How to finish a Bed

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Hello all. I’m fairly new to wood working, doing mainly smaller projects – cutting boards, frames, etc….. Which I typically just finished with an oil. I’m working on my 1st big project, a platform bed. I’m using cherry with some walnut accents. My questions are on best/suggested ways to finish it.

Other than enhancing the color, do stains have any benifits or drawbacks? I’ve done a couple of test pieces and my wife likes the look of adding stain. I tried a couple of different colors and surprisingly she liked cherry stain on the cherry and walnut On the walnut. She thought it gave it a richer warmer look.

I have a small basement shop and will not be spraying the finish. What types of finishes would you suggest? I still have a couple of weeks before I’ll start onthe finish so can still experiment with samples as needed. Will the wood darken naturally without the stain? If I do stain it, what do you recommend for sealing protecting the wood? Remember it must be a wipe on product.


Cherry will darken on its own naturally, it will take about a year to reach full richness and patina. It cannot be improved upon, do not stain cherry.

Bondo Gaposis

I used to work in office furnishings and remember some really beautiful cherry desks. I’ve never seen walnut and cherry together but expect its lovely. Post pics!

Don’t stain the cherry…let it stain itself. It might take a while but it will darken A LOT and the result is quite beautiful.

-- Alec (Friends call me Wolf, no idea why)

I’m not a big fan of staining period. I’d much rather look at the natural wood, but you have to appease those you are building for (especially your wife). If it were me, I’d purchase Alder since it is less expensive, but looks similar enough to cherry, and stain that instead. Another thing you might try is to set the cherry out in the sun for a few hours, flipping it half way. the sun will darken the cherry slightly, and may be enough to get the warmth your wife is looking for. Good luck! Can’t wait to see the results, no matter which way you go!

For a finish you might try Danish oil as you have experience with oil finishes. It also comes colored so no need to stain it first.


Yep, I second the motion on Danish oil. Here’s a Garden of Innocence urn I did in cherry and walnut with Watco brand Danish Oil on it. The oil comes in several colors. This one is called "natural "

+1 for danish oil. It’s what I reach for every time. I also like the natural color. No need for additional s stains on most things.

Losing fingers since 1969

Thanks for responses. Danish oil it is!