1. Instead of using IKEA doors, we cut new ones in some American Cherry Wood Veneered panels. (We bought one of the cheapest IKEA door and used it as a template).
Tip: We used a track saw but you can get the panels cut to your specs by your retailer.
2. We covered the exposed edges of the veneered panels with real cherry pre-glued banding. (hours of sanding and buffing).
3. Then, we drilled holes in our doors to reuse the original IKEA door hinges.
4. We covered left and right sides of the PAX modules with additional cherry panels.
5. The panels leading to the walk-in were made deeper to form a corridor. We made additional panels for more storage over the “secret passage”.
6. After that, we glued a cherry veneer sheet to the base of the PAX modules to hide what was not covered by the doors. That veneer was not pre-glued so we used contact-cement.
7. Now, on to the finishing.
American Cherry Wood has very interesting properties. It darkens as soon as it is in contact with light.
Any finishing product makes it instantly dark and reveals interesting contrasts. We tried a dozen of products on prototypes and the most stunning was a real Shellac (see picture). It is a natural product, dries very fast and the color is wonderful.
8. We decided not to install knobs on the doors. IKEA push buttons work perfectly and allowed us to keep our design very clean.
Additional insights from our cherry wood closet:
Cut adjacent doors in the same panel for a perfect match
Choose your panels by yourself (insist to the salesperson)
Buy panels that are from the same production batch: for two consecutive panels in the pile, the pattern should match!
Never leave cherry exposed to light before you finished them as the color will change very fast (a few hours) and your panels won’t match anymore.
Our others wood furnitures were not made from cherry. The MinWax dye company has a color called “Cherry” that gives regular wood the color you get when you apply a clear coat to cherry.