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Old 07-10-2017, 09:17 PM   #1
alwaysinshorts
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Default Staining wood?

I can build almost anything out of wood but when it comes to staining I think a 5year old can do a better job. I have a stand that is going into my office at work that I want to stain. It is made of maple with a birch back that was purchased with a high gloss finish already on the birch. The maple is however unfinished.


Please help me!!! What do I need to do and how can I make it look good? I have watched 40 or so videos on YouTube and they all seem easy but they are no different that what I have done in the past and the stain and finish are always terrible. Please help!!!
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:31 PM   #2
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Wipe on even. Let sit and wipe off with clean rag reapply to darken. . Spray top coat urethane and sand in between coats.
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:17 PM   #3
alwaysinshorts
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I have done just that and the look is never good. Any other tips?
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:35 PM   #4
Lazyman
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You need to use a wood conditioner first..It will help even out the stain..It still may not be 100% uniform but it should make it a lot better..
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Old 07-11-2017, 05:00 AM   #5
masonred
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wood conditioner!!
Have a test piece, see how the wood responds on the back or if you have a scrap when you make it. When testing wipe on heavy and time when you wipe excess stain off in sections, 1st immediately, then 30 seconds and judge for another 30 seconds or a minute. Depending on stain color desired etc you might wipe off as soon as applied or wait 5 minutes. Good luck and finish is the part of projects I don't enjoy.
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Old 07-11-2017, 05:25 AM   #6
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I'd also recommend trying a different type of stain. I've had better results with a water based stain.
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:37 AM   #7
Texastaxi
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If I want say, a dark walnut stain ... I build the piece out of walnut!

IMO, staining looks cheap, and I'm not good at it either.
I have a cabinet full of stain, but I haven't used any in years.
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texastaxi View Post
If I want say, a dark walnut stain ... I build the piece out of walnut!

IMO, staining looks cheap, and I'm not good at it either.
I have a cabinet full of stain, but I haven't used any in years.
What's your flavor then? Just a clear coat?
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:47 AM   #9
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Sand it all first. You will find the thing probably has nicks all over it. Then wipe the entire piece down with paint thinner to clean/make sure all the grain looks good, then let dry, then stain as mentioned above.

Personally, I brush poly. But if you have access to an air compressor, spray it. Just make sure you cover everything.
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeak View Post
What's your flavor then? Just a clear coat?
I typically spray 3 or 4 coats of Deft Brushing Lacquer, in satin; sanding with 600 grit between first and second coats.

If I need something more durable, I'll do the same with Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac.

So yes, just a clear sealer/top coat.
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:01 AM   #11
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Maple is tough it doesn't take the stain evenly. The conditioner is goin to be your best bet.
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:38 AM   #12
kribbz
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x3, 4 or 10 on the conditioner. That stuff rocks. But you will get some inconsistency in the stain.

I'm with Texastaxi, if you want it to be nice and uniform use whatever wood your trying to "stain" the wood to look like. Then just some clear coats and you have a beautiful piece.
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Old 07-11-2017, 10:31 AM   #13
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IMO a lot of people screw up the staining process by not doing what I would call a complete sanding process. After you have it sanded the way you want it, go over it with a damp rag. The water will raise the wood fibers and you can go over it a gain with a fine paper to make the surface smooth as glass.

Not sure why but stain always looks better when I take this extra step in my sanding process.
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Old 07-11-2017, 10:42 AM   #14
jlp04c
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another note on staining.. Especially for craft stuff:
When you are sanding, sand the face grain to whatever your desired smoothness for the piece (say 220 grit) then sand the edge/end grains one step higher (320 grit). this will uniform the grain and the stain wont be darker etc on the the edges. I am with others though, I've gotten to where I only apply clear coats, or rubbed oil finishes, and make the piece out of the color I want it to be.
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Old 07-11-2017, 11:14 AM   #15
alwaysinshorts
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all good advice. I will start the sanding process this weekend. I should be done with it this weekend also. I will also start to test some of the scrap wood that i have with various colors that i like. And because this is going to hold up a fish tank i will end up putting Bulls Eye Shellac as i have a large can of it still from other projects.

I would like to spray the stain and the shellac on if at all possible. I have a 30 gallon compressor so it isn't the 5 foot talk one that you can run power tools on. Will this be large enough to spray with? I have actually tried it in the past as i bought a cheap can but it didn't really look good and to be honest i don't know if the spray was correct or not.

What do you guys suggest with regards to the proper sprayer? i know that spraying would not only give me a more even coat but also be much quicker. And to be honest i am all about being quick which is probably why my previous staining looks like crap.
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Old 07-11-2017, 01:21 PM   #16
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I use a cheap HVLP sprayer from Harbor Freight. It doesn't have to be an automotive grade gun; just something to lay down the liquid. I've used everything from a little Porter Cable pancake compressor, to a 60 gallon compressor. The pressure and volume isn't that demanding, so it doesn't take much. You may want to stop occasionally to let the small compressor catch up.

I've never sprayed stain so I can't tell you how that'll work. I only spray the top coat.
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Old 07-11-2017, 01:53 PM   #17
alwaysinshorts
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on Youtube the guys that own large cabinet shops generally spray their stains on, it is only the smaller guys that brush it on. I have watched both and the guys that spray make it look so easy and fast. The drying time is the same but the application period is so much faster. With a spray they can finish (one coat) of stain in a couple of minutes while the guy that brushes it on take 30 minutes.
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Old 07-20-2017, 08:41 AM   #18
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In addition to staining the bare wood, you may also consider tinting your topcoats, if you are using spray equipment. I have applied some "vintage" tints to several projects and it helped darken hard maple.


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Old 07-20-2017, 10:48 PM   #19
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Your problem is that you have finished and unfinished wood. They won't dye or stain the same color. The finished wood has been sealed, not only the surface but some of the subsurface has also been sealed. I doubt if you will ever get it all off. Any place that is still sealed will stain differently than unfinished wood.

The unstained, unfinished wood, the stain choice is determined by the look you want. I cheat, I used diluted alcohol based Fiebings Leather dye. Diluting it with DNA will let you start with a light color, and if you want it darker, do it again. The alcohol based Fiebings doesn't seal the wood, you can add more coats for darker look.

But again, you will probably get botchy looking results if trying it on sealed wood. It dyes the actual wood fibers,

The good part about Fiebings is you can mix colors and get all kinds of results. Done right a mix of brown, mahogany and oxblood dye can look like old cherry wood. Want grain highlights, dye with a dark brown, then sand back and dye with a lighter color. But all of this takes practice, and some experience. If you try it, take notes so you remember what the ratios and colors were.
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