Prep of red oak before staining

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Forum topic by WOODIE1 posted 04-11-2012 02:56 PM 11435 views 2 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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117 posts in 2479 days

04-11-2012 02:56 PM

I have searched but am overwhelmed with all the different replies. Finished a fireplace surround and bookshelf with the old HD red oak solid 3/4 wood.

Does red oak need any sealer or??? before using a stain? I am going with General stains either water or oil depends on avail color.

I would also like to use either a tung oil or wipe on finish to keep it simple.

Sealer? sand after sealer? Shelac? before stain? Any recommendations appreciated but please I am new so include a good description or name of the product as I get lost easy.

8 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3776 days

#1 posted 04-11-2012 03:10 PM

I would use a grain filler sand it back apply some GF dyestain then a clear coat. I don’t think tung oil offers a lot of protection. This is much better.
no other sealer is necessary before or after.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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1730 posts in 3268 days

#2 posted 04-11-2012 03:47 PM

It depends on what you want to see when you’re done. Red oak grain is pretty porus and will absorb quite a bit more stain then the rest of the board. That’s what makes red oak grain “pop” like it does. If you get more “pop” than you like, try a preconditioner or grain sealer so the stain doesn’t soak so deeply into the grain.

As always, practice on scrap before you commit yourself on a piece you’ve put a lot of work into.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

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117 posts in 2479 days

#3 posted 04-11-2012 05:33 PM

Thanks. I think I am going to skip the grain filler as I like the grain pop look. I would like to ton it down a bit but not eliminate it so I guess I will try a grain sealer.

Jim in the above are you putting an oil clear on top of water based dye?

I love wood working but always hated the finish process and this is from someone who used to paint cars.

I am going with a clear as we are now building a matching book case that will be exposed to sunlight.

Thanks off to Rockler to see what they have.

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3776 days

#4 posted 04-11-2012 05:56 PM

No problem putting the oil base over the waterbase. If you want to learn more about finishing Charles Neil has a great video set called Finishing A-Z beyond the books. It so happens he was a auto painter years ago too.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View CharlesNeil's profile


2457 posts in 4070 days

#5 posted 04-11-2012 05:57 PM

Jim has it right, and no issue with the Arm R seal over Wb colorants, skipping the grain filler is a personal choice, his combo will do well ! I f your spraying a good top coat is GF Hight performance it also seems to have good heat resistence.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2561 days

#6 posted 04-13-2012 06:22 PM

Red oak takes either dye or pigmented stains very well. Keep it simple by topping with a wipe-on oil poly that you can make by thinning poly from the can with naptha. You don’t have to get any more complicated than that.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

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2128 posts in 4123 days

#7 posted 04-13-2012 06:46 PM

What Jim said.

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117 posts in 2479 days

#8 posted 04-13-2012 08:07 PM

Thanks for all the help. I made a couple test pieces. The rig was the plain Minwax Jacobean? 1 coat. I then picked up the Espresso General Finishes and did a test piece by itself. I had some left over on the rag so I went over the Jacobean and it looked good. Did one more coat and we have a winner.

I will post some pics over the weekend. Going with Jacobean Minwax 1 coat then 2 coats Espresso General with their satin clear. The bookcase is near a window so the added protection of the clear will keep me from watching all the time.


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