Finishing - Dye + Stain

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Forum topic by Michael James posted 06-03-2010 07:02 PM 1220 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Michael James

89 posts in 3077 days

06-03-2010 07:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing red oak aniline dye oil-based stain


This is a tough topic to search so I thought I’d try to solicit some opinions. I’m at the finishing stage for a red oak bunk bed I made my son and need some help.

I was planning on spraying the project but realized I just don’t have enough space to set up my spray area for this project – it’s just too big!. My thought was to use an aniline dye and glaze similar (in process) to my coffee tables but with different colours. I really liked the glaze look on these tables and wanted something similar on the bed. I realized last night that there is just not enough room to spray and allow for drying in my small, one car garage.

That being said, I’m leaning toward this process:

Distilled water to raise grain > Water-based Aniline Dye > Minwax Oil-based Stain > shellac > topcoat (probably some type of poly)

Before I completely ruin the bed is there anything I should realize? Has anyone done this before? Is there anything I could consider with the colours?

I have a test piece started, but that’s not substitution for experience on a large piece.



-- Michael James -

6 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117128 posts in 3606 days

#1 posted 06-03-2010 07:06 PM

I would put the Shellac on after the dye so you have a good base for the oil base stain.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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Michael James

89 posts in 3077 days

#2 posted 06-03-2010 07:11 PM

Would adding the Shellac prevent the stain from absorbing? Sorry, I’m a bit new to this…

-- Michael James -

View paphman's profile


21 posts in 2951 days

#3 posted 06-03-2010 11:01 PM


I am new to woodworking but have done some refinishing. I would recommend using an oil based dye and not the water based. The oil is much more color fast than the water based. The sun can do a real job on the water based dyes. Just a thought.


View levan's profile


472 posts in 3008 days

#4 posted 06-04-2010 08:21 PM

Hey MJ Have you considered moving out doors to spray. Since you are happy with the coffee table finish I would figure some way to repeat the process. The lacquers I work with are dry in 15 min. Just my 2 cents

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

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Michael James

89 posts in 3077 days

#5 posted 06-04-2010 09:00 PM

Lynn – I actually haven’t thought of that. I guess I was more concerned about containment of the overspray. If it falls on my tarps etc. in the garage, there’s no worries but what if the overspray goes to the neighbours. I just use the critter sprayer so it’s not a really advanced system.

I just finished up my test piece and liked it but unfortunately, it didn’t pass upper management so I’ll try a different base coat – she didn’t like the red tones so I’ll try with a brown walnut under tone…

Jim – Seemed to go well with the shellac on top of the dye. Do you know if it would absorb more without it?

-- Michael James -

View CaptainSkully's profile


1601 posts in 3587 days

#6 posted 06-05-2010 12:15 AM

I would go with a gel stain. Do a quick search here on Stickley Finish. I’ve compiled all sorts of info.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

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