I’m working on a jewelry box and would appreciate your suggestions for finishing it. I made several of these years ago using Honduras mahogany but can’t get the material anymore. The one I’m doing now is cherry, but I’d like to get the deep rich color I had in the previous boxes (this is for a family member of one of the previous ones made). The material I have is mostly heartwood with a bit of lighter sapwood. I’m looking at using Minwax® oil-based stain. Any suggestions which to use to get the same deep color with reddish tint? – Jim Pitman
Chris Marshall: You can always stain cherry, but an oil-based stain could cause it to look blotchy. I would probably use a gel stain, which penetrates less deeply and could help to avoid that potential problem. But honestly, Jim, cherry darkens beautifully all on its own and keeps a deep reddish to brownish color. Just give it time. Or, put the project in a sunny place and let sunlight “stain” it more quickly. If the lighter sapwood is what concerns you, you’ll have to hide that under a dye or stain to blend its color with the darker heartwood. But, sapwood isn’t really a defect. If you incorporate it thoughtfully into the design, the contrasting colors could look really nice on the completed piece.