Oil Finish with dye for new maple?

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Forum topic by JayPique posted 09-28-2009 11:53 PM 5395 views 1 time favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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61 posts in 3250 days

09-28-2009 11:53 PM

I’m making some open cabinets out of new maple, and would like to impart a bit of the aged look to it using a tung oil finish. I’m wondering if I can use a water based aniline dye first, and then apply the tung oil normally? Or would I be better off trying to add some dye to the tung oil itself?

Thanks much.


5 replies so far

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 3777 days

#1 posted 09-29-2009 12:29 AM

I don’t know if this will help, but, we regularly used a water based dye (don’t know if it is an aniline dye or not.) Then we put duraseal over that.

I’m not sure how much the dye affects the finish really. But I don’t question the process since it gives me one of my favortie finishes.

I do know that the dye we use ends up looking really splotchy on maple. Try a couple of samples first.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View CharlesNeil's profile


2385 posts in 3832 days

#2 posted 09-30-2009 12:50 AM

the dye under oil is fine…but you really need to be concerned with blotching , maple is one of the worst, you may want to get some waterbased finish and use a 50/50 mix of finish and water as a blotch control coat first, but please test , you may need two coats…and let it dry, it will also diminish the color you get from the dye and it may take several coats to get the color, an alternative would be to use a gel stain , its the least blotchy,another choice would be to use some general finish natural stain ( blotch control, ) and use one of their waterbased stains, they are very thick and act almost like a gel stain, but because they are water based you can let one coat dry and then recoat and get more and much greater intensity in color..oil based gels dont do this as well…again test samples are a must…maple can go south in a heart beat,,,an alternative is to spray light coats of the dye, this way the softer grains cannot absorb more than the harder grains ( blotching), but again light coats…wiping allows the soft grains to drink up more than the harder, thus the blotch…in any case where you have to use blotch control , the oil will not be absorbed as much as if it is not used…what you are wanting to do is one of the more difficult things in finishing maple…so tread carefully and test test test…

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3162 days

#3 posted 09-30-2009 02:05 AM

I’ll have to add this, Any stain darker than a mocha toffee is going to give you problems with maple and color. I have been in the cabinet business for more than 10 yrs. and have yet to find a practical way to stain maple any darker than the mocha toffee. There are ways to stain maple but for me the require too much time and there is always too much room for something else to happen.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3729 days

#4 posted 09-30-2009 03:53 AM

I use water base aniline dyes and apply an oil finish over it all the time. No problems…

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Grapegravy's profile


6 posts in 3123 days

#5 posted 10-01-2009 05:10 AM

October 2008 of Fine Woodworking has a good article in it about finishing without blotching – in cherry..which is similarly prone to blotching. They recommend a 1-lb cut of dewaxed shellac (for example, dilute Zinsser bulls eye sealcoat with 50% denatured alcohol) to seal it, followed by a light 320-grit sanding prior to a gel coat of stain. I followed their recommendations on cherry with superb results. Test some pieces and you may find the same results…

I built a cabinet with straight tung oil finish (pure tung oil) last year….It darkened up a little over the last 12 mos., but to be honest, the pure tung oil was a pain, since it took so long to cure. The complete finishing process took about 6 weeks. If you’re using pure tung oil and not the “Formby’s tung oil finish” type of products, expect it to take a while to get a good finish…That is the last time I’m going to use pure tung oil because of the wait :).

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