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Thread: How to best show off Cherry wood?

  1. #1
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    How to best show off Cherry wood?

    A friend of mine is about to retire and I thought I would turn him a pen as a small gift. He recently gave me a cherry log from his woods. I have the log cut up and I made myself a few pen blanks from it. Is there a "best" way to enhance the color of cherry wood? I usually use a CA finish on my pens but this will be the first pen with cherry. I want the wood to really stand out if possible. I had thought about trying some light red dye.......or would that ruin it? The blank does have some grain to it so maybe CA will be the best I can get.
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  2. #2
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    How to best show off Cherry wood?

    The cherry will darken nicely on its own, so I personally wouldn't add any color. If you want to pop the grain a bit, BLO would help. I've not done it, but I know some turners use a drop or two of BLO when they apply the CA finish. Hopefully someone here will be able to chime in with specifics.


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  3. #3
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    You could set it somewhere where it will get some UV for a few days (rotating it occasionally). That will definitely accelerate the coloration change to that rich cherry character.

    The other FWW has an article on it: http://www.popularwoodworking.com/te..._age_to_cherry unfortunately its in black and white but describes the process - including Vaughns suggestion of BLO pretty well

  4. #4
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    You have this one Tom...I would sand it out a little more though, some cherry can hold sanding marks through 600...YMMV. CA is a great finish, won't change the character of the wood and cure hard as a rock.
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  5. #5
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    How to best show off Cherry wood?

    I've heard that you can fume cherry with ammonia to darken it, like you might with oak for traditional mission furniture (ala Gustav Stickley). I haven't tried it, though.


    --dave
    --dave

  6. #6
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    The cherry I used for a pen darkened on it's own to more of a mellow brown character.

    I don't know much about dyeing wood, but it sounds like an opportunity for an experiment. I know for my pens I have always bought extra tubes for the kits I've gotten. Seems like everynow and then I'd either mess up something, or the blank would blow apart. Just kind of cheap insurance. If you do have extra tubes, it might be interesting to turn a couple of blanks, and dye one and see how it turns out. The red might add some interesting character to it.

    Just thinking out loud.
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  7. #7
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    Cherry takes dye well, but I have always regretted doing it - the wood matures well on it's own. I would add a layer of solvent shellac or BLO after sanding, under the finish, to bring out the grain while maintaining the "natural" cherry color.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
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  8. #8
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    Well, got this one done. It didnt turn out too bad. The CA finish did darken the wood a bit. I'm happy with it. I need to set up a photo booth for pens but until then this is just with my iphone.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9
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    I'd say that turned out very nice!
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  10. #10
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    Well I like it, that has some real nice figure; but I'm a serious sucker for cherry so take that with whatever size grain of salt you want

    I would expect it to darken up some with age but I'm not sure how fast, some CA glue apparently has some UV protection (at least from reading some arbitrary internet sites) so it would certainly be interesting to see how it changes over time.

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