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Thread: Stain wood or leave natural

  1. #1

    Stain wood or leave natural

    Generally speaking in woodworking, is it preferable to leave wood it's natural color when finishing or is it perfectly acceptable to stain / dye it?

    I have a piece of cherry and I have already put it in the sun for a bit to darken its colors (thanks for the tips on that guys). It is pretty dark now and I'm wondering if I should leave it or stain it cherry color to prounounce the "cherry"?

    thanks.

  2. #2
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    My preference is to leave cherry alone and let it develop it's own color. I suntan it to get it started and apply oil while it's in the sun.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  3. #3
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    My first preferance is to leave natural. I usualy give it a coat of BLO or Tung oil to pop the grain then use a clear finish. That said if you are trying to make a piece blend in with other pieces then I would dye/stain it. Since I make my living doing finishing I have the customer tell me what color they want and do whats needed to achieve that. Glad the sun tan helped on the cherry.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  4. #4
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    Colorants can add greatly to a wood's appearance. Just watch Jeff Jewitt, Peter Gedrys or any of the other folks who do this so well. I have started being more selective on material and opting for light oils, clear shellac or lacquer to allow the natural wood look to be prominent in my own work. Stains and dyes definitely get used here and there but generally by request, not my preference.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
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    Being somewhat of a purest, I don't color or stain any of my work. Keep in mind that I am a turner. As I understand it, sometimes flat work is stained or colored to match existing pieces or to give the customer what they want.

    Bruce
    Last edited by Bruce Shiverdecker; 09-19-2009 at 10:35 PM.
    Bruce Shiverdecker - Retired Starving Artist ( No longer a Part timer at Woodcraft, Peoria, Il.)

    "The great thing about turning is that all you have to do is remove what's not needed and you have something beautiful. Nature does the hard part!"

  6. #6
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    suntan and clear finish or shellac for a tint of color but no stain for me on cherry.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawson Mossman View Post
    Generally speaking in woodworking, is it preferable to leave wood it's natural color when finishing or is it perfectly acceptable to stain / dye it?
    All you're going to get are opinions, Dawson. I don't think there is a rule here.

    Generally speaking, I find it preferable to ask my wife what she wants...

    I like leaving wood natural, but I also do experiment with colours a bit.

    And even people who say they leave it "natural" will still do things like put a coat of shellac on maple to 'warm it up' or BLO to 'pop the grain' or they like oil-based poly because it gives an 'amber tone'.... so is that all really "natural", or is it just a much more mild/subtle form of stain?

    Do what you like and have fun.
    Unless it's for work, in which case do what the customer wants!
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
    www.wordsnwood.com ........ facebook.com/wordsnwood

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mulder View Post
    All you're going to get are opinions, Dawson. I don't think there is a rule here.

    Generally speaking, I find it preferable to ask my wife what she wants...

    I like leaving wood natural, but I also do experiment with colours a bit.

    And even people who say they leave it "natural" will still do things like put a coat of shellac on maple to 'warm it up' or BLO to 'pop the grain' or they like oil-based poly because it gives an 'amber tone'.... so is that all really "natural", or is it just a much more mild/subtle form of stain?

    Do what you like and have fun.
    Unless it's for work, in which case do what the customer wants!
    sorry art, i wasnt tryuin to mislead the guy. i said i sometimes use shellac but i do not use stain.. so i think i was being honest and voicing some colour use as well.....)
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  9. #9
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    Hey, I'm with you, Larry. I like your finishing choice for Cherry, and usually follow it myself.
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
    www.wordsnwood.com ........ facebook.com/wordsnwood

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mulder View Post
    Generally speaking, I find it preferable to ask my wife what she wants...

    !

    Art has let you guys in on a big secret here. Truer words have never been spoken.

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