Preventing Blotching in Cherry

      Basic tips to help evenly dye or stain Cherry. October 1, 2010

Can anyone advise if you need to raise the grain on cherry plywood before applying a seal coat before stain to prevent blotching?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor G:
If you raise the grain, you probably won't need to use a seal coat. You probably will need to use a thinned version of the stain because water-popping will make the stain bite in more and go darker. Do some tests to see how it looks.

From contributor W:
To prevent blotching, you have to prepare your wood well. Sand it properly until you get an even and smooth surface. For cherry wood you’re better to apply your stain directly on the wood to raise your grain. Just avoid applying your stain too wet. Spray method is a better option to apply your stain.

From the original questioner:
I tried spraying stain before and my results were not good. What tricks are out there? I typically use a SW BAC wiping stain? How thin of a spray should I use?

From contributor K:
Hopefully, this will provide some helpful guidelines. Pigmented stains consist of three segments: finely ground colored pigment, liquid to facilitate dispersal of the pigment, and a binder (adhesive) that keeps the pigment in place. With pigmented wiping stains, color is established by the finely ground pigment lodging into the pores of the wood. The more, or larger, pores that exist in the wood or in its various sections, the more pigment will remain, thus effecting a deeper color in those areas.

Wiping stains by design should be flooded on, allowed to sit until the binder will keep the pigment in the wood pores, then wiped off. The goal is to allow the wood to keep as much of the pigment as it is going to. While thinning the stain will result in less pigment being dispersed and spread out, nonetheless, a greater amount of pigment is still going to reside in the larger-pored segments of the wood than in the rest. So those areas are still going to appear darker than the denser areas, although the overall color will be lighter.

Since dyes stains do their work at the molecular level, with the color being absorbed into the wood (rather that laying on it), splotchinesss is decreased. In most cases, the staining step will need to be followed by a toning step (color in finish), to help reduce the differences in the colors.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor A:
I use cherry and African mahogany in my woodworking and both blotch badly when oil based stained directly. I cut Alkyd Varnish (not polyurethane) 50-50 with mineral spirits and apply and let cure three coats sanding between and final coat (heavy on the end grain). Then brush on stain thinly two-four coats, each coat curing completely, depending on how different each wood piece is. After thoroughly curing I topcoat with several coats of spray pre-catalyzed lacquer. A light 320 grit sponge sanding and paste wax. Buff and it looks great. Lots of grain, no blotching.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing: General Wood Finishing

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article