LumberJocks

Staining bare maple cabinets

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by SweetTea posted 11-04-2016 12:40 PM 900 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

249 posts in 500 days


11-04-2016 12:40 PM

I have never been fully satisfied with the stain results on maple. I will have a new set of maple cabinets to stain soon, and the customer wants a dark expresso color. Nothing that I can find at Shermin Williams seems to cover good nor does it absorb evenly. Should I be using a sanding sealer prior to applying the stain? I think that is the problem that I always have with getting the stain to absorb evenly.

Next, where can I find a stain in an expresso color? If the stain that I go with doesn’t come out quiet an expresso color, should I order up some transtint dye and mix a shellec or lacquer based finish that I could spray on to bring the color closer to the customers preference?


19 replies so far

View Underdog's profile

Underdog

1051 posts in 1876 days


#1 posted 11-04-2016 12:45 PM

I’ve never had good luck staining maple either. It’s always blotchy because the side grain won’t take stain, and the end grain takes it too well.

I’ve heard that sealing it prior to staining works, but I’ve not been able to make that work. I just smear it around on top of the sealer…

You might have better luck mixing a color with the top coat.

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

View martyoc's profile

martyoc

40 posts in 757 days


#2 posted 11-04-2016 12:51 PM

I’ve had pretty good results using water based dyes on maple than oil based stains. They can be reapplied to smooth out blotchy coats without difficulty. You can also modify the color somewhat if you don’t like the initial results.

-- Marty O'C

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

989 posts in 432 days


#3 posted 11-04-2016 01:23 PM

You can:
1. Use a spray gun and apply many very thin layers. That way dye penetrates very little and more uniformly.
2. Use an intermediiate coat of some material that accept staining. Charles Niels stuff comes to mind.

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

514 posts in 589 days


#4 posted 11-04-2016 01:26 PM

I recently built a large Blamket Chest in Hard Maple. A bad choice of wood. It blotched terribly. My project was finally saved by using a blotch controller from Charles Neil. I think he calls it Pre-color Conditioner. I ran dozens of tests on scrap Maple to make sure it worked and to choose a color. My final choice was to use the Blotch controller as directions say, then a water based Transtint dye called Coffee Brown. Let it dry and then used a Dark Wine Cherry water based dye from JE Moser. (Note – the Coffee Brown was either Transtint or Moser. I forget, and am not walking to the workshop right now).

I can’t see why this wouldn’t work for you. I do suggest lots of testing prior to going ‘live’.

I finished the chest in Waterlox. It looked terrific. We drove to Tennessee to deliver it, and the first thing their 3 year old did was climb on it and do a little dance – in shoes. Oh well…

View RogerM's profile

RogerM

786 posts in 2239 days


#5 posted 11-04-2016 02:02 PM

Ditch the stain on maple. Analine dye is available in many different colors and enhances the grain in Maple effectively.

This is Mosers water based Medium Walnut dye on Maple.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View RogerM's profile

RogerM

786 posts in 2239 days


#6 posted 11-04-2016 02:12 PM

Another example using the same dye noted above

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1036 posts in 2601 days


#7 posted 11-04-2016 02:17 PM

I agree with RogerM about the aniline dye.

However, if you still want to stain maple or some other similar hardwoods that come out blotchy, you first have to seal the wood. What causes the blotchiness is the wavy grain. The end grain absorbs more stain than the flat grain. The best sealer is shellac thinned with alcohol to a watery consistency. This absorbs into the surface of the wood and stops the inconsistent absorbing of the stain. Shellac is best for this as it sands easily (it “chalks” and tends not to clog the sand paper) and is compatible with almost any stain, varnish, or paint applied over it.

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View GR8HUNTER's profile (online now)

GR8HUNTER

2970 posts in 553 days


#8 posted 11-04-2016 02:55 PM

What does Charles say …...........

-- Tony Reinholds,Pa. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

249 posts in 500 days


#9 posted 11-04-2016 04:34 PM

Does the Charles Neil pre stain conditioner work as well or similar to using dewaxed shellec such as Zinnser’s seal coat?

