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Stain for red oak table?

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Forum topic by yellowtruck75 posted 951 days ago 4731 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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yellowtruck75

404 posts in 1668 days


951 days ago

I am finishing a red oak kitchen table that the customer wants stained dark. What type/brand of stain should I use to finish smooth with out blotching and will prevent water rings from glasses.


14 replies so far

View Gary's profile

Gary

6989 posts in 2034 days


#1 posted 951 days ago

You’re talking about two different things here. Stain, and finish. Which are you asking about?

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1676 days


#2 posted 951 days ago

I have a similar need. I’m using MinWax’s Red Oak stain. I don’t think blotching will be a problem but, to be certain, put some stain on some scrap piece of the same wood. If blotching is an issue, apply some of Charles Neil’s Pre-Color Conditioner before you put the stain on. (Google it)

The stain, by itself, will not prevent rings. You need to put a finish on top of the stain. The most water resistant of the normal finishes is polyurethane. I use MinWax Wipe On poly. It is available in gloss and satin. I think the gloss is too glossy and the satin is too dull so I mix them 50/50 and usually put 5 coats on (lightly sanding between each coat).

Regarding color. Most people don’t know how light red oak really is. When they think of oak, they think of something that is somewhat dark. The MinWax Red Oak stain makes the wood look like what many people think oak should look like.

Final advice – stain will feel dry within a couple of hours. Let it dry for at least 24 hours before applying anything over it.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Lifesaver2000's profile

Lifesaver2000

508 posts in 1714 days


#3 posted 951 days ago

Because I have a few antiques in my living room that are a dark color, I have been staining the new pieces that I made out of oak with a dark stain also. (I am finally switching to walnut so I don’t have to, but that is a different story) I’ll pitch in what little I have learned. There are many more knowledgeable finishers here, so if someone comes along with a different idea, then just take this for what it is worth. That being said…..

I have used the Minwax Dark Walnut stain on both solid red oak and red oak plywood, with what to me are mixed results. I don’t think the problem is the stain itself though. What I have figured out is blotching has not really been a problem, but that surface preparation is EXTREMELY important. On a surface where I have done a good job of sanding out all the imperfections, then the color looks very nice. Anyone who knows wood would know that the grain isn’t really right for the color, but the overall look of the color has been fine.

But, any imperfections in the wood surface will be greatly emphasized once the stain is applied. I have taken a surface that I thought was nice and smooth, applied the stain, and then found all kinds of saw marks and other imperfections.

So my advice, (and you may already know this and I’m wasting your time) is whether you sand, plane or scrape or whatever, once you think you have it ready, do it some more. Then apply something like mineral spirits and look for any imperfections.

It is possible to get the red oak to have a nice dark color using stain, but it really takes a lot of preparation.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10580 posts in 1291 days


#4 posted 950 days ago

Hey Rich, I was really disappointed in that red oak stain as it turned out REALLY red (very artificial looking). Have you seen this? Did I manage to do something wrong? I just wiped it on and then wiped it off.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View ChunkyC's profile

ChunkyC

856 posts in 1856 days


#5 posted 950 days ago

I just stained a Red Oak Magazine rack. I looked at that Red Oak stain and I agree, it looked very red. I used the Aged Oak Gel Stain. It’s not as dark as I was looking for but it turned out nice. It very close in color to the cabinets, just a little lighter. Blotching is not normally an issue with Oak.

c

-- Chunk's Workshop pictures: http://spadfest.rcspads.com/thumbnails.php?album=135

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1287 posts in 1410 days


#6 posted 950 days ago

Not a big fan here of minwax, but I just installed a cabinet job done in red oak and stained with minwax dark walnut. Very, very nice. Mine is finished with lacquer as usual but on a table you ll need a poly type. I personally don t recomend water base products for this, especially on a dining table. JB

View jdon88's profile

jdon88

19 posts in 1254 days


#7 posted 950 days ago

I used a mahogany stain on oak and it came out nice. Very dark with a reddish tint.

View KnickKnack's profile

KnickKnack

965 posts in 2168 days


#8 posted 950 days ago

You want oak to go dark?
Fume it with ammonia.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

925 posts in 956 days


#9 posted 950 days ago

In the past I used to use minwax stains. But I find the need to apply in an exact order a bit unforgiving, what happens when you accidentally go over an edge too quickly? Oh well you gotta do that real fast or you’re gonna get a line….

Instead now days I use a cabot stain whenever possible. These stains are extremely forgiving for large projects. They are a tint stain instead of a dye stain, so it’s easy to rewipe with stain to remove smudges and easy to fix when you go over a corner or edge. There are some gel stains that I have not played with too much yet also, that may be as forgiving. The reason Minwax has these issues is that it’s a dye based stain, so it’s possible to stain darker at the “seams”.

As for the Poly, it does come in a semi-gloss, I promise, and I tend to have no problems with the wipe-on. However I spray Gemini lacquer instead, I can get much better results in my climate, than I can with a brush on poly or even the spray on.

Another trick for finding sanding blemishes, is to hold the piece up to the light.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

925 posts in 956 days


#10 posted 950 days ago

Knick knack, unless they know how, fuming with amonia is very dangerous, it can cause suffocation and death. Not a technique to recomend to beginners, or intermediates.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View KnickKnack's profile

KnickKnack

965 posts in 2168 days


#11 posted 950 days ago

Knick knack, unless they know how, fuming with amonia is very dangerous, it can cause suffocation and death. Not a technique to recomend to beginners, or intermediates.

True true, but the posters web site seems to indicate that he’s a serious professional, and, if you want your oak dark, it’s a technique that should be considered (and then, perhaps, discounted)

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

925 posts in 956 days


#12 posted 950 days ago

I was one of the few allowed to go into the tent at one shop…
They knew I tended to decrease my breathing while using sanders to avoid breathing dust and could hold my breath for long periods of time. None the less I got gagged on the stuff a couple of times. We were using that technique to darken Wenge.
But, there was always someone outside whenever I went in, just in case I didn’t come out. Working alone is another reason not to use amonia.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View yellowtruck75's profile

yellowtruck75

404 posts in 1668 days


#13 posted 950 days ago

Wow someone checked out my website :) , that makes my day.

I think I am going to try out some Cabot dark Walnut stains on a few test pieces and then go with several coats of semi-gloss poly. I have used gel stains in the past and really like how they performed so I will try some of them out also on a test piece before making my final decision.

What grit do you recommend sanding up to? I am used to using oil based finished not stains and I sand up to 400 then burnish up to 2000 grit. I know I don’t want to go that high so I need some help. Is 220 to high or can I hit it with 320?

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

905 posts in 1292 days


#14 posted 950 days ago

I always sand to 220 when using oil based finishes and 320 when using water borne. If you sand much beyond that all you do is close the pores so that stain cannot penetrate.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "finished"!

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