Minwax Oil Based Stain (frustrated!)

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Forum topic by Neil posted 08-23-2016 11:33 PM 310 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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18 posts in 73 days

08-23-2016 11:33 PM

So I’m not new to Minwax products or their oil based stains, but over the years I’ve moved away from their stains in favor of aniline dye stains. But I have a customer who decided they want their kitchen in either red oak or hickory and want me to use Minwax Early American oil stain. I said no problem, I’ll make up some door samples.

The problem I’m having is the stain just isn’t soaking into the hardwood good but the veneer ply takes it great. I’m sanding it down to 150 before staining, brushing on the stain (ridiculous) and waiting the suggested 5 mins and wiping with a clean cloth. What I get is the open grain is darkening but the rest wipes away and looks too light compared to the door panel (veneer ply).

Should I be thinning the stain? using courser grit paper? Or just bag it and get a color matched dye stain?

Any thoughts are welcome and appreciated.


9 replies so far

View jwmalone's profile


769 posts in 126 days

#1 posted 08-24-2016 12:00 AM

Its not the stain. Its the different wood types. Ply wood never seems to take stain like solid wood even if its the same type of wood. But that’s just been my experience. You may have to stain the ply and dye the rest to match. What type of wood is it.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View Neil's profile


18 posts in 73 days

#2 posted 08-24-2016 12:55 AM

@jw The wood is red oak with oak ply and the other is Hickory and hickory ply. I’ve always had a problem with solid wood not taking stain the same as ply, that is until I changed to dye which I have had great results matching plywood with solid wood.

I need to keep the staining down to a simple process, using dye on the solid and stain on the ply would take too much time for an entire kitchen worth of doors and drawer fronts.

View Neil's profile


18 posts in 73 days

#3 posted 08-24-2016 12:57 AM

I know the obvious answer is to find a dye stain to match, although I’m kinda cheap and now have a gallon of minwax oil stain that I’d rather not just toss in my paint cabinet.

View Carey  Mitchell's profile

Carey Mitchell

83 posts in 1383 days

#4 posted 08-24-2016 01:03 AM

In producing the veneer layer the plywood, it is peeled from the log using a device that looks like a huge lathe (think that’s what they call it) with a blade 8 feet long. The wood fibers become separated somewhat as the thin layer (even thinner these days) is shaved off. The veneer is thus less dense than the solid wood and sucks up the stain.

I stopped using oil based stains about 10 years ago due to the difficulty and poor results. I have had really great results with Transtint stains, as I can blend colors as needed. More important, I can dilute and “sneak up” on the color I want as well as easily and quickly apply additional coats where needed.

I have really had great success applying with a cheap air brush. This has even allowed me to deal with whitewood on both walnut and cherry. I just go for a very fine profile and keep applying to the lighter areas until they match the rest. That was used on a couple of my projects on this site and I dare you to find the whitewood. The air brush cost about $15.

View jwmalone's profile


769 posts in 126 days

#5 posted 08-24-2016 01:04 AM

I agree, Id just tell the customer how it is. I get screwed evrytime some one wants me to use something specific. Especially around here, people got to the paint store for advice or watch a couple bob villa shows and think there a pro lmao.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View jbay's profile (online now)


711 posts in 323 days

#6 posted 08-24-2016 01:11 AM

I would make a sample out of the minwax that they want, then I would match it with whatever works for you and have them approve the color. As long as it’s the same color as the minwax color their after I don’t see a problem. I don’t let a customer dictate what products I use, just the final color they want.

-- Many times my “MO” involves Judging others, playing God, acting as LJs law enforcement, and never admitting any of my ideas could possibly wrong or anyone else's idea could possibly be correct.--

View Neil's profile


18 posts in 73 days

#7 posted 08-24-2016 01:29 AM

Thanks guys!

I’ll go the route of giving them the minwax samples as is, then showing them a similar color stain of my choosing.

I thought I’d ask, see anyone had any “secret to success” with this minwax crap. My customers ask for specific wood or paint color but never a brand name stain, kinda weird.

That good advice jbay, I wont let them choose a product for me, just the color.

View nightguy's profile


213 posts in 86 days

#8 posted 08-24-2016 01:43 AM

Carey Mitchell,
FYI, Transtint is not a stain, its a dye, there is a difference, dye have no solid pigments in them like stains do that to go into the pores of the wood.

View cooperw's profile


14 posts in 151 days

#9 posted 08-24-2016 06:39 AM

Interesting, in my experience red oak soaks everything I throw at it, maybe you have white oak or something else.

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