curlyoak

Staining Cherry?

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I hate to think of it and hate to ask. But I've been asked to build a piece to match an existing piece. The older piece naturally has darkened. I'm thinking the stained piece eventually be darker than the older piece. Anybody with experience with this kind of challenge?  What stain did you use? Thanks

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You could possibly darken the cherry before finishing by fuming it with ammonia. This artificially ages the wood so if you get a color match with the older wood it should stay fairly close as it ages.

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I’ve used Watco cherry on cherry wood to darken it to match a piece for a client, wait till it’s cured to dry before any top coat

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If it's naturally darkened I'd do some experiments to make sure that it can be close. I hate to say if but if it went naturally to a dark color why not just let the new project go naturally to the same point. Could accelerate it with some time in the sun outside prior to finishing. I'd be concerned with it looking similar now but 5 years later start going in a different direction.

Or Baking soda.

https://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/videos/aging-wood-with-baking-soda/

Or Lye like @wtnhighlander has done.

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3 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

I'd be concerned with it looking similar now but 5 years later start going in a different direction.

This is the real thing you need to worry about.  Any stain matching now will end up being darker down the road.  You have no real idea what the original cherry lumber looked like in terms of light or dark lumber and was the original piece stained and with what?  Your could end up really chasing you tail.

I think you safest bet would be to put it in the sun for a couple of days, do a light sanding and then put you top coat on.  Let nature do the rest.

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2 hours ago, Gary Beasley said:

You could possibly darken the cherry before finishing by fuming it with ammonia. This artificially ages the wood so if you get a color match with the older wood it should stay fairly close as it ages.

I don't think that's quite right. Fuming darkens the tannin in the wood, it doesn't age it. That's a different process that involves exposure to light & oxygen.

The surest way is to expose it to sunlight before finishing, I think.

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1 hour ago, Gary Beasley said:

Isnt it the tannins that darken with age? 

I don't believe so. The darken in the presence of moisture & ferrous metals or ammonia, & probably other chemicals as well. White oak has lots of tannins and it doesn't darken appreciably with age.

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5 hours ago, treeslayer said:

I’ve used Watco cherry on cherry wood to darken it to match a piece for a client, wait till it’s cured to dry before any top coat

I do the same thing. The problem is the waiting...  Generally speaking I hold off for a week to ten days before adding any finish.

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3 hours ago, drzaius said:

I don't believe so. The darken in the presence of moisture & ferrous metals or ammonia, & probably other chemicals as well. White oak has lots of tannins and it doesn't darken appreciably with age.

 

4 hours ago, Gary Beasley said:

Isnt it the tannins that darken with age? 

As always the wood nerd Shannon Rodgers has an answer.

https://www.mcilvain.com/wood-color-changes-explained/

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I’ve never tried the chemicals but have tried the sun exposer. Try a test piece, part covered with at least two layers of blue tape, exposed to the sunlight for a week. I was amazed at the difference. Staining or dyeing cherry, just ain’t right. IMO. 

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The good news is we have changed to walnut. They would like cherry if it was done at the same time to avoid color variation. The project is a 4 file drawers with an upper bookcase. Frame and panel construction. Flat book matched panels. Not figured. Because they want to save some cash because they want me to build a compatible desk. With figured panels after they have digested the expense of the first project.

In the room there is a chest of drawers that is either maple or birch stained walnut. Well made furniture. But it is not walnut. I brought a piece of walnut polished and finished. The color matched the walnut stain. My comparison was cubic zirconium  vs. diamonds. Walnut being the diamonds.

Although the walnut stained piece was well made and properly finished, as we all know the walnut sample was the obvious choice. I'm thinking after the desk they may want to replace the chest of drawers too.

Thank you all for this discussion on changing colors with cherry. Although this info now will not be needed, I will remember the advice. Much appreciated!

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