I am building a stationary buffet that will be separating a formal dining room from a hallway. Iím constructing it out of cherry, as the adjoining kitchen cabs are all cherry. Standard base cab height, "L" shaped and approximately 8' long with a 3' "L" at the wall end. It will have a granite top.
I have never finished cherry before, yet through some reading understand that cherry has a tendency to blotch. Two options that I have learned are to use a gel stain, and follow with a oil/varnish. Also I have learned that I will need to spray a toner, followed by spraying a lacquer. My preference would be the gel stain, and oil varnish route, since I am not set up with spray equipment.
The front of the buffet/cab will be all solid stock cherry doors with glass panels, and a solid cherry face frame, and end panels. The interior frame, floor, and buffet backside will be 1/2 " two sided cherry plywood. I plan on doing the shelves in solid stock as well.
Iím looking for recommendations to minimize any splotching in the solid stock, or additional processes that will improve the uniformity of the finished appearance. Also, I have no idea whether the splotchiness problem will occur when finishing the plywood. Is there any different requirements for finishing the plywood? Is the splotching even an issue?
From contributor B:
I would think that the gel stain and oil finish would promote blotching. If you want a totally even color then you need to seal the wood before staining. Then you can add color.
Generally speaking if the cabinets are from a box store they more than likely used a toner and a stain to even out the color and if you try to just use a stain you will not get the same look no matter how much time you spend. You can discuss that with the client and make sure they know the options and have them sign off on whatever you do.
As a side note, if you are matching existing cabinets and you can find the manufacturer, we have ordered the stain and toner directly from them in the past to match our work to the existing pieces and that works very well. Consider that option if you can.
Once you do this, you will never do it any other way. It takes more effort but makes for the right look. Make sure your tones are ok after both applications (if you are matching something) before you proceed over an entire project.
As far as hiring someone else, thatís great if you have enough work to keep you busy without having to do the finish.
I'm sure you'll do fine. You got it right - ask questions first and get the old timers to help you through the learning process. Itís better than asking for advice after something looks awful. Experience is everything.
I guess ignorance is bliss on my part - I've been staining one clientís cherry projects for years, and never knew there could be a blotching problem! I started hand wiping a dark red oil based stain, and now I'm using a water-based SprayNoWipe, all to same good even effect.