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Help!! Defeated by Staining Maple. How to paint over stain & topcoat??

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Forum topic by Cheyenne posted 09-06-2010 04:58 AM 4778 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Cheyenne

110 posts in 1614 days


09-06-2010 04:58 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question maple finishing paint

I built a dresser out of soft maple and was less than satisfied with the blotchy looking finish. I used GF Java gel stain and GF gel satin topcoat. I was satisfied with all of my test pieces but once everything was stained together I feel it looks terrible.

I’ve also built a crib and the build went great but every time I look at the dresser I can’t possibly think of spending all that time staining and finishing the crib and knowing I won’t be satisfied with the end result.

I’m completely defeated with this staining and finishing process and just want to paint everything and be done with it. I know many of you out there will think I am crazy for wanting to paint these pieces but at least the paint will be a uniform finish.

I have the following questions for you folks:
1. Since the dresser is already stained and has a satin topcoat what do I need to do to prepare the topcoat to accept paint? Will I need any type of primer once the surface is prepared?
2. The crib is unfinished, what type of primer do I need? Shellac, primer, other??
3. What is the best paint (brand and type) to use for a nursery dresser and crib?
4. Should I topcoat the paint with anything for added durability? If so, what should I use?

I think that’s it for now. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

-- Cheyenne - Nashville,TN


15 replies so far

View lew's profile

lew

10154 posts in 2502 days


#1 posted 09-06-2010 04:14 PM

Cheyenne,

I’m right there with you when it comes to staining. Mine rarely turns out the way the test pieces look.

To answer your questions- the piece that is already finished, if you’re really going to paint it- I would lightly sand with 220 grit. Then apply a latex paint. After that dries, a top coat of water based poly. Both are safe around children.

For the unfinished piece- a sanding sealer (shellac based), a light sanding, then the same as above.

There are lots of folks here much more experienced than me, with finishes. They will provide good advice.

Lew

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Kjuly's profile

Kjuly

303 posts in 2033 days


#2 posted 09-06-2010 05:43 PM

Hello Cheyenne,
I think sometimes finishing can be the toughest part of woodworking. Anyone that has been at it for any length of time has encountered problems finishing…..so don’t give up. Soft Maple is a beautiful wood and it is shame to have to paint it. Hopefully your next project won’t end that way.
I wrote a blog on one method of finishing Soft Maple. It may help. http://lumberjocks.com/Kjuly/blog/10532
If you have questions or concerns, just ask or send a PM and I will get you an answer.
Hang in there.
Keith

-- Keith, Charlotte, MI www.julyswoodworks.com

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1797 posts in 1938 days


#3 posted 09-06-2010 06:11 PM

Well one alternative is to use GF gel stain the color JAVA, it will give your maple a rich walnut look.

the java is so dark that it literally mask any blotching. I had the same problem with a bench I made

out of maple. Although I wanted a maple bench- I was pretty happy with the walnut imitation.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Cheyenne's profile

Cheyenne

110 posts in 1614 days


#4 posted 09-08-2010 02:26 AM

Lew – thanks for the advice. I’m teetering back and forth b/c I do hate to cover the wood but at the same time it will be consistent.

Keith – thanks for the very informative blog. Stuff like this makes me just want to do unfinished furniture! Guess that’s where my inexperience and lack of patience comes into play.

Bob – the Java color is actually what I was trying to achieve. I don’t know if I did something wrong or what. You can check out the pictures of the dresser I posted in my projects. Any other suggestions? grrr!!!

-- Cheyenne - Nashville,TN

View RichClark's profile

RichClark

157 posts in 2177 days


#5 posted 09-08-2010 05:19 AM

I think your over reacting on a very beautiful piece. Really its looks wonderful to me. but I am a “wood is wood” kinda guy.

I thought “gel” stains were for essentially “glazing” over a piece to turn it the color ya want. (what I was taught). So next time seal it with a 1 pound of shellac and then “gel” it the color you want with the gel.

In any case you could also try this… ON a nice sunny day cover up the dark parts and set it outside in gods sunlight and let him darken the bits that are not to your liking…

Richie

-- Duct Tape is the Force! It has a light side and a dark side and it Binds the Universe together!

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1797 posts in 1938 days


#6 posted 09-09-2010 04:03 PM

Your dresser came out several shades lighter then my bench, did you pretreat the wood?

I used a trans tint die but first used bulls eye shellac to treat the wood for blotching. It

blotched really bad. Then I sanded down to bare wood and put the GF Java stain with no

pretreatment. The color came out really dark and rich, blotching was minimized due to the

darkness of the stain. That is beautiful work you did and the wood grain is really nice. It

would be a shame to paint. Charles Neil, makes a pre stain conditioner to fight blotching.

You can see him demonstrate his product on u-tube. Just type in Charles Neil, and you’ll

find it. I never tried the product, but it is one hell of a sales pitch. Good Luck!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Cheyenne's profile

Cheyenne

110 posts in 1614 days


#7 posted 09-09-2010 04:17 PM

Richie – I’m slowly getting over my over reacting. I stepped away from the crib for a few days and the few parts I had stained don’t look too terrible. I think I’m going to proceed as is for now and wait a few years and see what all I learn and then maybe do something different then.

