Red and white oak finishing

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Forum topic by Coleby posted 06-30-2011 03:29 AM 2863 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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29 posts in 2788 days

06-30-2011 03:29 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question oak

I have a project built from whit and red oak. I was using shellac followed by a gel stain followed by more shellac. The two woods are noticable different. Any ideas on a similar finish that will blend the two woods better? Thanks

-- Dean,

8 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile


1730 posts in 2807 days

#1 posted 06-30-2011 04:13 AM

Had you not used shellac the gel stain would probably allowed you to work in a balance. I have used white oak that was darker than some red oak and I have used red oak that has been lighter than white oak. The grain differance is hardly discernable to the untrained eye, but is usally revealled when you apply a finish. You may need to darken the stain a bit, then let it float a while. What is the project and how did you apply your finishes? More importantly, were you attempting to provide a grain seal with the shellac ?

View Coleby's profile


29 posts in 2788 days

#2 posted 06-30-2011 04:55 AM

Fortunatly I only used some scrap wood for these results. I love the finish I created but like I said it’s to different on te red and white oak. The gel stain over bare wood is to dark for me so I could try a lighter gel stain. Any ideas on start to finish would be great. What do you think I should do?? Thanks, ps it’s a gun cabinet

-- Dean,

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 2550 days

#3 posted 06-30-2011 05:13 AM

I’m down to the wire on refinishing a red oak office chair (actually just waiting for some purfling to fill in a groove which was originally for a type of T moulding simply not made anymore). I had fantastic results by applying minwax chestnut gel stain, letting it sit on base while I did the chair, then wiped it off a bit with some turpentine on a rag. It dramatically lightened the stain while giving me a slightly more brown tone than the straight oak had. Three coats of wipe on oil poly (satin) and some sanding with 320 and 600 grit paper, and it’s looking gorgeous (once I get done with the purfling, which I probably should have waited on the poly part for, though I thought I would have found some T-molding instead, I’ll post pictures. Should be about a week or so).

I’d suggest trying the same. The oaks aren’t THAT different in color to start. It’s got to be adding the stain after adding a finish. I always try to add stain only to the barest of woods for best penetration and greatest color control, (after all, I can always do things after the fact to manipulate color).

View cabmaker's profile


1730 posts in 2807 days

#4 posted 06-30-2011 05:21 AM

Coleby, were it me I would use an oil wiping stain (which can be sprayed as well), Then whatever sealers and topcoat you prefer. Your best bet to not cause any further complications would be to match up your wood species as best you can or try to orient the diff. woods in areas where it becomes less noticable, as in vertical to horizontal. Hang in there with it.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3742 days

#5 posted 06-30-2011 01:10 PM

I use aniline dyes to color my pieces. Dyes actually color the wood, not sit on top of it, and gather in the grain. I’ve had good luck matching red and white oak together. You can adjust the shade you want by making a weaker solution and applying several coats until you get the color you’re after.
Then seal with whatever top coat you want to use.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10390 posts in 3646 days

#6 posted 06-30-2011 06:16 PM

Try dry brushing acrylic paint over sanded shellac. You can lay on a
bit of pigment, shellac over it to see how it looks, sand again and lay
on more paint. In the end, a couple more coats of shellac gives
enough depth you won’t be able to feel the paint through it.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3478 days

#7 posted 06-30-2011 06:20 PM

I agree with Tim. I use dyes too. You might have to use a different shade on the white oak vs the red oak to achieve the same color. Good quatersawn white oak can be a bit darker sometimes, but the red oak has a slightly red hue to it so you will have to adjust the dye/stain accordingly.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Coleby's profile


29 posts in 2788 days

#8 posted 07-01-2011 01:06 AM

Bob I think your right. After adding a finish I was using the gel stain to darken it up which made the finish beautiful. The only problem is the two woods now look different. Thanks everyone for the tips I think I am going to give the aniline dyes a try and see what happens. THanks again.

-- Dean,

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