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Yet, another question on finishing

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Forum topic by Radu posted 1283 days ago 1703 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Radu

299 posts in 1641 days


1283 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: finishing

I am working on a TV stand made out of birch plywood with poplar trim. I am getting close to the finishing process but I am not sure yet which way to go. I did read numerous postings on this site, but I still have questions. I don’t want to repeat questions that were already asked, even though I might.
My project manager (read WIFE) wants it satin black. I do not completely agree but what do I know. The plywood (bought at HD – pretty good quality I think) has a nice texture (and kind of a fuzzy feel when you touch it). I want to be able to see the wood grain / texture. I checked HD for stains. The black that she wants is the Minwax Classic Black Polyshades. From what I read, those who used it where not quite happy with it and some people do not recommend it. The other thing they have is the Ebony oil based stain but she thinks that is got a brown shade in it, which I think will only look good but again, what do I know. I also read about using India Ink – where do you get it; isn’t it messy to work with.
I was going to check with Sherwin Williams and see what they have.
Going back to the Black Polyshades option (if I ever need to go that way) I was thinking of using the Minwax Oil based pre-stain conditioner first. I read some people recommend using a clear coat of Danish oil or diluted dewaxed shellac.
Anyway to get to my point, could someone recommend a good way to do it.
Thank you


14 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15661 posts in 2816 days


#1 posted 1283 days ago

I have done several pieces in black, and found that good old satin enamel paint works just fine. Any reason you don’t want to go that route?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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Radu

299 posts in 1641 days


#2 posted 1283 days ago

Thank you Charlie. I thought about paint too. I just didn’t want to cover up the wood texture. The other obstacle is my project manager. Would you recommend using some paint thinner (like penetrol) in this case? Is that plywood or solid wood?

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CharlieM1958

15661 posts in 2816 days


#3 posted 1283 days ago

Unfortunately, I don’t remember exactly what brand of paint I used, but I used it straight from the can without thinning. While you can’t see too well in the photo, the grain shows beautifully on this oak plywood.

The problem with birch plywood is that it is much smoother, and paint is likely to hide the grain. I’m afraid, though, you might have that problem with any type of black finish you try. Your best bet here might be to do a little experimenting on scraps and see what you come up with. I’m not a big fan of Polyshades either, but it might work okay in black.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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Radu

299 posts in 1641 days


#4 posted 1283 days ago

Thanks again Charlie. I do have a can a black paint. I’ll give it a try. Did you use a primer on your project?

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CharlieM1958

15661 posts in 2816 days


#5 posted 1283 days ago

Nope…no primer.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View childress's profile

childress

841 posts in 2140 days


#6 posted 1283 days ago

FWIW, the ebony oil based stain does not have any brown in it. I have a can and believe it’s made with a black dye of some sort. It’s BLACK! and also shows the grain. If you get the stain, and not the poly shades, you can put a couple of coats before putting any topcoat on it to get it darker. I also don’t think you’ll need to do any wood conditioning because of the color. But that’s up to you as I’m sure you’ll try a test piece.

-- Childress Woodworks

View stnich's profile

stnich

107 posts in 1522 days


#7 posted 1283 days ago

I use MinWax water based Onyx a lot but mostly on oak. I get a nice black that really shows the grain. I usually apply two coats on oak. I paint it on and basically leave it alone. As I mentioned two coats is my norm on oak. I have used it on birch and poplar but the grain is less pronounced so I imagine that one coat would do. The grain is usually raised when it dries so I knock in down with Scotch Brite type pads. You need to rub with the grain to keep from pulling up any loose wood. Try a sample first. I use Minwax’s Polyurathane as a top coat. I have also used their Polycrylic as a top coat. Any questions let me know.

View Radu's profile

Radu

299 posts in 1641 days


#8 posted 1283 days ago

Thanks again. What’s your thought on pre-stain wood conditioner. Someone said it’ll let the wood conditioner dry overnight instead of staining within 2 hours as recommended on the can.

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stnich

107 posts in 1522 days


#9 posted 1283 days ago

If your going to use a water based stain make sure you use a compatible conditioner. When I have occasion to use water based stains I use MinWax’s waterbased conditioner. I usually have to sand after the conditioner has dried because it raises the grain. I usually don’t use conditioner when I use the Onyx on oak because I like the effect of the raised grain on oak. Plus I knock it down after the stain dries anyway.

View huff's profile

huff

2782 posts in 1883 days


#10 posted 1283 days ago

Radu, I like using an aniline dye when I want the grain to show. You can get ebony black and mix it to any density that you would like. You need to experiment with some scrape first, but you can get a really deep black without hiding alot of the grain. I’ve used the analine dyes through Woodworks Supply and have had good luck with them. It’s always a little tricky when you use a new product you are not familar with, but It can really give you a deep color. Just Remember…...........it’s all about making the project manager happy!
Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

-- John @ http://www.thehuffordfurnituregroup.com

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1757 days


#11 posted 1283 days ago

I did a project recently, an aquarium stand, finished with satin poly tinted with the aforementioned ebony stain. Sprayed on in several light coats, it’s perfectly black. You can easily conceal the grain, or not…it’s up to you depending on the number of coats.

I guarantee it’ll do what you want…or your money back. :)

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Radu's profile

Radu

299 posts in 1641 days


#12 posted 1282 days ago

Stnich, John and Jay – thank you for your input.
Aniline dye looks like a good solution. I’ll give it a try. I went on Woodworker’s supply web page and I read about the “Wizard Tints” that can be used to tint shellac. I’ve never used shellac but I read a lot of good things about it.
I just wonder if all the “ready made” stains that we find a big box stores are not actually, say a base medium, either water or oil, tinted with aniline dye.
I’ll be doing some testing this weekend.

View childress's profile

childress

841 posts in 2140 days


#13 posted 1282 days ago

There was a stain mfg in my area I used to use for stains and poly. Very good stuff, but got shut down by the state for VOC compliance’s. Anyways, all their stains were an oil base product that they put aniline dye’s in to make the colors they wanted…. Just not sure if other mfg do it that way, you could try calling them.

-- Childress Woodworks

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Radu

299 posts in 1641 days


#14 posted 1282 days ago

I found an article that simply describes the difference between aniline dye and stain. I thought I share it with those who don’t know:

The biggest difference between stains and dyes is the color—many stains look muddy, sort of like looking through a window with the screen on. Remove the screen and you get an idea of the clear colors produced by aniline dyes.
The reason is simple. Most stains leave tiny colored particles (pigments) on the surface of the wood. But dyes penetrate the wood fibers. This emphasizes the figure of the wood instead of partially obscuring it.
Aniline dyes also color the wood more evenly than pigmented stains. Unlike stains that concentrate in the areas of the wood that have large pores (like end grain), dyes penetrate all parts equally.

Here is the link to full article http://www.woodworkingtips.com/etips/etip32.html

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