Bob – I followed a similar process to yours. I found a link on here to a video from the Wood Whisperer on finishing blotchy woods. I started out with the 1# cut of shellac and stained a few pieces and it was very very light in color compared to the black stain in the can. I then sanded everything down and put the stain right on the wood with no pretreatment and thats the result you see in the dresser/changing table. I did said the dresser to 220 early on and then went back and sanded to 150 and that helped darken it up some. On the crib I have just sanded to 150 and stopped.

I guess it’s not so much the blotching and the variation in color from piece to piece. For example, the two top dresser drawers started out as one piece of wood all the way thru the sanding process. I then cut the board to make the drawers, stained them and they turned out two different shades. Then, the door is a completely different shade than everything. Who knows?! Maybe it’s something I’m doing wrong in the preparation of the wood. Perhaps sanding too much and closing the grain?

Thanks for the kind comments on the dresser work! I love the design and execution but the finishing really deflated me!

-- Cheyenne - Nashville,TN

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2246 posts in 2294 days


#8 posted 09-09-2010 10:37 PM

We have done a lot of maple, just finished building a maple kitchen on Monday. Over the weekend I even made a new rule in the shop that “Maple” will officially be considered a 5 letter curse word and not allowed in the shop. There are multiple factors when considering a finish of maple. Much of the finish actually begins right at the beginning with the build such as “chatter” with router/shaper bits. Not all ROS are made equal, some appear more aggressive and I feel are more susceptible to swirl marks. Also technique when using any sander is very important. Also grit choices and etc… I think from cutting to machining and then to sanding, it all has a bit of a say in how it will turn out. With all things equal, maple is absolutely georgous stained.

One fellow Lumberjock once stated the end result was directly related to 3 things; equipment being used, materials used and technique used. I cannot remember the fella’s name but he had a lot of wisdom in his statements.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

View mvflaim's profile

mvflaim

183 posts in 1838 days


#9 posted 09-10-2010 12:48 AM

The biggets trick with staining maple is you need to apply shellac as an under coat first. That way the stain will have less of a chance to blotch.

Here’s a cabinet I built out of soft maple then stained to look like walnut.

cabinet

-- http://mvflaim.wordpress.com/

View RichClark's profile

RichClark

157 posts in 2177 days


#10 posted 09-10-2010 01:34 AM

Cheyenne – Even the fine example above shows “light” and dark The drawers you mentioned, that would may have come from a thicker part of the tree and you might be experiencing grain. Like the Flecks in Oak, the Fiddle back… etc… As they cut trees they are not cutting them exactly on growth rings. You you get a huge difference in grain.

But Your reply was enlightening… You sanded to 220 then shellac and stain.. If you “sand” to far you wind up with no place for the stain to go.

You then said you sanded it off with 150 and no shellac.. and tried again and got the color you wanted. I bet have you sanded it to 150 and then shellac-ed it it would have come out better… Over sanding “blotchy” wood will allow the heart wood may more sucking in of the stain and cause blotching no mater what you try… A Tip I was given was to go ahead and do the second solution.. then! You shellac the places the color is right and stain it again! To blend in the lighter area’s…

Anyway way… This is a journey and we learn by sharing.

I still thinks it looks wonderful and you should be proud of it..

Richie

-- Duct Tape is the Force! It has a light side and a dark side and it Binds the Universe together!

View Cheyenne's profile

Cheyenne

110 posts in 1614 days


#11 posted 09-15-2010 07:19 PM

Thanks everybody for all of the advice! Because of my disgust with the dresser I completely overreacted as to how the crib may turn out. I took some deep breathes and week off and decided to stain it. I’ve got most of it stained and hope to top coat it this weekend so hopefully I’ll have some pics up soon. Unless the topcoat messes anything up the stain did much better just by applying it to 150 non-shellaced wood. I would have shellaced this time but my samples were significantly lighter than the dresser so I opted to go non-shellaced this time to keep the suite looking close to the same but next time all pieces will be shellaced!

-- Cheyenne - Nashville,TN

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

680 posts in 1878 days


#12 posted 09-18-2010 03:16 AM

Water based aniline dyes give much better results on maple than any stains.

-- Gerry, http://g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

View Cheyenne's profile

Cheyenne

110 posts in 1614 days


#13 posted 09-18-2010 04:55 PM

I’ve seen a lot of folks talking about using water based aniline dyes but I don’t know much about them. What little I’ve seen about them it seems the dyes are put on to control blotching and then stain and topcoat are put on top. Can they be wiped on instead of spraying? I know that most of the best finishes are sprayed on but I just hate dealing with purchasing spray equipment and then more than even spending the money I hate cleaning the equipment. I’m sure in the end the net out of time spraying is still much quicker but I’m just not there yet. Any more information you can share on aniline dies will be much appreciated! Thanks!

-- Cheyenne - Nashville,TN

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

680 posts in 1878 days


#14 posted 09-18-2010 10:51 PM

The dye takes the place of stain. The nice part is that you can flood it on really heavy, then wipe off, and they give a nice even color. They’re also really cheap. $10 in powder can make gallons, although the darker you want it, the more powder you need.

Then just top coat with your clear finish.

-- Gerry, http://g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

View Cheyenne's profile

Cheyenne

110 posts in 1614 days


#15 posted 09-19-2010 04:34 AM

Thanks Gerry. I’ll definitely have to try the dye. Do you order them online or have a local store you shop at? Any certain brand better than another? Thanks again

-- Cheyenne - Nashville,TN

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