Your Advice - which would look better, stain or natural?

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Forum topic by Underdog posted 12-07-2015 08:04 PM 862 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Underdog's profile


1076 posts in 2003 days

12-07-2015 08:04 PM

I’m building this lift desk where the top raises so that I can stand at my computer and work. Sitting down so much is having negative effects on my health.
You can read about the whole shebang on my blog.

Now I’m nearing the final stages, and I have to make a irreversible decision about whether to paint the modesty panels that raise with the top, and the sub tops black, leave them natural, or stain all the maple.
Also not shown is the small beauty mold that is already painted black, that will frame “panels” on the back and the end panels.
I should mention that the doors/drawers will be shaker flat panel/slabs.

So my question to you is what would you do with this?

1) Would you frame panels with the beauty mold to add more detail, or leave the panels plain?

2) a)Would you use a pre stain conditioner (Charles Neils) and stain it Cherry,
or b) would you leave it natural,
or c) natural with black paint on the modesty panels and sub tops?

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

8 replies so far

View Blake Haskins 's profile

Blake Haskins

229 posts in 1205 days

#1 posted 12-07-2015 09:48 PM

I think it looks great natural, maybe just add some clear danish oil.

-- make sure you subscribe to my channel-

View AandCstyle's profile


3027 posts in 2224 days

#2 posted 12-08-2015 12:43 AM

Underdog, I agree with baskins that it should have a natural finish. Maple is such a beautiful wood that it would be a shame to hide it under paint and a cherry stain will never look like real cherry, so why go through all the aggravation?

-- Art

View runswithscissors's profile


2725 posts in 1993 days

#3 posted 12-08-2015 01:41 AM

I generally prefer to leave wood as close to natural as possible, but even clear finishes do darken to various degrees. Some people can’t bear to not stain wood, no matter how beautiful the stuff is.

I’m picturing somebody building out of black walnut, and then trying to “stain” it so it looks like pine.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Picken5's profile


250 posts in 2659 days

#4 posted 12-08-2015 03:38 AM

I agree – natural is the way to go. (Nice looking desk, BTW.)

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

View Underdog's profile


1076 posts in 2003 days

#5 posted 12-08-2015 03:56 AM

Thanks guys. Natural seems to be the consensus. It’ll be a whole lot less trouble…

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

View OSU55's profile


1633 posts in 1957 days

#6 posted 12-08-2015 05:29 AM

I like to add a little color to maple to pop the grain. Transtint honey amber with maybe just a drop of brown, or a two step approach dark 1st, sanded back, with honey amber or blonde shellac.

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2928 days

#7 posted 12-09-2015 07:38 PM

Nice looking desk. I cringe when people paint any kind of wood.

View Tennessee's profile


2862 posts in 2482 days

#8 posted 12-09-2015 10:09 PM

I would add a conditioner to the wood before the final clear finish. The conditioner will even any blotching you might encounter, and give the wood just a hint of warmth that sterile white maple has. It will make it more “butcher block” maple color.

Other than that, no stain or paint.
Just my humble opinion

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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