Reply by live4ever

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Posted on Espresso color on maple wood

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983 posts in 3004 days

#1 posted 12-15-2012 07:52 PM

If I was going for a very dark color, here’s what I would do (and have done many times):

Use gel stain (doesn’t penetrate as deeply; gel sits on the surface). Seal it with shellac. You can certainly use a pre-stain sealer (e.g. shellac or other products), but they limit how dark you can stain the wood.

Add dye to your topcoats. It’s a bit of trial and error. This way you’re adding more color / darkening as you add the topcoats, and this can even out and tone some of the blotchiness you got from your staining. The downside is you might lose some grain clarity. However, you can sort of tweak as you go and switch to clear topcoats once you’ve achieved the color you want. I often will use 2-3 coats of tinted topcoat, then switch to clear for the final 2. This is dependent on how much dye you are mixing into the topcoats and how dark you’re trying to go. As Dan says, definitely best to spray.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

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