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Cherry blotches. All clear finishes trigger blotching in cherry. The end on this cabinet is boiled linseed oil topped with lacquer. The linseed oil darkens because it ages, so the colour of the cherry will deepen extra shortly than with different finishes. The lacquer gives higher safety and shine. If you mix linseed oil with one other end, together with lacquer, make sure to let the linseed oil remedy totally earlier than making use of the opposite end – at the least every week in a heat room.

Some straight speak about cherry and blotching.

When I opened my furniture-making and restoration store in 1976, the woods thought-about finest for high-end furnishings have been walnut and mahogany. Of course, oak and maple have been additionally used, and typically cherry.

As had been the case by way of the earlier three centuries, cherry was nonetheless regarded as the poor man’s substitute for mahogany. The coloring is comparable, however mahogany had at all times been thought-about the upper high quality wooden. A big a part of the reason being that mahogany colours evenly and cherry blotches.

Blotching is uneven coloring prompted particularly by stain penetrating deeper in some areas and leaving extra coloration when the surplus stain is wiped off the floor.

Times have modified, and cherry is now the favored wooden with an awesome many woodworkers. Mahogany is hardly even thought-about to be used anymore, and neither is walnut extremely popular. But cherry nonetheless has the blotching drawback and everybody desires to know the best way to take care of it.

The Solution Problem

Washcoats. The left facet of this cherry panel was washcoated, then Minwax cherry stain was utilized to each side (there is no such thing as a stain on the center stripe). Notice that the washcoat diminished the depth of the blotching a bit of however didn’t completely eradicate it. The washcoat additionally prevented the stain from coloring the wooden as a lot.

Magazine editors prefer to please their readers, so that you see plenty of articles addressing the query of the best way to keep away from blotching in cherry.

The technique for decreasing blotching below a stain is broadly understood. Simply apply a washcoat earlier than making use of the stain. A washcoat is any end thinned to about 10 p.c solids: that’s, varnish thinned with about two components paint thinner, shellac thinned to a 34 pound reduce, or lacquer thinned with about 112  components lacquer thinner.

Cherry variations. Cherry doesn’t at all times blotch. It will depend on every particular board. Both of those panels have been completed with a transparent end – no stain. The left panel didn’t blotch and the proper blotched severely.

Once you may have allowed the washcoat to dry totally (particularly important when utilizing a slow-drying varnish washcoat generally bought as “wood conditioner”), a stain penetrates little or no so blotching is diminished. Less penetration limits the darkening of the wooden, nevertheless, so there’s a commerce off. Staining is much less efficient.

But cherry blotches even with no stain. All clear finishes (even shellac, which is commonly promoted as an exception) blotch cherry and, after all, so does a washcoat. It appears there’s no method to completely keep away from the blotching.

This hasn’t, nevertheless, stopped magazines through the years from maintaining the chance alive, hinting that there could be a secret technique someplace.

Not Always

Test for blotching. The simple method to take a look at for blotching is to wipe the floor of unfinished cherry with a liquid. Any liquid will work, however solvents similar to alcohol, mineral spirits and lacquer thinner are finest as a result of they don’t elevate the grain like water does. It’s a lot simpler to see if a board will blotch when the take a look at is finished on surfaced cherry than on uncooked, unsurfaced cherry.

One of the fun of woodworking is that we get to work with so many alternative woods, every of which has its personal particular traits – a few of which we like and a few we don’t. Cherry machines very properly and has an particularly nice aroma, however it blotches.

At least it normally blotches. Just as with pine and birch, that are additionally infamous for blotching, the blotching in cherry and whether or not it seems good or not will depend on the actual board. Some boards blotch in a very ugly manner. Some blotch in a ravishing manner – sometimes called curly or mottled. And some don’t blotch in any respect.

Unfortunately, no wooden provider grades cherry (or some other wooden for that matter) by its blotching traits (although veneers are graded for curly and mottled). Wood suppliers grade wooden for the quantity and measurement of its knots.

So you must determine for your self how the cherry you’re utilizing will end. This is far simpler to do with surfaced cherry than with tough lumber.

