How to Darken Cherry Wood

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If you are looking to add a darkened finish to a piece of furniture, you may be wondering how to darken cherry wood. However, the wood’s characteristics are diverse. This article will discuss the different types of treatments and their benefits and drawbacks. It will also show you how to safely apply pre-stain conditioner and shellac. To complete your project, you can use potassium dichromate or UV light.

Pre-stain conditioner

If you plan to stain your furniture in the traditional manner, use a pre-stain conditioner. This is important because less dense woods absorb wood stain unevenly. The spongy areas of the wood absorb more stain than the other parts, creating uneven blotchy surfaces. If the surface is dirty, it may also cause uneven staining. Pre-stain conditioner is the best solution to minimize this problem.

Pre-stain conditioner for darkening cherrieswood. Cherry wood will darken over time as it is exposed to oxygen and ultraviolet rays. While you can add a stain to it later, cherry wood is naturally very resistant to stain. This type of wood has an incredible dark color that will continue to deepen with exposure to sunlight. To get the desired darkening effect, you should apply a coat of pre-stain conditioner to the surface before applying stain.

Use a pre-stain conditioner before applying stain to prevent blotches. The grain in cherry wood absorbs the color differently. This causes darker and lighter areas in the same piece. A pre-stain conditioner is a thin layer of shellac, which minimizes this effect. This way, you can use a stain and sealer on the surface. Then, you can apply your stain over the top of the sealant.

If you’re considering using pre-stain conditioner, you should keep in mind that you shouldn’t use the same stain for every project. It doesn’t affect the stain color, but it will seal out the deeper grain and evenly apply the stain. A good pre-stain conditioner also prevents blotchiness and gives you a darker color. But if you are unsure of the color you want, you can test it first on scrap wood or inconspicuous spots before you apply the stain to the final surface.


Shellac is a popular finish for wood projects, and it darkens cherry wood beautifully. It can also change the grain pattern and color. In the picture above, shellac has been applied to the right side of the board. The unfinished left side of the board should have a much darker color and grain popping. The more layers of shellac you apply, the darker the wood will be. You can also mix shellac with alcohol to thin it out a bit.

Applying dewaxed shellac to the wood is an excellent way to seal it. Applying a single thin layer allows the color to lodge within the pores of the wood, but two thin layers prevent the color from smearing and making the surface look too muddy. To apply the colored glaze, mix burnt umber artists’ oil color with a liquid glazing medium, which you can find at art supply stores. Afterward, wipe the glaze over the surface.

Mix the shellac with denatured alcohol. A liter of one-half-pound of shellac will cover two drawers or bedside tables, with a thicker finish. A four-pound cut is rare, but is available. Shellac is usually mixed in “cuts” – the proportion of flakes to solvent. The most common cut is one-pound, while a two-pound cut will provide a thicker finish in less time.

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The color of shellac will depend on the type of wood. Natural shellac will impart a brownish-red or dark garnet hue. The darker color of shellac will also give your wood a rich, warm look. If you have an existing finish, you may want to consider using button shellac. This finish can also be buffed with steel wool. But be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions for application as this can affect the final look.

Potassium dichromate

Historically, woodworkers have used the chemical compound Potassium Dichromate to darken the grain of cherry wood. This material, which is similar to iron acetate, is sometimes used to treat species of wood that contain a low amount of tannin. Once applied, Potassium Dichromate washes off. However, be sure to use protective gear and gloves when working with this chemical, as it is extremely toxic.

Potassium dichromate has a wide range of uses, including etching, cleaning, and mordant. It imparts a reddish color to treated wood, which is not objectionable on light-colored woods, but not so much on dark-colored ones. Potassium permanganate produces a browner color than dichromates and is also used to treat red oak, walnut, birch, teak, and a variety of other types of wood.

This chemical is a good option for darkening cherry wood because it mimics the effect of sunlight. While cherry wood naturally darkens over time, using this chemical accelerates the process and will not destroy the figure of grain in the wood. However, it is important to use caution when using this chemical, as it is toxic and can damage the surface of the wood. Potassium permanganate and potassium dichromate are also extremely toxic.

