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Apprentice Contributor
caleb_forster
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎02-18-2010
0

Best finish for cherry kitchen cabinets, natural

I saw a sample from a cabinet shop of a natural cherry finish, it was just a clear conversion varnish finish they claimed.  Looked a little darker than I would think of natural cherry. 

 

Anyway, is there any finish that could be wiped or brushed onto a new set of cherry cabinets that would look similar to a conversion varnish or other spray on professional type finish?  I am not equiped to spray on finish and normally just do a wipe on poly for my small furniture projects.  The most complicated finish I've done is a shellac seal coat with a dye and top coat of wipe on polly.  I have never sprayed but could possibly borrow an hvlp sprayer and do a precat laquer or something like that.  I've never used it.

 

So any recommendations for the best diy finish for cherry cabinets? 

 

btw-it is all new construction & I would have proper ventilation and respirators available.  But I am a novice really.  the cabinet style is flat panel shaker style or mission style doors & drawers. 

 

I am buying the doors and drawers pre-made and building the bases and uppers w/ cherry plywood and select grade face frames.

 

thanks for any tips.

Contributor
johnnyc2993903
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎11-19-2009
0

Re: Best finish for cherry kitchen cabinets, natural

Cherry does darken over time, so that may be why is appeared darker than you think natural cherry should.  I can say that the finish schedule of choice among many forum members here is an application of boiled linseed oil and topcoat with an either alkyd or phenolic resin varnish (i.e. Waterloox, Pratt & Lambert No. 38, Cabbot 8000).  I can attest to that schedule as I used it on a shaker inspired bar table I made a couple of years ago.  The figure of the cherry was beautiful and has improved even more as it has aged.  It will be darker than the naturla cherry though.

Advisor
jandsjacobson99
Posts: 481
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: Best finish for cherry kitchen cabinets, natural

The only thing I'll add to that is the addition of garnet shellac before the topcoat.  That is what I did and I really like it.  Makes the cherry a bit richer looking.

Cheerio!
Sam
Advisor
Scott Holmes
Posts: 170
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: Best finish for cherry kitchen cabinets, natural

Your kitchen cabinets is not a good project to LEARN to spray finishes.

 

Practice, Practice, Practice, Practice

 

Scott

Scott

Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.
Honored Advisor
Steve Mickley
Posts: 1,567
Registered: ‎10-21-2009
0

First of all…

Daniel;

 

…permit me to welcome you to the new and improved WOOD Magazine Forums, particularly to the Finishing & Refinishing Forum. I hope you will visit often. You will find a number of accomplished woodworkers and finishers here who stand ready to assist you with your finishing and refinishing questions.

 

The finish you want to achieve is fairly easy to accomplish with little practice and no special tools.  All you need is a quality varnish, some paint thinner/mineral spirits, a role of blue paper shop towels, and some patience.  The technique is simply to thin and wipe on the varnish in a series of very thin coats until you have achieved a defect free finish.  Here is a link to a short article on making and applying your own wiping varnish.  The most important element of the instruction is to keep the coats thin.

 

Since you want to achieve a “natural finish” I suggest you simply apply the varnish.  In time the cherry will darken as did the sample you saw in the cabinet shop, that is the nature of cherry.  The varnish I usually recommend for kitchen applications is Waterlox Original, a tung oil based phenolic resin varnish.  Varnish made from tung oil is more moisture resistant than varnish made from either linseed oil or soya oil.  Phenolic resin varnishes produce the hardest finish…

 

Steve

Finishing & Refinishing Forum Host
Apprentice Contributor
caleb_forster
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎02-18-2010
0

Re: Best finish for cherry kitchen cabinets, natural

Thanks for all the input.  I know it's not a good project to learn on, that's why i didn't want to spray in the first place.  I've done plenty of finishing on my little furniture projects, even a few bathroom vanity projects turned out great.  But never on soft american cherry kitchen cabinets.

 

  I'll test out the ideas here on my sample cherry door.  I like the amber shellac idea to kind of darken the cherry.  I don't like to stain woods really. 

 

thanks again.

 

 

Advisor
Scott Holmes
Posts: 170
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: Best finish for cherry kitchen cabinets, natural

Now I have a question...

 

What is soft American Cherry.  When I talk about cherry I'm talklng about American Black Cherry.

Scott

Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.
Apprentice Contributor
caleb_forster
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎02-18-2010
0

Re: First of all…

Thanks Steve.  I have a quick question.  How would seal coat (that pre made shellac) work under a wiping varnish.  I've used it on some furniture projects to kind of add a nice amber tone to the wood.  Somebody else mentioned applying a coat of shellac before the topcoat but I'm not experienced w/ making my own.

 

thanks.

 

 

Senior Contributor
hatuffej
Posts: 454
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: Best finish for cherry kitchen cabinets, natural

Sam is right. To pop the grain even more, you can flood the workpiece with boiled linseed oil (BLO) for a half-hour, wipe it all off and buff it dry, them let it cure for a few days. Then wipe on the garnet shellac and finish in order.

Advisor
jandsjacobson99
Posts: 481
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
0

Re: Best finish for cherry kitchen cabinets, natural

Mixing shellac fresh from flakes is easy and the best way to do it.  You can find suppliers of the flakes online (I have used Steve's store and found the product to be great, price to be competitive, and shipping fast).  Then you just have to mix with the appropriate amount of denatured alcohol to get your product.  I used a coffee grinder the first few times, but found that as long as I mixed the day before I needed it and did a lot of shaking for the first hour or so I could avoid the mess of the grinder.

Cheerio!
Sam

 

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