I build a cherry chest about a year ago. If I recall properly, it had
Danish oil on it.
Now that it as darkened, one small spot has stayed light. I guess I didn't
notice some sapwood? Oddly, from some angles you can't see it, from others
it is very conspicuous.
What do I do? Say I did it on purpose to add charm?
I thought about leaving it for another year, and then trying some gel stain
on the light part.
Any other ideas?
I've always been of the opinion that wood is a natural material and
it is unnatural to disguise its flaws and characteristics. In other
words, leave it be.
I've a nice cherry bookmatched hall table top which was bookmatched around
a streak of sapwood - I think it looks great.
There you go. Book matched is by its definition balanced. I too like that
natural characteristics of wood (let's not call them flaws), yet I still
work with them to make sure that they look balanced. When there is a
direction to grain that leads the eye one way it needs to be pointed in the
My point is that although anomolies are not bad, can be very cool, but need
to be accounted for.
There was an article in FWW magazine 4-6 months ago all about
colorizing cherry to match. It was shown using a multi drawer unit
with badly matched drawers. They covered lots of techniques.
I agree, wood has character and the anomolies are often the most
interesting part. However, I think it is valid to want a consistent
tone and to make adjustments to get there.
I think at this late date, with some finish already in place, your
options are limited. Using a gel stain "might" work, but feathering it
in is going to be very very hard and the sheen difference will always
be a problem, unless it's covered with something else after.
If I had to try and do this, I would opt to finish the entire piece
with shellac. Then plan on using a darker ruby or orange shellac in
the one location or use a dye to tone the shellac for that location.
Shellac is great for several reasons.
1. It's beautiful
2. If you screw up, you can pretty much remove it with some alcohol
and start over. There is another common solvent that is even better on
dried Shellac but it escapes me right now.
3. It is easy to tone/colorize it. Even just more coats of a ruby in
one location will darken a light spot.
Rub it out w/synthetic pads or 400/600/800 hit it with some Brie wax
on 0000 steel wool and buff it up to the gloss you want.
If you go with just a few thin coats you'll still "feel" the wood and
it will be nice.
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