Staining oak veneer

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Forum topic by Cozmo35 posted 01-30-2012 09:23 PM 3046 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2200 posts in 3061 days

01-30-2012 09:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: oak

I have a dresser with oak veneer that I want to stain a dark color. I used Handi-Strip liquid stripper from Lowes to remove the previous poly/stain and sanded the surface clean. I’ve tried Minwax and Cabot stain as well as Minwax Gel stain. They all stain it but the color is very light. I let the stain sit for 15 minutes before wiping it off and still does not help. Someone recommended Aniline dye next so I guess I’ll try that. Any ideas what I may be doing wrong or is there no hope in getting a dark stain on oak veneer? I also bought some red oak boards from Lowe’s as a comparison and stained them and the color turned out much darker, so not sure why my dresser is not staining with the same depth of color. Any suggestions?

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

4 replies so far

View Viking's profile


880 posts in 3220 days

#1 posted 01-30-2012 09:30 PM

Maybe you did not get all of the prior finish off?

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2539 days

#2 posted 01-30-2012 09:46 PM

There is a good chance that first, you did not remove all the old finish. Original finishes tend to settle more into the wood.
The second thing is the veneer board you are facing was probably pressed on by a machine, which would have slightly collapsed the pores of an already fairly closed wood. The stain just does not have anything to grab since the wood was essentially closed by pressure and heat. If you have a small section that is not noticable, sand it more aggressively, maybe even down as rough as using 180 or even 150, and then try reapplying the stain to that one little area. If it takes, you’ve opened the door for the stain to grab. If not, you probably need to revisit the stripper and sanding process.
You should be able to open the pores of the veneer, but remember, it is only thousandths of an inch thick, too much aggression and you will find the lesser wood beneath!
Good luck!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View SteviePete's profile


226 posts in 3328 days

#3 posted 01-30-2012 10:44 PM

Aha! You’ve discovered the secret of the great Homer Formby. Melt the finish, remove most and add some new finish. Voila! (French for fooled you) I never liked it. Like above says. Oak is an open pore wood and should suck up the finish. At this point nothing that is expected to enter the wood or the pores will work. I suggest a glaze with varnish, shellac or other sealer colored with aniline dyes or stains (need to be compatible). You don’t have enough wood in the veneer to scrape or sand to open pores. (Lesson 544334). There is always weatherbeater with a fun stencil pattern. Figger it out it aint rocket-surgery. On Wisconsin.

-- Steve, 'Sconie Great White North

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3076 days

#4 posted 02-05-2012 11:44 AM

My theory has to do with the thickness—-or lack of same—-of the veneer you’re trying to stain. It is very thin and thus sealed on the back side by glue which doesn’t allow much to be drawn in. Try aniline dye. Should work better. Dfi for mr the one time I tried it.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

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