The process of using potassium dichromate to darken wood is quite simple. Firstly, it is necessary to combine it with a strong mineral acid, which is present in wood. This chemical will then help chromium alum to darken the wood. Alternatively, potassium dichromate can be used as an oxidizing agent for tannins. Potassium dichromate is also commonly used as an ingredient for tanning leather.

UV light

Exposure to UV light can darken cherry wood. It takes as long as six months to reach a deep red tone. After that, exposure will keep the wood dark. It will also increase its durability. In addition to the darkening effect, UV exposure can also be dangerous for the eyes. It is best to use a lamp that doesn’t shine directly on the wood. Also, don’t leave the lamp on in the room with the cherry wood.

The main causes for this natural process are air and light. While we can’t stop it, we can speed it up. While most of the wood darkening process occurs naturally, there are things we can do to speed up the process. Exposure to strong outdoor light will darken the wood faster than normal. If you’re trying to speed up the process, UV light exposure should be avoided. Fortunately, UV light can slow the process down a little.

Exposure to sunlight will darken cherry wood in about 3 months. It’s not necessary to use any chemical products to darken the wood. If you’d like the planks to look dark without undergoing any chemical treatment, you can place them outside during the summer months. Ideally, you should turn them over every couple of hours. This will increase their color and durability. While the process is natural, it can be frustrating if you can’t figure out how to do it.

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Exposure to UV light has two main effects. First, it dries out the colour of wood. Second, it bleaches the colour of reddish wood. This occurs because the natural compounds that make these woods red are not lightfast. Eventually, the wood will turn from purple to brown. In addition to lightening, UV exposure can even darken the colour of woods, such as teak, walnut, and cherry.

Pigment stain

When applying a pigment stain to cherry wood, the process is more gradual than with other types of wood. While most finishes will slow down the color change of cherry wood, they must also contain UV blockers. Linseed or tung oil finishes will produce a richer and deeper look than film-forming finishes. Cherry wood’s pores absorb color from the oil stain, which means that the final product will have a darker hue than the original.

Using lye to darken cherry wood is a natural way to achieve a similar effect. It’s easy to dilute the lye and three cups of water to achieve a dark color that resembles the color of the sun. Although caustic, the diluted lye solution can damage the surface of the wood and leave it looking fuzzy. Use caution when using this method though, as the stronger solution may break the fibers in the wood.

Cherry wood stains come in different colors, ranging from a soft pink to a dark reddish brown. Because they vary from tree to tree, and even from board to board on the same tree, the color of the wood stain can be unpredictable. Cherry stain can be light pink at first, but it will darken quickly if exposed to sunlight for six months or more. As a result, it’s essential to sand the dark parts of the wood before applying any stain.

If you’d like to use a pigment stain on cherry wood, you will need to prepare the wood with shellac before applying a color glaze. You can purchase burnt umber artists’ oil color at an art supply store or craft store. Then, mix a few drops of the burnt umber artist’s oil color with a liquid glazing medium. Once the color is mixed, you’ll need to apply several thin layers of the stain until you’ve reached the desired shade.

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s written by Itamar Ben-Dor, who has 25 years of experience in renovations, carpentry, locks, creation, landscaping, painting, furniture construction, and furniture renovation, works with concrete, plumbing, door repair, and more.

Itamar Ben-Dor has been in the home improvement business for over 25 years. Itamar Ben-Dor is a jack of all trades. He's worked in the renovation field for years, doing everything from locksmithing to carpentry. He's a small repairs specialist. But his true passion lies in furniture construction and renovation - he loves seeing old pieces come back to life with some new woodwork or a fresh coat of paint.

He has taken courses on many topics in these fields at professional colleges in Israel. Over the years, Itamar has also become quite skilled in gardening, carpentry, and renovations. He's worked on projects of all sizes, from massive renovations to small repairs. No job is too big or too small for him!

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