Cherry is a popular wood among homeowners. Because of its strength and beauty, manufacturers often use it for furniture and flooring. However, some people who love the look of this wood are not quite in love with its price. Luckily, faux wood finishing isn't a tough do-it-yourself project, and the look of cherry is easy to accomplish.
Although finishing wood can be a relatively easy task, it does require time and supplies. Having everything needed to complete the project on hand before you start will make the job easier. Make sure you have these things handy and work in an open, ventilated area:
Tarps or plastic drop cloths
No. 120 and No. 220 sandpaper
Stain applicator (rag or cheesecloth)
Wood stain in cherry color
Pre-stain wood conditioner
Proper sanding is one of the most important steps in a quality wood-finishing job. Begin with the mid-grade sandpaper, No. 120. Sand the entire surface to be stained, in the direction of the grain. This can be done by hand, although a power sander may be easier for larger pieces. Then sand with the finer sandpaper, No. 220. Remove all of the sanding dust using a dry cloth or handheld vacuum. Pay special attention to end-grain areas as well as any area that may contain dried glue from the object's construction. Check the smoothness by rubbing the sock across the sanded area. If the sock snags, the area has not been thoroughly sanded.
Using the sponge or a clean cloth, wipe down the wood with the mineral spirits to remove grit, grime and any remaining sanding dust. To determine whether the wood is hard or soft, press a fingernail into the surface. If you leave an indentation, it is soft wood, so you should use the pre-stain conditioner. You may want to use a conditioner on end-grain areas, regardless of wood type.
Use the rag or cheesecloth to apply the cherry stain to the sanded surface, making sure to go with the grain. Allow the stain to dry completely. If you want a darker color, apply a second coat.
Apply a coat of finish to protect the wood. The type you use depends on whether the item will be used inside or outside, as well as how much wear and tear it will receive. Polyurethane finishes are the most popular. Combination stains/finishes are also available, although they are best for smaller items.