Toning or Glazing Cherry Using Waterborne Finish

Advice on products and methods for glazing and toning. August 26, 2006

I use Enduro polyurethane finish and would like to even out the color of a cherry project. I'm thinking of using a glaze coat. Any words of wisdom to share? Brand names, colors etc. would be helpful. Where do I get the glaze base? Is it the same stuff used to glaze over latex paint?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor G:
Use Golden Acrylic glaze medium available from the same Compliant Systems that sold you the Enduro. You may add any pigmented colors or Enduro's own stain to the glaze to get the final color you want. Call Compliant to get their recommendation. Of course, it would be completely impossible to tell you what colors to choose, since a dark red burgundy stain with asphaltum glazing wouldn't look anything like clear-coated cherry with a light brown glaze.

You can also even out colors by adding some of your original stain to your finish and spray (your basic toner coat). My words of wisdom: glazing is easy but time consuming to wipe on and wipe off, especially if you don't want any darkened areas in the corners and cracks. Toning is much faster, but takes more skill with the paint gun.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. I called Compliant and in true form, the person who answered the phone didn't know what glaze or toner was and told me I should just stain it. After convincing him I needed to talk to someone who knew something, I got standard response B: they're out to lunch. (Standard response A is they're at a trade show and can't be reached.) I'm getting a tad fed up with the lack of useful information available at Compliant and am going to give Fuhr a shot.

From contributor W:
I don't think you can go wrong with Fuhr or Target - both good support in my opinion.

From contributor G:
Yes, I rather agree that Compliant is weak on customer service. I think they are missing someone on staff who is a professional finisher. The owner is seldom available. I like the product and use it a lot, but go elsewhere for help on problems I run into.

Anyway, for what it's worth, wash coat your cherry with sealer thinned 50% with water. Sand and then stain with stain of your choice. The light cherry stain from Compliant is anemic; the dark cherry stain is beautiful. You can also use Lee Oak, which gives the cherry more of a brown tone, or Pecan for a rich color. Normally, the compliant stains are concentrated (or so they claim) and you are supposed to mix 50% with water. I generally use the stains without dilution, unless it is called for. This is one of those aggravations (paying for a gallon of stain that only has a half gallon of material).

As for glazing, I usually glaze to correct tone, darken or for an antique effect. I often use a raw umber added to the Golden Acrylic glaze medium which tends to tone down a bit of the redness and creates a very rich color, and evens out the cherry. If you simply want your final coat to be darker, consider adding dark red cherry stain and some lamp black or asphaltum to the glaze.

From contributor B:
Their stain base added to the poly makes a great toner. Also, you can use their modifier
with color added or as contributor G noted, you can add cal tints to Golden Acrylic medium which Compliant sells. I've used all three with great success.