No, I wouldn’t pre-condition your project. I’ve seen great value in applying pre-conditioning liquids to softwood with high resin contents because it evens out stain absorption and colour. Without pre-conditioning on most pine, for instance, you get blotchy results. But since hardwoods don’t contain resins, that won’t be a problem for you with this project. If in doubt, prepare some samples on scrap wood and see what the difference is. I suspect the pre-conditioned surfaces will be lighter, though the colour will be just as even compared with the non-conditioned sample. If you’ve never stained cherry before, there’s an advantage to the process that you might not realize. Although cherry turns a rich brown colour with exposure to light, there are sometimes areas of light-coloured sap wood that will never darken. Applying stain to cherry projects evens out these light areas, boosting the consistency and richness of the surface.
In general, should all woods, including hardwoods, be pre-conditioned before staining?
I’m making a small hall bench using maple and cherry wood, and I have a question about finishing. I intend to colour the whole thing with a cherry stain. Is it necessary to pre-condition the wood first?