With each conditions, the best method to see how a end will look on the wooden is to moist the wooden. Wetting offers virtually the identical look as a end does, the distinction being that the wetting evaporates and a end turns to a stable making the coloring everlasting.

You can use any liquid, however non-grain-raising liquids similar to mineral spirits, alcohol and lacquer thinner are normally finest, particularly on surfaced wooden.

Aging and Darkening

Natural darkening. Cherry darkens because it ages attributable to publicity to oxygen and lightweight. This 60-year-old chest has taken on the wealthy rust-red coloration typical of outdated cherry. Notice that the darkening has served to mute and disguise the darker blotching considerably because the lighter colours have darkened to mix.

Besides blotching, one other high quality of cherry is the tendency of its heartwood to darken because it ages. The darkening is caused by publicity to oxygen and lightweight. Light accelerates the method, particularly UV mild, similar to daylight and fluorescent.

As cherry darkens, the blotching turns into muted – that’s, the lighter non-blotchy areas darken to the colour of the darker blotchy areas. So time does a fairly good job of disguising blotching in cherry. This is the explanation I’ve at all times believed that one of the simplest ways to complete cherry, in case your objective is to make it appear to be outdated cherry, is to let it get there naturally.

You can at all times speed up the darkening a bit of by inserting the ready-to-finish or already completed wooden within the daylight for just a few days. This will darken the heartwood a bit of, however it would nonetheless take years to succeed in the rust crimson coloration of outdated cherry.

If you wish to obtain the rust-red coloration instantly, and are utilizing non-blotchy cherry or are keen to stay with the blotching, essentially the most correct manner to take action is to stain the wooden with a cherry dye stain. But take into account that the wooden will nonetheless darken below the stain, supplying you with a end result you, or your clients or descendents, might not be so happy with after a number of a long time.

How Factories Do It

Running begin. Because the darkening of cherry is accelerated by mild, you’ll be able to place your sanded components in daylight for a few days (as I did with the left half of this panel) and obtain some extent of darkening to start the method. The backside half has a transparent end utilized. The center stripe is the place a few of the UV handed by way of the masking tape.

If you’ve ever checked out factory-finished cherry furnishings, you’ve certainly observed that it doesn’t appear to be outdated cherry. It’s normally significantly darker, typically so darkish and opaque it’s even troublesome to see that the wooden is cherry. But it’s not very blotchy.

Cherry furnishings producers resolve the blotching drawback by placing many of the coloration on high of the wooden reasonably than in it. Instead of utilizing stains, they get the colour with glazes and toners. Glazes are thickened stain utilized in between coats of end. Toners are the end itself with the colour (normally dye) added. Toners are at all times sprayed.

Factory end. Furniture factories disguise blotching by utilizing glazes and toners to place most or all the coloration within the end reasonably than within the wooden. This creates a special look than naturally aged cherry.

The finish result’s diminished blotching as a result of it’s coated over. Though there’s no cause you couldn’t end cherry on this method your self, the look attained is just not what most woodworkers need.


Dying cherry. If you’re utilizing comparatively non-blotchy wooden or are keen to stay with the blotching, you’ll be able to obtain a coloration very near aged cherry instantly by utilizing a cherry dye stain (left). Lockwood pure vintage cherry water-soluble dye (additionally bought as Moser pure vintage cherry) gives essentially the most correct coloring in my expertise. These dyes can be found by mail order from many suppliers. But take into account that the colour of the wooden below the dye will nonetheless darken and lead to a a lot darker coloring after various years than it’s your decision.

Here’s the underside line on cherry: Most boards blotch when stained, and likewise when completed with no stain. There’s no method to keep away from this, aside from discovering boards (or veneer) that don’t have the tendency.

Over time the blotching is muted because the heartwood darkens naturally to a rust-red coloration. If you select, you may get to this coloration instantly by staining with a cherry-colored dye stain. But in time the wooden will darken additional beneath the dye.

You also can add coloration and disguise the blotching with glazes and toners, however you’ll be able to’t obtain the wealthy, clear rust-red look of outdated cherry this fashion.

The solely method to get the outdated cherry look is to complete with only a clear end, any clear end, and let the wooden age naturally.

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