I am at a loss. Dang Nabbit, I have to ask for directions! I have been trying for years to mimick the cherry finish that you see in furniture stores. I have not been able to get that deep red stain that is found on the "Expensive" Cherry furniture. I have tried the Mahagony stains, Cherry Stains in a can from Miniwax to no avail. SO what is the secret, how do I get the deep red color found on cherry. ( I know how to get the high gloss shine, just not the color!)
Dye is the answer, you can get very deep colors with dye and it still doesn't obscure the grain. The stuff you see in stores also commonly use toners and a few other tricks as well but the way to get the depth you describe is with aniline dye. It takes a little experimentation but they are definitely worth the effort.
[font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON Sep-16-01 AT 09:30PM (CDT)[/font][p]If you're talking the deep red color that you find at "The Bombay Co." then what you're looking at is red paint. If you nick an inconspicuous spot on a piece of that furniture you'll fine light colored wood. I don't call that stuff "fine" furniture...
If you want a genuine deep red cherry finish, start with deep red cherry wood. You can also use jatoba (brazilian cherry) to good effect.
I used a ZAR cherry stain on the cherry wood cabinets I made. The stain gave the faces a nice 'patina' that replicates some of our older furniture pieces. I put a ZAR top coat on them and they have held up well over the years.
Ps. if this posts twice, sorry....I 'lost' the first post some how.
Anybody ever experiment with cherry juice on cherry wood?
I mean, heck, it stains dentures on TV, white carpet, T shirts,
and the like.
Maybe it would enhance cherry wood as well?
Either that or the kids would be sucking on it all the time. :D
My recomendation is use a natural color oil finish and let time do the rest. I made a project last spring and it is getting darker all the time. The great thing about oil, I prefer Watco, is that the depth of the wood is prevalant. The downside of this type of finish is that it will not mask any sap areas of the wood or the occasional "blotches" that you will hear about. this is natural with cherry. However, even this seems to be going away with time. Cherry is a beatiful wood and the thought of covering it up with something seems senseless. You may as well use maple and say some money.
First seal the wood (to avoid blotchies). Next apply a honey amber analine dye stain (spray). Seal that coat. Apply a coat or two of brown or red/brown analine dye stain and then seal with a top coat. Based on the resulting color determine what your next shader coats will be and spray that. Finally look at any color variations and even them out with shader coats. Let cure, level sand, and spray your finish coats (2-3 coats of cat lacquer).
The result is that putrid redish awful "cherry wood" color of commercial furniture.
A much better approach is to select the wood for you project with an eye to color variance and grain. Then use a mixture of Boiled Linseed Oil : Tung Oil : Turpentine (the realstuff) in a mixture of 1:1:2 applied as a coat to pop the grain. This mixture may need to be thinned with some more turp to control blotchies. Next, apply a couple of coats of dewaxed shellac in your favorite color. My favorites for cherry is garnet or orange, if my top coat is something other than shellac, or Kusmi #1 or #2 if my top coat is shellac (Kusmi #1 and #2 have wax in them). The final top coats can be more shellac (my preference), lacquer, or a varnish. Now, since the solvent for shellac is alcohol and the solvent for transtint analine dyes is alcohol, there is nothing to prevent you from adding a bit of analine dye to your shellac ! I just finished a piece where one of my boards was a bit lighter in color than the surrounding pieces so I just added two drops of red-brown to the Kusmi shellac I was using and it subtley evened out the color contrast (very nice). I also added a couple of drops of the red-brown analine dye to the lemon shellac I was using as a top coat. This gave a barely noticeable redish cast that highlights the color of the wood but in no way interferes with it. If I didn't tell you what I did you wouldn't notice it. Now, during the next few years the cherry cabinet I just finished will darken a bit and become more red so that after 10-20 years it will have the beautiful red-brown patina of fine cherry furniture. Not the junk that you find in modern furniture stores.
All of these are terrific answers, but another way to really make cherry turn fiery red is to mix a solution of lye and warm water. The stronger the solution you mix, the darker the reddening will be. You can make the cherry look about a hundred years old in just one night if you apply the mixture in a high enough concentration.
Start with one tablespoon of lye (Red Devil brand is used as drain cleaner and is readily available) in a quart of warm water, and some cut-offs from the project you're coloring. Brush the solution on (it will raise the grain), and then let it dry over night. When completed, brush on a wash of white vinegar and water to neutralize and sand LIGHTLY with 220g or 320g to knock the raised grain back down without sanding through the coloring.
If that's not dark enough, add more lye to the mixture in tablespoon increments until you have the color you want. Remember to allow overnight drying for full effect, and neutralize with vinegar/water solution.
It is, however, obvious that if lye will corrode through clogged drainage pipes, it will also corrode eyes and skin. Please, take all necessary safety precautions. Neoprene gloves, goggles and a respirator or other respiratory-protective devices need to be used when handling. It's risky, in the opinion of some beyond the value of its worth, and dyes and stains can probably be combined to give the same or very, very similar results. Thus, the chemical dyeing process doesn't find as much favor as it used to among woodworkers. I offer it here as an alternative to the other measures.