I have been working on a pair of nightstands for a while now and I’ve been trying to sort out what stain to use on them. They are quartersawn white oak and reproduction Stickleys so I wanted a nice older look. I started digging around in magazines, books, online, etc… and I found some great resources – like Captain Skully's forum post. Unfortunately, viewing something over the net always makes it appear a bit “off” to me. So I decided that I needed to prototype some of the stains.
Being a very methodical person by nature, I decided to create a list of all known mission/sticklye/arts & crats stain recipes I could find (excluding ammonia-tenting recipes). A selection follows:
- Transtint medium brown dye and Shellac: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/22953
- GF Special Walnut stain and Watco Walnut: http://blog.woodworking-magazine.com/blog/Authentic+Arts+Crafts+Finish.aspx
- Transtint Golden Brown, GF Brown Mahogany Gel Stain, Two Coats Zinsser Sealcoat, rub out w/ steel wool and Behlen’s Wool Lube: http://www.finewoodworking.com/SkillsAndTechniques/SkillsAndTechniquesPDF.aspx?id=31287
- Transtint Dark Mission Brown, 1LB Amber Shellac, GF Antique Walnut, Arm-R-Seal: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/22767
- Antique Cherry Aniline Dye, Dry Overnight, Dark Walnut Oil-based stain, polyurethane: http://www.finewoodworking.com/morris-chair-video-preview/
After I looked over these I saw a few patterns forming. Since I had never used Trans-Tint dyes before, I decided to come up with a sample board to test out all the different recipes I could think of:
I then selected a decent board and tried every one of them.
As you can see, I numbered everything to cross reference to my list.
Once I found a recipe I liked, I decided to complete one board with just that forumla so I knew what it looked like on a larger scale. I picked #13 – General Finishes Spiced Walnut, followed by Amber Shellac, followed by Dark Walnut Watco. I then topped it off with satin Arm-R-Seal.
I was pleased with the final product:
-- Brian - Belmont, Massachusetts