Building My Entertainment Center #5: A set back on using dye stain.

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Blog entry by Ken90712 posted 05-09-2011 08:39 PM 10650 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Thx for the math Sam on making Ovals for my top Part 5 of Building My Entertainment Center series Part 6: Problem on the Top fixed and making progress. »

I watched the Woodwhisper dye video using the 7 parts Orange & 4 parts Med Brown dye stain by General Finishes. I love the color. I am making an Entertainment Center out of Ash Plywood for the case & Knotty Alder for the top, drawer and raised panel doors. I used Charles Neil blotch control 2 coats like recommended.

For the life of me, I could not get this color to stop streaking or looking uneven on both the plywood and solid wood. I was applying it with a sponge brush. I wipe it with a cotton cloth once penetrated. I have thought about using a roller but once I wipe it I feel it will still streak. Then I tried a staining pad as well no help. I then used my HVLP to spray the top, which was a big improvement. However, it still did not look as good as I wanted.

Saturday I got frustrated on how bad it looked and decided to re-do the whole top. I grabbed some 40 grit and started sanding. This was not fast enough, so out came the hand plane and I stated over. Three hours later, I had it sanded to a final 180 grit. Charles Neil who has been helping me along with others recommended stopping here on soft wood. I applied 2 coats of blotch control and sprayed 3 coats of stain on it. Finally, it looks nice.

I have learned using dyes that when there dry they look dull until you get some shellac on them and apply a topcoat finish on them.

I have never had this much trouble finishing a project….But Live and Learn. So what do we do when things are going bad and we want to feel better? We buy a new tool in this house… LOL

Therefore, I bought the Earlex 5500 Turbine sprayer from

After watching Charles Neil and the Woodwhisper video’s on them, Blondie told me I should up grade my Rockler HVLP. This has now been listed for sale on here and EBay.

Here are some pics on how it looks now you can look at this other page top see the before pics

Thx for the help and looking.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

8 comments so far

View DonH's profile


495 posts in 2815 days

#1 posted 05-09-2011 08:41 PM

Hi Ken

Sorry to hear you had to go back to square one with the finish. Character building experience I am sure.


-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3753 days

#2 posted 05-09-2011 08:44 PM

Looks really great, Ken. At least you got a new tool out of the whole experience- can’t be all bad!

Do you think I can get your wife to explain, to my wife, about the new tool rule?


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3986 days

#3 posted 05-09-2011 08:44 PM

Looks good now!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10097 posts in 4050 days

#4 posted 05-09-2011 10:12 PM

Looking really good!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View degoose's profile


7233 posts in 3352 days

#5 posted 05-09-2011 11:17 PM

When the going gets tough the tough go shopping… no no that is no right ….the tough get going… good to see you forced your way through the trials and tribulations of dyeing and got a good result at the end…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View tdv's profile


1188 posts in 3068 days

#6 posted 05-10-2011 09:21 AM

That looks great now it’s always worth seeing it through isn’t it? & it’s part of the learning curve. Good Job!

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2652 days

#7 posted 05-12-2011 10:12 PM

Ken, great recovery! Well done. It is very interesting to put dye on and see how ugly it is until you apply a clear coat. Every time I use dye, on the final project (after doing test samples) I always cringe at how ugly the colored wood is.

After 11 years of doing this as a professional cabinet/furniture shop (and about 30 years as a hobby) I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to lay down dye is to spray it in VERY light coats with an HVLP spray building up to the color you want. You end up putting on such light coats the you wonder if you are really progressing. Believe me, you are. Because it dries so fast, you can apply subsequent coats in a matter of minutes. If using water based dyes, I would suggest spraying the wood with water to get the grain raising out of the way, then spray the dye.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View Ken90712's profile


17556 posts in 3187 days

#8 posted 05-13-2011 10:08 AM

DLCW , thx for the reply and info. You have hit it in the head about the dye looking bad until clear coat. I agree that when using dye’s from now on I will spray it. I just upgraded my HVLP to the new Earlex 5500, it should be here any day. I have been using the water to raise the grain as you have mentioned as well.

I just bought the book on finishing that everyone suggests, ” UNDERSTANDING WOOD FINISHING by BOB FLEXNER” Was reading last night and thus far really happy I bought this.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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