Three Popular Amish Furniture Wood Stain Colors

Beth Rice 15/12/2022

Wood stain colors can make or break the look of wood furniture, and choosing one is a big decision. Stain colors enhance the beauty of the wood grain pattern, they pull together the color tones of the room, and they transform the look of the wood. Working with solid wood Amish furniture, we are well acquainted with wood stains and their effects on different wood types.

We’re often asked what the most popular stain colors are and which stains work best with which wood types. Both are reasonable questions to expect from makers of solid wood furniture, and the process of customizing furniture comes with wood and stain samples matched with expertise from an Amish furniture specialist. While choosing stain colors for wood furniture is specific to each person’s vision and preferences, we do have three popular wood stain colors that are used quite often. They are Michael’s Cherry, Asbury and Onyx wood stains.

Amish Rockefeller Mission Panel Bed
Amish Rockefeller Mission Panel Bed in quarter sawn white oak wood with Michael’s cherry stain.

Before we take a look at them, lets’ review why stain color and varnish are important to a piece of solid wood furniture.

Here at DutchCrafters, once the wood furniture is custom built in an Amish woodworking shop, it is moved to a local finish shop. Here it will be finished with a PCL stain, followed by a topcoat of catalyzed conversion varnish. The majority of stains they use for indoor furniture come from the PCL collection.

PCL stands for Preferred Color List. This list contains standardized stain colors for wood that Amish craftsmen have found work the best with a variety of wood types, complimenting the wood and bringing out the most natural beauty. Each wood type has its own unique characteristics and not every wood type looks best with all stain colors. That’s why not all PCL stains are offered on every wood type.

Amish Milwaukee Mission Chest of Drawers
Amish Mission Milwaukee Chest of Drawers in quarter sawn white oak wood with Asbury brown stain.

The Wood Furniture Finishing Process

Vital to bringing solid wood furniture to its optimum glory is the finishing process. It requires skill and expertise to apply stain properly. This ever-important finishing process in an Amish woodshop goes like this:

Sanding: All joints, corners and surfaces are sanded smooth, using sandpaper with elbow grease or sanding belts for large surfaces.

Stain application: Once sanding is completed, the stain color is applied. It’s important to note that stain applies the color to the wood—sometimes it can be confused with what comes next, which is the top coat of varnish. Woodworkers carefully spray on the stain, then use cloths to rub it in by hand. The wood absorbs a good amount of stain to bring out the grain pattern. The rest is wiped off.

Amish Xcell Round End Table
The Amish Xcell Round End Table in brown maple wood with top in storm grey stain and rim and base in onyx stain.

Drying: Next, the stain is given time to dry, often overnight. Once it’s dry, woodworkers inspect it again to see if further sanding is needed.

Finish: The last step involves the finish, which is sometimes confused with the stain. The stain adds the color, whereas the finish is a topcoat of catalyzed conversion varnish that seals and protects the furniture. The finish is a clear coat of protection from scratches and heat.

Without further ado, here is is more information on the three popular Amish furniture stain colors for wood furniture: Michael’s cherry, Asbury brown and onyx.

Michael’s Cherry Stain

Michael's Cherry Stain

Michael’s cherry is just about the most popular stain color used for Amish wood furniture. It is more of a golden color, even though cherry makes us think of red shades.

  • Brightens gold and red tones to enrich wood grain
  • Looks beautiful on most wood types
  • Used by all Amish finish shops
Amish Bunker Hill Flat Wall TV Stand
Amish Bunker Hill Flat Wall TV Screen in quarter sawn white oak wood with Michael’s cherry stain.
Amish Wood Grove Round End Table
Amish Wood Grove End Table in rustic cherry wood with Michael’s cherry stain.

Asbury Brown Stain

Asbury Stain

Asbury brown is a popular medium brown color.

  • Medium brown color tone
  • Available in Light Asbury (a light brown with gold hues) or Asbury brown (a darker brown tone)
Amish Acadia Curio Cabinet
Amish Stallings Curio Cabinet in brown maple wood with Asbury stain.
Amish Country Shaker Chair
Amish Country Shaker Chair in brown maple wood with Asbury brown stain.

Onyx Stain

Onyx Stain

Onyx is one of the darkest stains offered.

  • Deep, rich brown that may appear black depending on lighting
  • Fits both traditional and modern design schemes
  • Often used in two-tone finishes (with another finish)
  • Nice choice for brown maple wood
Amish Albany Single Pedestal Table
Amish Albany Single Pedestal Dining Table in cherry wood with Michael’s cherry stain for top and Onyx stain for base.
Amish Cosgrove Swivel Bar Stool
Amish Goffstown Swivel Barstool in brown maple wood with onyx stain and pearl fabric.

While these are popular furniture wood stain colors, they are just a few of the many offered. When choosing a stain color, we highly recommend ordering stain samples to work with and enlisting the help of a furniture specialist. They can make sure to connect you to all the stain color options that would look best on your new wood furniture.

Which of these popular Amish furniture wood stain colors is your favorite?

Related Posts
5 Questions About Wormy Maple Wood

Have you heard about wormy maple wood? It’s got a fascinating little story that took it from a wood that Read more

Cherry vs. Oak for Wood Furniture

Curious about cherry and oak and how they compare? We’re back with another wood type comparison with cherry versus oak Read more

Cherry vs. Walnut Wood for Furniture

We take another close look at comparing wood types, and this time it’s cherry versus walnut wood for furniture. Two Read more

Oak vs. Brown Maple: How They Compare for Wood Furniture

It’s time for oak versus brown maple, where we’ll take on the two least expensive hardwood types that offer a Read more

About the Author

Leave a Reply