Oak Stools - Darkening Stain

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Forum topic by Mugsy posted 08-20-2015 02:54 AM 476 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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44 posts in 752 days

08-20-2015 02:54 AM

Built these for someone else, and they want them to go with some other furniture they have in the dining room. They have a reddish tint and are fairly dark brown. I took a scrap piece of oak and put some red oak stain and then put espresso over it (both Minwax oil based stains). I just left them on for a couple of minutes before wiping them off.

They were happy with the tone but wanted it darker. I didn’t assume that would be a problem, since I didn’t leave the stain on for very long on the test piece. Surely it would come up deeper and darker leaving it on for the full 15-20 minutes.

So I put the first cost on (red oak) and was very happy with the color. Then, I put the espresso over it and it didn’t darken up the way I’d hoped. I read in one of these threads that the stain has a sealing agent in it. Had I known that, I’d have put the darker stain first. I planned on using two coats of the darker color but now I’m not sure it oils be worth the time. Any tricks for getting a third coat of stain to really absorb into the wood? Maybe a light pass with 150 grit sandpaper to give it something to absorb into, or would that just make the color uneven?

For what it’s worth, it did come out darker than the test piece, which is what they wanted. It’s just not as dark as I’d hoped. Picture is attached.

-- Matt, San Antonio

2 replies so far

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21 posts in 2396 days

#1 posted 08-21-2015 10:38 PM

Try a gel stain, it’s more of a “sit on the surface” kind of stain. Put it on, let it sit for a few minutes, then rub it down to the tone you want.

Nice stools, btw.

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44 posts in 752 days

#2 posted 08-21-2015 10:46 PM

Thank you Ken! I have worked a long time on them so I could really get them the way I would want to see them in my house (if they were for me)! I also learned a lot about hand tools.

I tried gel stain initially on a couple of scraps. I tried nutmeg and Java, then a mix of the two. It just didn’t give me the color they wanted. I’m glad I got them though because I’ll definitely be using them on another project.

And my impatience may be my undoing at some point, but in this case it worked out well. I did a second coat of Espresso (third coat overall) last night and they came out really well!

-- Matt, San Antonio

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