Does Cherry Wood Take Stain Well? | Best Cherry Wood Stain

Cherrywood, one of the American hardwoods from the cherry tree, is a highly flexible wood to work with because it can easily bend and be carved into different wood furniture.

Apart from this, it has a straight grain pattern that makes it come out beautiful when stained. Hence, staining your cherry wood furniture is a good option. 

But, not to worry, this article has made available the necessary information needed to stain your cherry furniture successfully. Some are the 8 best stains for cherrywood and how to stain cherry without blotching, among others.

SaleBestseller No. 1
HOWARD RF08 Products Restor-A-Finish, 8 oz, Cherry, 8 Fluid Ounces
1,091 Reviews
HOWARD RF08 Products Restor-A-Finish, 8 oz, Cherry, 8 Fluid Ounces
  • Restor-A-Finish is a unique finish-penetrating formula that restores wood finishes while blending out minor scratches, blemishes and abrasions
  • Available in nine colors to match almost any wood finish tone; Neutral, Maple-Pine, Golden Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Mahogany, Dark Walnut, Dark Oak, and Ebony Brown
  • With a simple wipe-on, wipe-off process, most finished wood surfaces that seem to need a complete refinishing job can be restored in a few minutes
SaleBestseller No. 2
1 qt Minwax 70009 Cherry Wood Finish Oil-Based Wood Stain
13,483 Reviews
1 qt Minwax 70009 Cherry Wood Finish Oil-Based Wood Stain
  • RICH EVEN COLOR – Minwax Wood Finish is a deep penetrating, oil-based wood stain that provides beautiful color and enhances the natural wood grain in one coat. It’s perfect for interior staining projects such as wood furniture, cabinets, doors and more.
  • QUICK DRYING – Staining interior wood has never been quicker. The special formula allows it to deeply penetrate wood pores within 5 minutes of application, resists lapping, and dries in two hours, making all your wood projects quick, beautiful and easy.
  • EASY TO APPLY – Use a clean cloth or wood stain brush to apply this wood stain in the direction of the grain. Wait 5-15 minutes and wipe away excess stain. The longer you wait, the darker/richer the color. Reapply coats for deeper color.
Bestseller No. 3
SamaN Interior Water Based Wood Stain - Natural Stain for Furniture, Moldings, Wood Paneling & Cabinets (Cherry TEW-113-12, 12 oz)
2,528 Reviews
SamaN Interior Water Based Wood Stain - Natural Stain for Furniture, Moldings, Wood Paneling & Cabinets (Cherry TEW-113-12, 12 oz)
  • 20 YEARS OF NORTH-AMERICAN EXCELLENCE: SamaN is the preferred choice of professional woodworkers and DIYers in North America. We promote greener products and help the integration of people with intellectual disabilities and pervasive development disorder.
  • SAFE & NATURAL PRODUCT: Odorless, risk free for health of the users, pets and the environment.
  • HIGH-QUALITY PRODUCT: Durable stain that protects and elevates wood’s beauty for all your renovation, decoration or DIY projects.
SaleBestseller No. 4
Varathane 262009 Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain, Quart, Black Cherry
7,939 Reviews
Varathane 262009 Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain, Quart, Black Cherry
  • Ideal for use on all interior wood projects: furniture, cabinets, doors, trim and paneling
  • One-coat coverage, fast-drying oil based formula
  • Dries to the touch in just 1 hour and covers up to 275 square feet
SaleBestseller No. 5
Howard Products RF9016 RF3016 Restor-A-Finish, 16 oz, Cherry
12,283 Reviews
Howard Products RF9016 RF3016 Restor-A-Finish, 16 oz, Cherry
  • Restor-A-Finish is a unique finish-penetrating formula that restores wood finishes while blending out minor scratches, blemishes and abrasions
  • Available in nine colors to match almost any wood finish tone; Neutral, Maple-Pine, Golden Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Mahogany, Dark Walnut, Dark Oak, and Ebony Brown
  • With a simple wipe-on, wipe-off process, most finished wood surfaces that seem to need a complete refinishing job can be restored in a few minutes
Does Cherry Wood Take Stain Well?
Does Cherry Wood Take Stain Well?

Is Cherry Hard to Stain?

This straight closed-grain reddish-brown with golden undertones cherrywood is one of the easy hardwoods to stain even though it tends to blotch as it is being stained. Cherry wood absorbs stain well with its fine pore structure, but few of these pores are slightly larger, hence blotchy staining.

Cherry is not hard to stain. Other hardwoods like maple and poplar get more blotchy, and stains are still beautifully applied to them. With the right cherry wood stain, you can easily use stain on your cherry furniture.

