Who has used mini wax stain?

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Forum topic by gurnie posted 09-23-2011 10:32 PM 2604 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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342 posts in 3064 days

09-23-2011 10:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wedding wood working cgurnham christina gurnham cake palte

The fiance and I are building a cake plate based on shipright's a tree made of wood and we’re almost done with construction (yaaay).

as you can see we have to do some sanding to make the roots look a little more smoother. we used a combo of tightbond II and cherry wood dust to fill in the gaps where the roots met the cylinder bottom.

anyways so we’re comign close to the end stages of this project. We picked up a small can of miniwax's cherry stain finish in hopes to darken the tree.

the idea is to stain the trunk, roots, ect. then ontop of the plate just stain the outer edge and the first 1/4”-1” of the rim (cake plate surface) to make it look like a cross slice of a tree seated onto of a tree stump. so we wanted to know if anyone had any experience with this finish. is it going to darken nicely? is gonna look purdy? we also bought pre-stain wood conditioner.

honest i’ve never stained before. but i’ve finished with wipe on poly a bajillion times.

seriously… a bajillion

i was thinking since we’re doing that outer ring of stain on the cake plate edge that it may be wise to do a coat of two of spray on polyurathane before putting on any finishing coat to the top of the plate. I hope that makes sense… so the strain doesn’t wipe / bleed over?

and now that i am picturing this, i imagine it’s a hellva lot easier to stain, then assemble the top to the tree.

the wedding is TWO WEEKS AWAY! AHHHH!

rambling done. enjoy your weekend jocks!

thanks jocks!

-- Please visit my Etsy site, or You can also follow me on my artfire blog:

13 replies so far

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3413 days

#1 posted 09-23-2011 11:10 PM

I have used Minwax cherry stain and I don’t think it’s going to be as dark as what you want. As I understand it, you are trying to make the top look like the cross-section of log with the stain representing bark. If that’s what you are going for, you may want to try walnut stain, which will be much darker than the cherry. Either way, I would try a test piece first. I wouldn’t put any poly on first as you won’t get hardly any stain penetration and darkening at all, regardless of which stain you use. You could wipe some poly on to the middle part that you don’t want stained, which will absorb just slightly into the surface of the wood and keep stain from bleeding into that part. I would test that too on some similar wood to what you are using. Good luck.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4950 posts in 3989 days

#2 posted 09-23-2011 11:40 PM

I condition my woods with a seal coat of dewaxed shillac. Zinsser “Seal Coat” is the one I use.
The look you’re trying to achieve is similar to a “sunburst” finish used in the guitar industry. If you use a sprayer or a spray can, it is easier. Seal and stain the center areas, then shadow the edges with a darker stain. You might even try to dry brush the darker stained area to minimize the brush marks.


View pintodeluxe's profile


5706 posts in 2842 days

#3 posted 09-24-2011 12:45 AM

I would avoid minwax at all cost. It is the worst stain I have ever used in terms of blotching, uneven coat, general ugly look. I have purchased every color of minwax stain, and used almost every brand. I like Rodda and Varathane brands best. Easy to work, and smooth, even color on hardwoods.

That said cherry is a different breed. Check the for shellac seal coat techniques to prevent blotching. Always, always,always make a sample board to see if you like the dried color. Even go so far as to apply some top coat to see how it affects the color. Most stains look dead and gray until you add lacquer. Then you see the beauty come out.

The pictures are Varathane Dark Walnut over a seal coat of dewaxed shellac (thin zinsser seal coat 2 parts shellac : 3 parts denatured alcohol).

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3097 days

#4 posted 09-24-2011 02:24 AM

Minwax’s Cherry stain is usually really light and I’ve never gotten it to darken much with additional coats. Check out Minwax’s Polyshades. They’re a much darker, one step, product. I’ve had pretty good luck with them.

As always, practice on some scrap before you commit yourself.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Mark's profile


1807 posts in 3303 days

#5 posted 09-24-2011 02:44 AM

Go with verathane brand… Much better work than minwax. Penetrates deeper and has much more beautiful colours that really bring out the beauty. If you want a cherry colour, choose the verathane ” traditional cherry” colour. Very beautiful. Its a very warm and attractive colour. Out of all my work that I’ve had to stain, about 75% of it was done with traditional cherry. Its a very popular colour.

-- M.K.

View B0b's profile


104 posts in 2719 days

#6 posted 09-24-2011 02:55 AM

I agree with using Walnut color, I think it will look closer to what you are going for. Don’t forget that most cherry will darken significantly over time. Minwax probably will bleed a decent amount though, so I would highly recommend using a gel stain instead (those tend not to bleed much.)

-- Time to get started

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4234 posts in 2590 days

#7 posted 09-24-2011 02:55 AM

I have used Minwax stains, but only for Pine woods. It seems it does not like other woods to much.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View B0b's profile


104 posts in 2719 days

#8 posted 09-24-2011 03:06 AM

...and the gel stain will be more forgiving with the sawdust/glue combo and an glue fingerprints that might exist from that.

-- Time to get started

View bandit571's profile


20266 posts in 2712 days

#9 posted 09-24-2011 03:27 AM

One could BLEND a couple of their “flavours” until one gets the look one wants. A little “Cherry” mixed with a walnut colour would be a start. Go and get a couple flavours in those 1/2 pint cans, along with an empty quart can to blend in. Keep track of what, and how much you add to the mix. Set up a test piece of the same wood you will be staining. Try each recipe as a single stripe on the piece. When you get the look you want, mix it up and go to work.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3015 days

#10 posted 09-24-2011 04:21 AM

I looooooove Minwax and use them all the time, but the cherry stain is always kind of sad. It ends up being a little muddy and grey. And really, really pale.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View stnich's profile


118 posts in 2953 days

#11 posted 09-24-2011 03:00 PM

I wouldn’t use a penetrating stain for what your trying to do. It will probably bleed to much. I agree that a gel or wiping stain would work better. You might want to try and tape off the area where you’re not staining to help and prevent accidents. Just create an irregular line the follows the natural edge. Or if it is a circle then just follow the outside of the plate

View gurnie's profile


342 posts in 3064 days

#12 posted 09-25-2011 07:23 AM

Ok so new game plan.

So I saw a video on the wood whispearer about staining and preventing blotching.


1:1 ratio of unwaxed shellac (zinsser bulls eye seal coat), to denatured alcohol.
Let that dry
Apply general finishes brown mahogany gel stain (cover the center of the plate board maybe with a full coat of shellac to prevent gel pentration, also tape off circle)
Use a few spray coats of clear satin lacquer
Should be good, atleast better than what we bought before

-- Please visit my Etsy site, or You can also follow me on my artfire blog:

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3413 days

#13 posted 09-25-2011 04:21 PM

Sounds good. I’m looking forward to seeing how the finished project turns out.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

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