain gave the right look; but I found medium dye and medium stain together looked good.
For myself, I leave it uncolored. It is so much prettier that way.
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Get a used tanning booth and become a professional cherry darkening service? *lol*

Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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You'd make more moeny darkening people. :-)
brian
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but cherry isn't going to sue you if it gets skin cancer...
Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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I almost always use Watco cherry danish oil on my cherry wood.
It looks perfectly natural and it gives the cherry a nice rich look immediately. Looks great. Over top of that you can put whatever you want (if you want anything). For pieces that won't be getting a lot of ware, I'll use a high quality wax. Pieces that will get a good amount of ware, I'll use a good wipe on polly.
Looks great and I sure don't think of it as cheating.
Brian

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Therein lies the answer.
I am going to take the rest of this day to re-gather my composure before I suggest any punishment.
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Renata wrote:

The cherry trim I made for my floors darkened in about 3-5 days when set outside in the summer. Would probably have been faster if I had put them where the sun hit all day but I just put them on the south in the sun and moved them as needed, but they still were in the shaded several hours.
All glass reduces UV, especially UVA, but the amount of reduction depends on the type of glass and other factors. The more layers, the more thickness, the more reduction. The color change that occurs in a short time is just a very thin surface film.
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I've heard that black latex paint works well on cherry.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
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The Mike Marlow entity posted thusly:

Is that you, Norm?
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<LOL>
ONLY if you scuff it up with a 36 grit beltsander, to give it some 'tooth'.
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but you'd tear up the sanding belt on all the "temporary" brads.. Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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There we go! When I saw the title, I was sure Norm was at it again.
dcm
(Is beating up on Norm the wood equivalent of Godwin's law?)
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wrote:

<<<<<<<<<<<<<< SNIP >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I'm one of the folks who has "fumed" cherry with ammonia. I posted some pics a while ago. May still have them and the method I used if you're interested. Much easier and much more controllable than lye - I tried that too.
Regards.
Tom
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Thanx for all the advice and information. Something(s) in the thread seems to have swayed me as I may have repented and now am leaning toward leaving it natural. Not naked though - gonna experiment w/BLO followed by Deft varnish (which I hope to spray w/my nifty new Apollo bought from the "savings" of doing this myself, seasoned with the lesson learned from brushing the finish last time around)..
BTW, this is for kitchen cabinets.
Thanx again Renata
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