What Types of Stain Work Best on Cherry Wood?

Seeing that the colors of cherry wood are slightly flashy, some woodworkers decided that the best stain for cherry wood is the one that just adds protection to the cherry wood while highlighting its gorgeous straight grain.

Examples are different types of oil (boiled linseed oil, tung oil, linseed oil stain), beeswax, lacquer, etc. However, there are great cherry color stains you can use to enhance the natural color of your cherry wood and other woods you wish to stain to look like cherrywood.

Examples of such colors of cherry stains are antique cherrytraditional cherry, and black cherry wood stain colors. More about these stains are discussed later.

How to Stain Cherry Wood?

Even though some people believe that staining cherry is very difficult, when the proper techniques are used, cherry wood is one of the woods that brings out the beauty of staining. You can use the steps below to stain your cherry wood with oil or cherry stain.

Tools You Need

  • Drop cloth
  • Wood finish stripper
  • Soap and water
  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Oil or cherry wood stain
  • Wood finish like varnish
  • Clean rag, etc.

Staining Cherry Wood Step by Step

Every wood has distinct features, such as pore structure and grain pattern. These features highly impact the effect of staining on such woods. Nevertheless, irrespective of the closely compacted raw wood grain pattern of cherry and its almost fine pore structure, if you follow the steps highlighted below, you will achieve a good staining outcome.

  • Preparing to stain
  • Preparing cherrywood surface
  • Applying the cherry wood stain or oil
  • Applying a topcoat

Step 1: Preparing to Stain

Wood stains contain chemicals and color pigments that can give unwanted stains to the wall and floors of your workplace. Hence, you should lay drop cloths on the floor and stain under a tarp to prevent this.

Also, protect yourself from inhaling toxic chemicals by using appropriate protective gear like hand gloves and respirators to cover yourself.

Step 2: Preparing Cherry Wood Surface

If your cherry furniture has an old finish, removing it with a wood stripper is preferable. Clean the wood with soap and water, then let it dry before you sand it. Cherry has a tremendous straight grain, but some of it swirls a bit.

But, do not attempt to smooth sand these curly grains with grit sandpaper above 220. Doing this seals off the pores and makes the cherry wood more blotchy. To reduce the blotchiness, apply a pre-stain wood conditioner following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 3: Applying the Cherry Wood Stain or Oil

Stir and mix the cherry wood stain well before you apply it using a brush, roller, or cloth. Apply it evenly and wipe off excess stains or oils. To get a darker hue, carry out wet sanding using 400 grit sandpaper before adding a second coat of cherry stain or oil.

Remove excess stains and let the cherry wood completely dry. If you want a darker cherry color tone, you should leave the excess stain on for a few minutes. However, it should not be more than 15 minutes as it makes cherry wood more susceptible to blotching.

Step 4: Applying a Top Coat to your cherry wood

If your cherry wood is located outdoor, where it will be exposed to varying weather elements like UV rays, rainfall, sunlight, and the like, you should give your cherry wood extra protection. Also, to prevent wear and tear, including quick cherry wood oxidization, finishing cherry wood with a sealant like polyurethane is advised.

A single coat of clear coat should be enough for finishing cherry wood. However, you should wait for at least 24 hours after the stained cherry wood is dry before applying a clear coat like varnish.

How Long Does Cherry Wood Need to Dry after Staining?

Generally, all stained wood requires a minimum of 24 hours period as a complete drying time. However, this stipulated time could be increased or reduced depending on the weather conditions and the cherry stain type. If the staining temperature is around 60 to 70°F, the drying time is fast.

However, if the temperature is low, the drying time of wood stains is elongated. On the other hand, some wood stains are quick-drying while others are not. This also affects the stain’s drying period after staining.

Is Cherry Wood Easy to Sand?

Yes, cherry wood sands quite quickly produce a smooth finish. All you need to do is sand along the straight grain. However, if the grit number of sandpaper used is too high, you might close up the pores of your cherrywood, making it hard for it to be well stained.

It is advisable to start the sanding process with 120 grit sandpaper, smooth sand with 220 grit, and then remove all traces of sand dust with mineral spirits.

How many layers of stain should you use on cherry wood floors?

The number of coats of cherry stain or oil needed depends on how dark you want your cherry wood floor to be colored, and the type of cherry stain utilized. However, to avoid blotchy staining, you should avoid applying 2-3 coats of cherry wood stains.

Apply thin coats uniformly. If this first coat is not producing the dark hue wanted, you might apply a second coat. But one coat should be enough because the color deepens as the first coat dries.

How Do You Stain a Cherry without Blotching It?

