07-26-2010 08:54 PM
I'm building a service cart for my wife and I'm wondering what type of finish/stain would be best to give it that rich wood look. Thanks for checking.
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07-27-2010 08:27 AM
You can stain and bring that look within minutes.
Or you can apply finish and let the wood age gracefully.
Question is: do you want to wait?
Is this cart going to be used outdoors as well? Prolonged time exposed to sun and weather?
Sun will speed up the look of an aged cherry.
As for finish, I'd use BLO, followed by shellac. You can top coat it with varnish, or just build up few layers of shellac.
07-28-2010 03:24 AM
It is hard to imagine how the addition of artificial color can improve on the natural color of cherry (opinion). But beyond that, pigment stain will mask some of the subtle grain and figure detail in cherry. If you absolutely must color your cherry please consider the use of a water-soluble dye. Modern water-soluble dyes are color fast. But, most important, dyes are completely transparent; no insoluble pigment to mask the grain and figure of the wood. Dyes react chemically with the wood and actually alter the color of the cells instead of laying down an opaque film of insoluble pigment on the surface of the wood.
My preferred cherry finish begins with sanding the wood through 220P. Next, flood the surface with BLO and allow the oil to penetrate into the grain for 25-30 minutes. Wipe off all of the unabsorbed oil and then buff the surface “dry” before allowing the oil to cure for 8-12 hours. Follow the oil with a single coat of garnet shellac mixed in a two-pound cut. The natural red/brown dye in garnet shellac will both accentuate the visual development of the grain and figure begun by the BLO. When the shellac is dry lightly sand with 320P open-coat sandpaper, sand just enough to smooth the surface. Take care not to cut through the shellac.
Now, to the topcoat; you don’t tell us the use of the service cart so I am not sure what to recommend. If the purpose of the cart is food service; hot dishes, local humidity, moisture then a phenolic resin varnish made from tung oil (Waterlox) would be my first choice. If the cart will see more general use then an alkyd resin soya oil varnish (Pratt & Lambert #38) would probably be my choice…
08-02-2010 02:49 AM
…is not an appropriate finish. Oil finishes, whether BLO or tung oil, oxidize and dull very quickly. They also lack moisture resistance. Perhaps it would be helpful at this point to back-up just a bit and define how the cart is to be used and the look you want to achieve…
08-02-2010 03:49 AM
The cart is going to be in our kitchen/dining area. My wife would like to set things on it to keep the clutter factor low on the table when we have company. I guess I'm just trying to cover most bases and potentials of what could possibly be spilled on, soaked on or even dishes that may be hot/warm. Again this is uncharted territory for me so any advice would appreciated.
08-02-2010 04:25 AM
“If the purpose of the cart is food service; hot dishes, local humidity, moisture then a phenolic resin varnish made from tung oil (Waterlox) would be my first choice. If the cart will see more general use then an alkyd resin soya oil varnish (Pratt & Lambert #38) would probably be my choice…”
Given what you have just said, my first choice remains Waterlox varnish applied over the BLO/shellac schedule in my previous reply. This will give you a hard, highly moisture resistant finish that will stand-up well to the hazards you and your wife envision. No finish, however, eliminates the need for trivets of some sort under hot dishes…
08-09-2010 10:00 AM
I've beenthinking about your response earlier about not staining the cart at all. If I did go this direction should I still use the Waterlox/varnish finish or is there another suggestion you may have. Thanks again as I really appreciate your comments.
08-09-2010 09:20 PM
Waterlox will provide the best protection and an amber tone to the cherry.
The Pratt & Lambert #38 will be very good protection; less amber color.
Color is a personal preference.
I would use the Waterlox... I like the way it looks on cherry.
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.