I’m designing a frame and panel made of cherry that has a curly maple onlay. The frame will be solid cherry about 7/8″ thick and the panel will be 1/2″ cherry veneer plywood. The panel will be placed in a 1/2″ rabbet on the backside of the frame pieces.
On the panel I’m going to place 1/8″ thick curly maple strips in a sort of free-form that mimics the look of birch trees. (Please pardon the poor interpretation in the image – my sketchup skills make it look more like palm trees than birches).
In terms of looks, I want the cherry (both frame and panel) to be pretty dark – a natural cherry look typically seen when finished with oil. However, the curly maple pieces I want to be very white – what I can accomplish easily with a water based poly (no oil to give any amber). I don’t mind, and would actually prefer, to put the final coat(s) of finish on the whole thing to give a uniform gloss (thinking pretty shiny for the final finish).
So, the question is: How would you finish this? What would be the steps in building (pre-finish?), application of finish and types of finish?
To start things off, here is what I’m contemplating. Put blue tape on the panel and lay the curly maple pieces in place. Use a razor knife to carefully cut out the blue tape into the shape of the maple pieces. Finish the cherry with an oil/varnish blend (my goto for cherry), avoiding the taped-off sections. Meanwhile, finish the curly maple with a water-based poly. Remove tape, glue on curly maple onlay.
Unfortunately not sure if/what I can apply as a topcoat to the whole piece at that point? And plus that’s some tricky taping, cutting, etc – not looking forward to that.
I’d really appreciate thoughts and comments on this one to help me out.