Staining cherrywood without blotching is achievable; many woodworkers utilize different methods to achieve that. One of these methods is to apply a washcoat on the cherrywood surface before applying the stain.

A washcoat is made by diluting or thinning a finish to contain only 10 percent of its concentration. Another method is to apply a pre-stain wood conditioner also before staining.

This wood conditioner fills up wood pores uniformly to enhance an even absorption of wood stain on the cherrywood surface. Another thing to do after staining, before applying a second coat is wet sand with 400 grit to prevent blotches.

Staining Cherry Wood Lighter

The cherry wood has a pale pink color that turns reddish-brown as it gets oxidized. Perhaps you do not want this deep reddish-brown color, you can sand it and apply a light stain to tone down the cherry wood’s natural color. All that is required is choosing a good stain with a light color.

Lighten Cherry Stained Wood

When applying a cherry stain on wood or any stain at all, it is better to quickly remove excess stains within 15 minutes of application to avoid sticky stains. Similarly, if you want a light cherry-stained wood, after applying the cherry wood stain, do not wait. Remove excess stains immediately.

However, if you have already applied a cherry stain with a dark intensity on your wood, the first thing to do is dip a clean rag inside a paint thinner like mineral spirits. Using even hand pressure, wipe the damped cloth on the dark cherry-stained wood along the wood grain to lighten it.

Change Cherry Wood to White

The technique normally used is the whitewashing technique. With other woods like oak that responds well to wood bleach, a wood bleach could have been applied before applying a white stain. However, cherry wood does not bleach well.

Hence, the best way to change your sweet cherry wood to white is by whitewashing. Whitewashing involves thinning a white latex-based paint with water in the ratio of 3:1 respectively and using it on the cherrywood.

However, before using it on your cherrywood endeavor to clean the surface of the wood thoroughly with the same part of vinegar and water to remove all dirt. After which, give your cherrywood plenty of time to dry before applying the paint.

Staining Cherry Wood Darker

Of course, just like most woods, cherry wood can be stained darker even though it blotches. You can stain cherry wood with dark wood stains like a dark walnut or black color following the required staining procedure.

However, staining natural cherry wood with a dark wood stain might prevent it from oxidizing into a deep reddish-brown color over time.

How Do You Darken Cherry Wood?

There are two ways to darken your natural cherry wood table. cherrywood is one of those woods that changes color naturally through oxidization. That is, a new pale pink cherrywood has to go through an oxidization process to become a beautiful reddish-brown wood.

Hence, to darken the slightly pink color of your natural cherry wood, expose it to sun rays and oxygen over 3 months and experience the color transformation. Change the position of the wood to ensure an even tan.

Another specific way to darken your cherry wood as mentioned earlier is by using a dark wood stain. To prevent blotches when staining, utilize a pre-stain wood conditioner.

What colors can cherry wood be Stained?


Like most hardwoods, oak is wood with high structural strength. However, most woods in the same categories do not have the same tree properties. Oak has high strength than cherry, cherry has more aesthetic appeal than oak.

Hence, if your wood project is about giving your cherrywood the natural look of oak it is a great option. However, the color variation of oakwood ranges from yellow to brownish red. Therefore, the type of oak color you want to change your cherrywood to should be a similar color.

For instance, giving your cherry a color change from reddish-brown to dark reddish-brown of an oakwood is quite easy compared to changing to a pale yellow oakwood.


Mahogany is a good wood with a natural color similar to that of cherry. They are almost the same color because they have the same red tone. Hence if your woodworking is on giving your cherry furniture a stained wood treatment of making it look like mahogany, it is possible.

If your cherry table still has that pale pink color, get it exposed to sunlight to darken it to reddish-brown color intensity naturally. However, you can easily choose one of the dark cherry finishes or mahogany finishes to achieve this dark brownish-red color.


Giving your cherry dresser a stain-wood treatment to have a natural color of walnut wood is possible, but the woodworking process is a little long. Prepare the surface of your cherry furniture by sanding to remove any form of scratches, unsightly marks, and dark or white heat rings.

Then, dye the cherrywood with a brown base color of walnut wood. Dyes are known for penetrating deep into the wood fibers to create a uniform color change.

Using shellac, seal in the dye before darkening this brown color with a toner. Seal again with shellac before adding a protective coating like varnish


In woodworking anything is possible. If you do not want to enhance the natural beauty of your cherry furniture with natural oil treatment like linseed oil made from the flax plant, finishing the cherry with a black wood stain is possible.

However, you should use a black cherry wood stain to achieve your desired woodworking color. How much stain you apply will determine how black your cherry wood will be.

