Friday, March 21, 2008

Contrasting stiles...

A cherry cabinet on stand I built three years ago had developed a small bow in the inside vertical stile of the right hand door. This happened a few weeks after I completed it. I kept telling myself I would one day either make some new doors or replace the bowed stile in the right hand door. Well, I finally decided to do this. I hunkered down , disassembled the right hand door and replaced both the inside lipped stile and the top rail. The cherry cabinet was originally finished with multiple thinned coats of super blonde shellac. Cherry develops a wonderful color and patina as it ages. There is no sense in staining this particular wood as the natural aging process and exposure to light and air provide the most beautiful color. We had this cabinet around for the past three years as it slowly developed the cherry patina. It is sometimes difficult to appreciate how much of a color change has actually occurred since the cabinet ages uniformly.

Well, I found out how much it aged and developed a dark color when I began to replace parts of the right hand cabinet door. The photo has the inner lipped stile and the top rail as fresh, new wood. I made sure to have these two pieces acclimate in my studio for a couple of weeks. The contrast is incredible... with nothing originally applied to the cherry cabinet but super blonde shellac and wax, no stain of any type applied. I took this photo to be able to show any prospective clients just how much cherry changes over time.

I notice the issue of either staining or leaving cherry to develop it's own aged color comes up occasionally in forums and the overwhelming advice given is to let it develop its own color over time. When you see the difference, it is easier to accept this advice.

I thought I would share this..

1 comment:

Ethan said...


Thanks for sharing! That's a great example of the contrast between freshly milled cherry and just a few years of oxidation.

It was a great illustration for my wife, too. A friend of mine is shortly going to give us a bid on solid cherry cabinets; he tried to explain the color change to her but I wasn't sure she understood it until I showed her your blog entry.

Great blog, by the way...