stain problem question

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Forum topic by GSwoodworker posted 04-07-2011 03:34 AM 880 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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74 posts in 2711 days

04-07-2011 03:34 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing oak

I am helping a friend (who has very little woodwork experience) build a entertainment center out of red oak. It is a mix of solid wood and plywood. I told my friend that I have never really been that happy with any of the finishes that I applied on my projects (I am my own worst critic). He talked to a salesman at Sherwin- Wililams and bought some stain from them. We had a really hard time applying, it never really seemed to absorb into the wood. Itjust layed on top of the wood, The stain is thinner that a gel stain but thicke than most other stain I have used. Has anyone experienced these same results, or did I miss a step.

5 replies so far

View CampD's profile


1459 posts in 2906 days

#1 posted 04-07-2011 04:28 AM

sometimes with hardwood, the stain really never absorbs as much as you want.
You need to be patient and let it dry (I know I have a hard time waiting to) even over night and then try wiping it down. And if need be, add a second coat.

-- Doug...

View wseand's profile


2754 posts in 2461 days

#2 posted 04-07-2011 07:02 AM

I have never stained red oak that I can remember. But it is one of those woods that can be a PITA. On most woods that I stain I give it a good sanding, wipe it clean with green mineral spirits, and apply the stain when the wood is still damp from the mineral spirit. I use MinWax stain most of the time, have not tried the SW stain. You can give it a go on some scrap if you have some. Just my combination to staining and I get good results.

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3241 days

#3 posted 04-07-2011 01:33 PM

I have never had any problems getting red oak to take a stain. Light golden oak is my usual go to stain if I am just looking to add some color to the wood. For a darker color I would recommend using dyes rather than stains.

Just guessing I would assume that you were putting on an oil base stain. These are designed to be flooded on the surface and the excess removed with a clean cloth/paper towel after a 5 to 10 minute period. Usually one coat will do the trick. One issue that I have seen in applying stains is that the wood needs to be sanded to only 150 grit. If sanded to higher grits the wood pores will be closed off and this will inhibit absorption of the stain.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View dbray45's profile


3147 posts in 2196 days

#4 posted 04-07-2011 01:48 PM

From my experience, stains are more topical, dyes soak in. The thicker the stain, the less absorbtion, becomes more like a paint or grain filler depending upon when you wipe off the excess.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 2488 days

#5 posted 04-07-2011 02:31 PM

Is the S-W stain one of those all-in-one stain/finishes? Those need to be applied differently than the typical penetrating stain.

They usually need to go on in thin, even, coats with a light sanding between each coat. The first coat is often pretty light and you build up additional coats until you get the desired color.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

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