Nevertheless, you can also use a trans-tint dye, but you should seal in the dye as you apply it before finishing the black stained cherry with an effective finish like varnish


Wood treatments like linseed oil and tung oil application are best for cherry finishing. However, in woodworking, you can explore different color options. Hence, giving your cherry furniture a gray appearance is possible however, you might have to mix colors to get a shade of gray on your cherry.

For a yellowish-gray hue, bleach off the red tone of your cherry, and then clean off with mineral spirits. Apply a gray stain without leaving brush marks, then apply a toner and a clear finish like varnish.

To get a gray cherry, you can also whitewash and apply a black dye. To deepen the gray shade, add a green dye also. Steel wool and vinegar can also be used.


From coffee brown, and medium brown to dark walnut brown, you can stain most woods with any brown color. Depending on the grade of your cherry wood table, you can achieve any shade of brown color using a brown wood stain.

However, cherry woods have a different brown look than some other woods unless the red color is extracted through bleach. Ensure the cherry table is uniformly sanded to a good texture before you stain the wood evenly. And then protect it with a clear finish like varnish.

Best Stain for Cherry Wood

Next, let’s take a look at which stains are suitable for finishing cherry wood?

Minwax 70009 Cherry Wood Finish Oil-Based Wood Stain

Instead of using wood finishes like linseed oil and tung oil on cherrywood, you can make use of this cherry oil wood stain. However, because cherry wood absorbs stain a little bit non-uniformly, blend the stain using a pre-stain wood conditioner to ensure an appearance that does not blotch.

This wood stain is recommended for use indoors and it is expected to be used on unfinished woods. That is, wood should be stripped of the existing finish and sanded before using this wood stain to ensure a suitable appearance.

With this stain, only one coat is needed, but to darken the cherry color, let the first coat dry within 2 – 4 hours before applying a second coat. It is a semi-transparent stain and sealer, hence, you might not necessarily utilize an extra wood sealer.

Minwax Wood Finish Stain
Minwax Wood Finish Stain


  • Penetrates well
  • Stains and seals
  • Easy to use
  • Short re-coating time.


  • Contain toxic substances
  • For interior use only.

HOWARD RF9008 RF008 Restor-A-Finish

Most woodworkers know Howard products as a good restoring wood finish. With this product, your wood doesn’t need to be sanded because it is designed to be used to restore wood finishes. Hence, you do not need to worry about your cherry wood getting blotchy.

This product is a unique finish that has a good penetrating formula and it can help blend out all blemishes and unsightly marks. And as it does, it gives your wood a cherry color. It gives a good scent and shine to refinished woods.

This finish is easy to use, it can be easily wiped with a rag or brush without causing a blotch. Furthermore, this refinishing oil removes watermarks, damage caused by smoke, sun fade, and oxidation.

HOWARD Cherry Finish


  • Restoring finish
  • Remove blemishes
  • Reduced blotching
  • Easy to use
  • Good scent


  • Contain chemicals

Hope’s Pure Tung Oil, Waterproof Natural Wood Finish, and Sealer

HOPE'S Tung Oil

This is one of the best wood finishes for cherry flooring. It contains no chemicals, multiple coats are unnecessary, and it does not blotch. This finish is one of the best oil finishes you can use as wood treatments on cherrywood.

This is because tung oil penetrates the wood pores and deeply protects the wood fibers. A tung oil lodges smoothly into all the uniform and tiny pores of cherry to give it a deep nice color tone. This tung oil contains no harmful volatile organic compounds.

This product is resistant to alcohol and moisture and it gives lasting protection more than other types of oil. It is easy to use with a rag, all you need to do is wipe the tung oil on the cherry flooring under normal temperature and let it cure.


  • 100% pure
  • Easy to apply
  • Waterproof
  • Good scent


  • No UV protection
  • Long curing time

LinSheen Boiled Linseed Oil – Fast Drying Flaxseed Wood Treatment

LinSheen Boiled Linseed Oil

This linsheen boiled linseed oil is fast-drying boiled linseed oil that enhances the wood grain and deeply protects the wood’s natural beauty. Depending on the weather conditions, it dries within some hours. However, this oil wood treatment needs to be maintained and re-applied annually.

It is easy to apply with a roller, brush, or cloth. However, good surface preparation is needed. Before using this linseed oil on your cherry flooring, you should clean the wood, sand lightly, and then apply this linseed oil stain.

To bring about fast drying of this boiled linseed oil and prevent a stained sticky surface, you should wipe away excess linseed oil within 15 minutes of application. This stain protects wood from sunlight and it is water-resistant.


