Staining Question

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 04-25-2010 08:21 PM 1257 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3069 days

04-25-2010 08:21 PM

I’m working on a project where I want my oak to be a little darker. However, I want to keep the grain subdued. Stains, in general, bring the grain out more. Is there a way to darken the oak without “bring the grain out”.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

9 replies so far

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3475 days

#1 posted 04-25-2010 08:29 PM

Rich, You could try using a tint on the wood first to darken it, then use the stain. Or a gel stain will darken it as well without bringing out the grain.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Fisheye's profile


2 posts in 2948 days

#2 posted 04-25-2010 08:39 PM

What about fuming with ammonia.
You can stop the reaction. When the color you want is reached

View NH_Hermit's profile


394 posts in 3091 days

#3 posted 04-25-2010 09:18 PM

Thank you , Fisheye. I had never heard of fuming.

I found this interest web site that explains the process.

-- John from Hampstead

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3069 days

#4 posted 04-25-2010 09:55 PM

I’m familiar with fuming but it would not work in this situation. Red oak does not fume well (white oak does).

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View wisno's profile


88 posts in 3006 days

#5 posted 04-26-2010 04:00 AM

Yes the stain will fill in he grain, especially when you let the stain wet the wood.
If You don,t like it, you can apply your stain by dry spray technique, or you do sealer first on the raw wood and apply your stain after sealer application.

good luck


View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3281 days

#6 posted 04-26-2010 10:40 PM

Rich, I frequently stain a little lighter than desired, then spray several light coats of stain over that to darken. This will even the color without accenting the grain, which is what you are wanting. If you are brushing the topcoat, you could work up the stain as you finish, thus creating a mess. Try a test piece first.

I also will sometimes seal the wood after staining, sand the sealer, then build the stain on top. I’m not sure this is a good idea with oil stains, but I do it with lacquer stain all the time. The lacquer stain will basically melt into the lacquer sealer. The downside is having the color laying on top, rather than penetrating the wood, so chipping is more likely.

Please note, what works within a particular method may cause problems when you change some of the elements. What works for spraying might not when you are brushing or wiping.

The link wisno gave has some good information


View tbone's profile


276 posts in 3679 days

#7 posted 04-26-2010 11:07 PM

Rich, I’ve had good luck using a glaze before to darken the sapwood of white oak to match the heartwood. (the sapwood does not take to fuming either, and it may not show up until AFTER fuming)
You would apply it BETWEEN coats of oil until you’ve reached the shade you like.
You might also consider a dark paste wax as the final applied surface to your wood.
Good luck.

-- Kinky Friedman: "The first thing I'll do if I'm elected is demand a recount."

View Gary's profile


9331 posts in 3427 days

#8 posted 04-27-2010 01:05 AM

I use a lye mixture to darken the wood. When it gets as dark as I need it to, vinegar and water stops the action. Real easy to use…

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Hacksaw007's profile


613 posts in 3184 days

#9 posted 04-27-2010 01:42 AM

If you want to keep the open grain as light as possible, avoid glazing or wiping stains. They penetrate into the wood, thus the wood, all of it gets darker. Kent has the right idea, spraying the stain on will do the job, suggest an alcohol based stain or tint. Of course test this on some scrap first. Remember that it can get darker fast, on your scrap piece, put a wide piece of masking tape over the wood grain before spraying. This will help you to see that you are not puddling the stain (applying too much) and it will give you a reference to what you came from when you pull the tape. Many times you can take it too far. Remember the rule, you can always make it darker, but seldom can you make it lighter…. Better to err to the lightside Luke Skywalker….. Hope this helps.

-- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

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