One of the most used woods in fine furniture is none other than cherry. It is one of the most popular woods in the U.S. that woodworkers adore. It is easy to work with, it sands really lovely as well, the only issue is with finishing it. Cherry wood blotches most of the time as some areas of the wood absorb more finish. This can make choosing a finish for cherry difficult, especially if it’s an oil finish we are talking about. In this article, we will talk about what kind of oil is best for cherry wood.
The best oils for cherry wood are tung and linseed oil. Both these oils go really well with the lumber. Cherry has some super-absorbent spots and at times a curly grain pattern. Using tung and linseed oil can accentuate the spots and curly figure. Not only that, but these oils also reinvigorate the wood from the inside out. It can give older cherry furniture new life as it replenishes its oils. Also, these oils protect the wood from moisture damage, creating a film finish as they dry and cure.
Cherry is one of the most beloved woods of woodworkers around the U.S. for its qualities. It is a hardwood that is really dense and has a beautiful grain pattern. Its dark reddish brown colour looks really beautiful when it is finished. This is why most people use it for fine furniture and cabinetry. It is slightly more expensive than most hardwoods like Poplar or Oak. Though, it is well worth its price as this wood, unlike other woods, avoids shrinking and warping under humid conditions.
Best Oils for Cherry Wood
1. Tung Oil
Natural tung oil is famous for its amber almost golden-colored hue. In its purest form, it is one of the best oils out there far surpassing most oil finishes. For a wood like cherry, it accentuates the grain and the reddish brown lumber. The only caveat is that it takes way too long to dry and is very thick. This is why most tung oil brands have solvents and drying agents in them. It is one of the best-selling oil finishes in the market for a good reason.
tung oil is one of the main ingredients in Danish oil as well. If you have the patience for it to cure and dry when it is pure without any resins, drying agents, or solvents, it will reward you with one of the best oil finishes. Tung oil makes cherry wood not only beautiful but also strengthens its water-resistant properties. While the lumber is resistant to warping and shrinking due to humidity, it is not as resistant to water damage.
Real Milk Paint is an excellent brand if you want to purchase its Pure tung Oil. Once it dries it creates a water-resistant film on the surface of cherry wood protecting it from moisture damage.
2. Linseed Oil
Boiled or polymerized linseed oil is usually the preferred choice of traditional woodworkers. It has a slight amber hue that yellows the wood it is applied to. For cherry, it really brings out the grain and its reddish brown colour. Traditional woodworkers usually apply raw linseed oil to their furniture. It takes a very long time to dry properly and cure. However, once it dries, it hardens to a film finish and protects wood from water.
Being another major ingredient in Danish oil, linseed oil has been used for centuries as an oil finish. It is readily available and pretty inexpensive. Not to mention it keeps wood protected with a water-resistant barrier once it dries off. Some people enjoy the amber hue it gives to the wood over time, giving the furniture an antique feel. While some people dislike it and because of that they avoid using linseed oil. When people do have to use it, they use it double boiled or polymerized for its quick drying times.
Sunnyside Corporation Pure Raw linseed Oil is one of the best sellers online. That too for a good reason, it brings really good results and people love using it on their indoor and outdoor furniture alike.
Tips for Oiling Cherry Wood
Cherry is one of the diffuse-porous hardwoods that blotches when you apply finish on it. Some areas of the grain are very absorbent which means that the oil will be absorbed unevenly throughout the surface of the cherry wood. However, it is one of the charms of the wood, and with enough preparation, you can get great results with an oil finish on any cherry made furniture.
- Prepare the lumber before applying any finish, cherry is no exception. First, you must sand the surface of the wood with 80-grits sandpaper. You can always use a random orbit sander for the most part. Move up to 120-grits and make your way up to 180-grits using a machine sander of your choice. Cherry takes really well to sanding and the surface becomes very smooth as well.
- For the last grit use your hand and sand in the direction of the grain for the best results.
- Clean any sawdust or dirt off the surface of the cherry before you apply any oil. You don’t want the sawdust to clog the pores when you apply oil to it. Also, you don’t want to mix any dirt with the oil and ruin the beautiful look of the wood.
- Apply ample oil to cover the surface of the cherry completely and wipe off any excess. After that layer of oil has dried, you can apply one or two coats more.
- Clean off any sweating or saturated oil as then it will take more time to dry than the rest of the cherry wood.
Benefits of Oiling Cherry Wood
Cherry is a dense hardwood that can last for ages if taken care of properly. That means you have to make sure that it does not dry and that you keep it maintained. While a good poly varnish finish would protect the surface from any damage, it will not keep the wood from drying on the inside. That can only be done if you apply a few coats of oil to the surface. By applying oils to cherry wood you are keeping it from drying out too much which would result in making the lumber brittle.
Most poly varnish finishes have either tung oil or linseed oil as a base. This penetrates the wood and the varnish and resins harden on the surface for protection. Though it only contains a small amount of it, which means it might not suffice. If you truly want your cherry wood to last for years to come, apply a few good coats of the oil of choice. You can always apply a layer of a clear coat finish over the oil once the wood has been saturated by it.
By doing so you ensure that the wood is well saturated with oils that will prevent it from being dry. This way the beauty of your cherry wood furniture will last for decades or centuries depending how well it is taken care of.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use linseed oil on cherry wood?
Yes, you can use linseed oil on cherry wood. It is one of the best oils for this wood that will keep it protected from any kind of moisture damage. While cherry is very durable, it is still susceptible to water damage. For this, linseed oil does a wonderful job of keeping the lumber protected.
How often should you oil cherry wood?
Depending on the type of conditions the cherry wood furniture or object is kept in, you need to apply oil to it every six months. Of course, this can change depending on the type of oil you are using. If you are using an oil that is 100% pure and does not contain any resins or varnish, then you will need to oil it frequently. However, you might also need to consider the conditions, for instance, if it is in exposure to the sun or there is too much humidity in the air you might want to oil it every six to eight months.
Will applying oil darken the colour of cherry wood?
Yes, depending on the type of oil you are applying, the colour of cherry wood can darken. If you are applying dark tung oil it will make the colour of the grain and the surface of the cherry wood dark. However, if you are using pure tung oil it will not alter the colour of the lumber, it will just accentuate its naturally dark reddish brown colour.
While cherry wood is a pleasure to work with, with careful consideration and planning, you can really bring out the best of it. Oiling it is one of the ways in which you can make its grain more prominent. It will also protect the cherry wood from water damage, prolonging its life. Choosing one of the oil finishes mentioned above will help you greatly in preserving the fibres of the cherry wood.