  • Refinishing oil
  • Enhance wood grain
  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • Fast drying
  • Preserves and restores


  • Contains Toxic chemicals

Black Cherry – Rust-Oleum 241413 Varathane Oil-Based Interior Wood Stain

For woodworkers who would love to stain their cherry furniture black, this black cherry stain is for you. It is an easy-to-use oil-based interior cherry wood stain. The oil solvent of this stain is not made from linseed oil, but soya oil.

Hence, the color depth is very rich, and its penetration is superb. Also, it is made up of translucent pigments that are color-rich and that beautifully enhance every detail of the wood grain.

In addition, this stain is designed with an anti-settling formula which helps it greatly enhance the wood’s natural grain. This anti-settling formula also makes this black cherry stain work well without constantly stirring it as it is being applied.


  • Rich color
  • Deep penetration
  • Better grain enhancement
  • No constant stirring


  • For interior use only
  • Combustible
 Varathane/Rust-Oleum products

General Finishes Oil Based Penetrating Wood Stain, 1/2 Pint, Antique Cherry

This is another oil-based penetrating stain that gives an antique cherry color to wood, unlike dark cherry wood stain. It is formulated to help cherry wood accept stains evenly without getting blotchy.

In addition, it is easy to utilize with a clean cloth or brush. All you need is just wipe the stain on your wood. And, you can easily clean it with mineral spirits. This is a high-performance stain because it is made of high-quality pigments and resins.

However, it is formulated to only work on raw wood. Hence, you should prepare the surface of your wood and strip it off any finish and clean every form of dirt before using this stain. Furthermore, you can apply a water or oil-based top coat on this cherry wood stain.


  • High performing stain
  • High penetration
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to clean


  • Contains VOC
  • Sealer needed

Varathane 225246H One-Step Wood Stain & Polyurethane, Quart, Traditional Cherry

This is an oil-based stain with a polyurethane sealer. It is an interior-designed stain known to give woodworkers a smooth and deep rich red color like redwood. It makes woodworking and finishing fast enough to be concluded in one day because it dries crystal clear in 3 hours.

The polyurethane sealer provides a durable clear finish that is resistant to high-impact usage and water and gives semi-gloss sheens to applied wood. Also, It has high durability. Hence, it is long-lasting and is evenly applied without runs, brush marks, and lap marks.

In addition, it gives a coverage of 100 square feet per quart and it is easily applied with a brush and clothes and the poly top coat gives it a finishing shine and beauty. Apart, from this, you can quickly clean this oil-based stain with soap and water.


  • Scratch resistance
  • Rich color
  • Deep penetration
  • Easy to clean
  • Stain plus sealer
  • Fast drying


  • Non-exterior use
  • Toxic chemicals

Minwax PolyShades Wood Stain + Polyurethane Finish – Quart, Natural Cherry, Gloss

Here is a Minwax cherry stain plus polyurethane finish. You can use this stain as a colorant or a top coating because it is formulated to be used over polyurethane finishes. It also gives a rich and even color and it is durable with lasting protection.

Furthermore, this natural cherry-colored oil-based stain plus polyurethane gives an enhanced wood grain and is suitable for raw or finished wood use. It is easy to apply with a brush, roller, or clean cloth.

However, you must lightly sand the wood as you apply this stain and sealer. In addition, multiple coats of stains are not necessary and you can easily clean it up with mineral spirits.


  • No stripping required
  • No heavy sanding
  • High durability
  • Easy cleanup
  • Stain and sealer
  • Semi-glossy finish


  • Indoor use only
  • Combustible
polyshades wood stain

Tips for Staining Cherry Wood

Many woodworkers have different tips when it comes to staining slightly difficult woods like cherry. However, the first tip to note is personal safety and proper care of working tools. Most wood stains contain volatile organic compounds that are combustible.

Hence, all stain-soaked rags, brushes, and rollers should be properly cleaned before being used again. Do not just toss a used stain soaked rag anywhere, wash it before disposing it

Finally, some woodworkers recommend using dyes when woodworking with cherrywood, especially if you want to achieve a unique color on your cherrywood.

Also, to reduce blotchy staining, if you do not have a wood conditioner, you can thin your wood finish with paint thinner to produce a washcoat that can also prevent blotches when staining.

Final Words

Cherrywood just like its name is sweet wood to work with and the blotchy feature that some new DIY woodworkers complain about is an astounding staining feature of cherry wood if it is well managed. With a good cherry stain and varnish, a professional woodworker will effectively work on cherry wood projects without blotches.

Nevertheless, by following the cherry staining guidelines highlighted above and choosing the best wood stain and finish for your cherrywood piece of furniture, staining it becomes straightforward. However, stain with a mindset that your cherrywood will be stained well without getting blotchy and it won’t.

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