Trouble staining cherry

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Hi all,
I know we shouldn't be staining cherry, but SWMBO believes otherwise. I'm building my first set of kitchen cabinets, and I need the cherry to come out with a dark slightly reddish stain, like this: http://preview.tinyurl.com/6rxp85
All my work so far is with a test piece, so I haven't damaged anything ;)
Of course, my first attempts with various stain colors blotched like crazy. I tried some standard Minwax pre-stain conditioner, and that didn't help much at all.
Then I tried shellac. If I sand the shellac lightly, then I can't get the stain very dark, but the blotching is minimal. If I sand the shellac more heavily, the blotching is a lot worse, but I can get it dark enough with two coats of stain.
The stains I'm using are standard oil-based Minwax "Finish" stains. For some reason, they named their stain as "finish" when the water- based stains became popular. They now call water-based stains "stain," and oil-based stain "finish" O_o
Anyway, does anyone have a simple finishing schedule that will turn out a satin to semi-gloss dark-stained finish on cherry?
Thanks, Mike
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Mike Reed wrote:

--
Froz...



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I made a cherry coffee table for someone who felt the same way as your wife. I used a gel stain from Bartley. The color I used was Pennsylvania Cherry, but you would have to test to find what you want. Rockler used to carry it, but I believe they now carry General Finishes. Gel stains in general are designed to reduce blotchiness.
todd
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SWMBO correction: we're looking for this lighter finish http://preview.tinyurl.com/6rg6tj (I still can't get this dark without blotching)
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Sorry for the late reply.
Try using Lye. Get some Red Devil lye. It is sold as powder at hardware stores. Mix some up with warm water. Paint the Cherry. See a few years worth of darkening occur in an instant.
Vary the strength and exposure time. Lye is dangerous and caustic. Use good gloves, respirator, goggles. Neutralize the wood after a few seconds or a few minutes depending on strength of lye mixture using 1/2 and 1/2 water and vinegar.
Careful. Lye will deteriorate the wood if too strong. Great stuff.

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On Sun, 30 Nov 2008 06:05:04 -0800 (PST), Mike Reed

Did you explain to SWMBO that cherry darkens naturally with age to a patina that can not be applied? Any stain won't look as good. Like pine, cherry blotches very easily. You can use a gel stain and apply a shellac spit coat before the stain. Tung oil will give you excellent results you won't regret. Get more test pieces.
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Mike Reed wrote:

I use transtint dyes for most coloring these days. Start with a spit coat of dewaxed shellac (1# cut). Then you can add a couple drops of transtint red to a pint of 2# shellac. Add amount of red to taste. Then you can add more shellac or poly/oils as you like.
That said, the photos show what appears to be naturally darkened cherry. As Phish said, no more is necessary.     mahalo,     jo4hn
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If you have paid the money for cherry - and have to have it aged now - then get out some lye water and try that. Use a scrap to verify function and verify strength needed.
The lye brings out the color IIRC. Long time used to speed up or match a repair or splice.
Martin
Mike Reed wrote:

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See if she likes what you get when you swab the cherry with a double application of:
Mixed together 1/3 shellac (1# cut I believe, or Zinsser Seal Coat) 1/3 BLO 1/3 turpentine
One of the regulars' (Swingman? Nailshooter?, ...?) recipe, given when I was havin' a heck of a time with straight BLO not drying fast enough.
Renata
On Sun, 30 Nov 2008 06:05:04 -0800 (PST), Mike Reed

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"Renata" wrote

IIRC, Robert (nailshooter) ... when it comes to finishing, I'm in kindergarten, Robert's outta grad school.
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There's a lot of wiggle room here to adjust the proportions. There's a version of this called 40 - 40 - 20Mixed together 40% shellac 40% BLO 20% turpentine
Question: In a formula like this, is there much difference in using real turpentine vs. paint thinner?
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KIMOSABE wrote:

YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! <G>
BTW, Why would you cut the turpentine in favor of more oil? What do you see improved?
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Good question. This is the only version I've used, and that was pre 1970, so I don't remember anything detailed about it. I'll write to a friend who may make a reasonable guess at the formula. I'll see what he can remember about it.
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KIMOSABE wrote:

I ask because I use the 33/33/33 mix as a colorant under water based lacquer on most of my work. After using gallons of the stuff, I can't imagine much good coming from more oil, only an increase in drying time and a possibility of oil bleeding from pores.
I call it "Robert's Blend", as he told me about it. <G>
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OK. You've got me convinced. I may not even have the right formula. My friend couldn't remember the mix we used.
Based on an earlier reply of yours, you've got me interested in turpentine.
I started thinking about your emphatic response that paint thinner could not be substituted for turps here. Not that I was about to try it, but it's always nice to find economical alternative.
Paint thinner is a good polar solvent so it's fine in oil based paints, but in this formula it wouldn't work for the shellac. If shellac is thinned with alcohol, it must be somewhat polar. So we've got a mixing-oil-with-water kind of problem going. I Googled around and found out that turpentine will hold them both. Neat trick. (oil and alcohol, not oil and water.)
Do you think all the turpentine evaporates off or does some of it become a constituent in the finish?
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KIMOSABE wrote:

Be aware that there is a petroleum based product called "Turps" that is not pure pine turpentine. Don't confuse them.

I have no idea. I don't use it as a "finish", as I doubt it would offer much protection, and it doesn't provide an even sheen. If I wanted sheen, I'd overcoat with plain shellac. If I didn't, I'd simply danish oil the piece.
The 33/33/33 mix is a very fast drying wipe-on sealer that colors the wood nicely and greatly reduces grain raising of water based lacquer.
I can overcoat it quickly without worrying about the oil screwing up the WB product. The same can not be said for straight oil or "natural" stains. I have to wait many days or add an extra step of dewaxed shellac to avoid problems.
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KIMOSABE wrote:

Trust your nose.
Paint thinner is s......o generic.
Turps OTOH.........
There is just something about the smell.
Lew
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That's the woodworking gods dispensing their righteous justice. I'd go with Renata's recipe and avoid eternal suffering.
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with 20/80 mix of denatured alcohol/shellac, then adding a layer of tinted shellac. It's looking nice, I just need to get it repeatable now that I'm zeroing in on the color.
Man, I've taken three boards down to paper on the jointer cleaning up fresh surfaces for this testing.
Almost there though.
I may take a look at the BLO/Turp/Shellac mix, as well as the lye. Thanks for those suggestions.
-Mike

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"Mike Reed" wrote

The lye solution is probably your best bet for hurrying cherry along. Another option that hasn't been mentioned is that it can also be fumed with ammonia.
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