Dark, Rich Cherry Finish with Household Products
Drain cleaner, roofing tar, and shellac team up for a foolproof finish.
Synopsis: Tim Puro will stack his favorite cherry finish up against all kinds of fancy finish recipes. It is accomplished in three steps, with three common products: 100% lye drain cleaner mixed with distilled water, non-fibered roofing tar mixed with mineral spirits, and SealCoat dewaxed shellac right out of the can.
Students often ask me to name my favorite cherry finish. I tell them that there’s nothing wrong with using a clear, oil-based finish on this popular hardwood, but I know another finish that imparts deep, rich color and more depth. Better yet, it consists of common products, all available from the local hardware store or home center: lye (in the form of drain cleaner), asphaltum (from roofing tar), and SealCoat shellac.
These inexpensive products darken cherry and highlight the grain in a way that no dye, stain, or oil can on its own, creating depth and color that attracts…