If you had a customer wanting a set of cabinets in a dark stain, almost an expresso color, what wood would be the most optimal? I would assume walnut, but it cost almost twice as much as maple in my area. Any other wood/stain or dye combo’a that you fellas might recommend?

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1036 posts in 2601 days


#10 posted 11-04-2016 10:27 PM

Almost any clear finish like lacquer of varnish thinned way out to a watery consistency works. What is good about shellac is its ability not to clog your sand paper when you sand after the sealer is applied. Personally, I use raw hard shellac beads as it stores almost indefinitely in its hard form. and is cheaper. I just mix with alcohol and strain enough for a job at a time. The type I use still has remnants of the Lac bugs and some twig residue in it so you have to strain it well. I use a piece of women’s panty hose for the strainer and fold up a sheet of paper for the funnel and clip off the tip. A wad of a piece of panty hose is inserted into the paper funnel hole. When finished, you can throw away the funnel and hose.

And I would think maple cabinets could be stained any dark color.Sometimes it takes more than one coat of stain to get what you are looking for. You would need to try a test piece to make sure before committing to the project.

Planeman

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

2145 posts in 3711 days


#11 posted 11-04-2016 10:38 PM

Folks I am in Pa, doing a finishing class, I will catch this up and respond Monday am, sorry for the delay

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

514 posts in 589 days


#12 posted 11-05-2016 02:39 AM

SweetTea, I finally got the results I was hoping for on the dyeing the Maple for the blanket chest, but it really was a struggle. I wouldn’t have the mental toughness to do a bunch of cabinets. I’m not using Maple again – probably – at least not dyeing it the way I did. Maybe a sprayed on colored shellac or something like that would work. I have no history with using that, but some of the other guys seem to.

As for what other wood, I find Walnut to be easy to work with and to dye. And cherry isn’t too bad, but blotch can be a problem. For the sake of speed and ease, I’d probably go with walnut and walnut faced plywood. As for color, I have a Transtint dye blend that I’ve been using for years. It’s a dark walnut with just a touch of cherry. But, that’s just me…

View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

249 posts in 500 days


#13 posted 11-05-2016 10:26 AM



SweetTea, I finally got the results I was hoping for on the dyeing the Maple for the blanket chest, but it really was a struggle. I wouldn t have the mental toughness to do a bunch of cabinets. I m not using Maple again – probably – at least not dyeing it the way I did. Maybe a sprayed on colored shellac or something like that would work. I have no history with using that, but some of the other guys seem to.

As for what other wood, I find Walnut to be easy to work with and to dye. And cherry isn t too bad, but blotch can be a problem. For the sake of speed and ease, I d probably go with walnut and walnut faced plywood. As for color, I have a Transtint dye blend that I ve been using for years. It s a dark walnut with just a touch of cherry. But, that s just me…

- Kirk650

If I were to use shellec with some transtint dye mixed in as you suggest, would this be the first thing to spray on the cabinets and doors? Or would I still need to seal the maple first with either dewaxed shellec or Charles Neil’s pre stain conditioner? Then shoot on my finish coats? I like to use water based poly as the finish, never used lacquer or oil based poly, but I am open to any and all suggestions! Sorry guys, I am a little bit foggy on the steps involved here..

View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

249 posts in 500 days


#14 posted 11-05-2016 10:30 AM



Folks I am in Pa, doing a finishing class, I will catch this up and respond Monday am, sorry for the delay

- CharlesNeil

Hey Charles, nice to see the man himself replying to my thread! :) what would you suggest in my quest of getting maple to take stain evenly?

Also, I could use some advice on how to achieve an expresso finish on some various woods such as cherry, maple, poplar, alder, etc. and could you tell me which of these woods would be the easiest in achieving an expresso color and how I can get them to that point?

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2612 posts in 2137 days


#15 posted 11-05-2016 12:56 PM

Dark stain on maple? Travesty!

showing 1 through 15 of 19 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com