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Red Oak Chest of Drawers Finish

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Forum topic by BuzzBate posted 469 days ago 1167 views 1 time favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BuzzBate

101 posts in 627 days


469 days ago

I’m currently working on a chest of drawers for my neice that just turned 5 and am wondering about what finish people recommend. I’ve used red oak plywood for the sides and solid red oak for the top and facing. The problem is that the solid red oak is a lot more red. I wanted to stain it a little darker anyway, and I think that will make the differences less noticable. I’m a rookie at finishing minus using polyshades which I wouldn’t use on something decent. Recommendations?

That’s not the client in the picture. That’s my co-worker and size comparison.

-- "Drill as many holes as you want. We have plenty of putty."


15 replies so far

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pintodeluxe

3260 posts in 1409 days


#1 posted 469 days ago

This is Rodda #19 oil based stain with a satin lacquer topcoat (on red oak). Samples of a few stain colors should help narrow down your selection. Remember to topcoat the samples because that will affect the color as well.

Good luck with your project.

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

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BuzzBate

101 posts in 627 days


#2 posted 469 days ago

I like that color, and chest.

-- "Drill as many holes as you want. We have plenty of putty."

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1638 posts in 1089 days


#3 posted 469 days ago

A stain should help some with the color, and then I’d just top coat it with a good quality varnish…in my case it would be a non-poly formula. Like P&L 38, or maybe Sherwin Williams Fast Dry Oil Varnish. If I was going to coat the drawers, it would be with shellac, though a water borne finish would work as well. I would probably spend some time trying to fill the grain on the top, just to get a good glassy surface on it.

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

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Granddaddy1

181 posts in 797 days


#4 posted 469 days ago

You’ll find it tough to get an exact match with your solid stock and the plywood. Your solid lumber is probably flat sawn or quarter sawn. The plywood is probably rotary cut, i.e., the log was peeled on a large rotary lathe. The grain and figure of the materials are very different. Experiment with scrap using different stains (or combination of stains), number of coats of stain, etc. until you get something you like. Be sure to let the test pieces dry completely before comparison. Good luck with it! I’ll bet you get it pretty close.

-- Ron Wilson - maker of fine firewood!

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SCOTSMAN

5241 posts in 2181 days


#5 posted 469 days ago

Wow very nice chest buddy ,or should that be BUZZY lol .Please now make a new one with smaller drawers so that I can buy it for my engineers shop Have fun,Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

260 posts in 584 days


#6 posted 469 days ago

I use Minwax golden oak oil stain and then oil based poly. Just my preference….

Whatever, you decide to use, you try it on a piece of the solid oak and oak ply. Make certain that you look at it under the lights for the room where it will be or in daylight and artificial lights.

Good Luck

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David Dean

489 posts in 1495 days


#7 posted 469 days ago

nice work so far I have a lote of poeple who like’s the golden oak and the weman like the english chestnut it make’s oak look like cherry.

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redSLED

687 posts in 488 days


#8 posted 469 days ago

It’d be a shame to stain your red oak with anything super dark, that’s for sure. Love the light colour tone in the last photo above.

There’s no point in a clear lacquer finish unless you have a spray booth to lacquer spray your chest fast and need it to dry super fast, and/or you must have the clearest non-yellowing protective coat. Poly/varnish are more durable against water and alcohol spills vs. lacquer IMO, making it the best value brush-on or wipe-on finish IMO, if that’s what you’re looking for.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

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BuzzBate

101 posts in 627 days


#9 posted 468 days ago

Those are some good colors. I appreciate the pictures and comments. Oak is some of the easier woods for me to find here in Arkansas so it gives me ideas for now and in the future.

David: I can see the women folk liking that English Chestnut. My wife is already on me about building some dark colored furniture.

I still have to do a little testing, but I believe this chest is going to go more of the golden oak stain. I have heard that a wipe on poly is pretty easy for a newbie like myself. I’ve never used it before though.

-- "Drill as many holes as you want. We have plenty of putty."

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David Dean

489 posts in 1495 days


#10 posted 468 days ago

Buzz I dont know that much about the wipe on poly but some of the older guys say its cloudy if you dont work it in all the way and here’ a pic of what two coats of brush on poly will do and remember it’s not a race just take your time.

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redSLED

687 posts in 488 days


#11 posted 468 days ago

I suggest doing some reading on wiping poly because you can potentially wipe off some of your stain job. Some use clear shellac as a stain sealer coat before final finish. Should you take this route with success, your refinishing skills will advance 1-2 levels up. Look forward to final pics.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

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Tooch

580 posts in 472 days


#12 posted 465 days ago

here is a table with Special Walnut and brush-on Gloss polyurethane:

and a toy chest with Dark walnut and brush-on gloss poly:

I have tried wipe-on poly (the Arm-R-Seal brand), and found that it does work well as long as you use an old t-shirt and put on multiple coats. However, the second and third coats took much longer to dry than brush-on poly.

Another thing you could try is the spray poly that comes in cans, but be prepared to spend a lot more money when you go to the hardware store as it runs out very quickly. on my first few larger projects, I did 2 coats brush on poly and saved the spray can for the final coat. I also use an old worn out piece of 220 grit sandpaper in between coats to smooth the finish, but be careful not to do too much- you just want to scuff the finish a bit.

If you decide to go with brush on poly, be sure to pick up a good brush (about $20 for 2-1/2”) and a can of mineral spirits for clean-up. I get an old mason jar and fill it enough to soak the brush in MS until i’m ready for the second, third coat.

good luck! let me know how it comes out

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

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AandCstyle

1243 posts in 853 days


#13 posted 465 days ago

Buzz, since the ply is lighter color, sand the solid oak to a finer grit than the ply. The solid will take less color this way. For example, you might sand the ply to 180 and the solid to 320. Obviously, you will need to test on samples. Also, be careful with WB products on oak because the pH differences can cause problems. One way to ameliorate this is to apply a wash coat of shellac to the oak, then put the WB on top of the shellac. HTH

-- Art

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redSLED

687 posts in 488 days


#14 posted 465 days ago

^ Excellent sanding advice.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View BuzzBate's profile

BuzzBate

101 posts in 627 days


#15 posted 447 days ago

So I got sidetracked by a swingset for my daughter, but hopefully the chest of drawers will be finished this weekend. I have it stained with Red Oak and am using a clear Shellac finish to brush on. I will probably do around 5 coats. After doing some tests on cut-offs, my sister decided that she liked that combination. The color variation is not as bad as the pictures show, but it was already dark outside and it was getting shadows. I will post the project as soon as it’s done, but here’s an update picture as of last night:

-- "Drill as many holes as you want. We have plenty of putty."

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