Light Stain for Maple Project

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Forum topic by NavalAg05 posted 07-03-2013 11:52 AM 1346 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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19 posts in 2075 days

07-03-2013 11:52 AM

Topic tags/keywords: maple finishing

Anyone have any suggestions for a light stain for a project made from maple?

I am working on a valet for the house, made of maple, and will have some leather/vynal (sp) on it.
I want it to be light/blonde so that the leather, which is a darker burgandy color will contrast.

Havent really found what I think will look good, so I figured I would ask around, that and the little 5 dollar cans of stain are starting to add up a bit.

Thanks in Advance

9 replies so far

View UpstateNYdude's profile


917 posts in 2186 days

#1 posted 07-03-2013 11:54 AM

golden oak from Minwax (not sure what brand you use) is about that color on maple.

-- Nick, “I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.” – Vincent Van Gogh

View waho6o9's profile


8525 posts in 2780 days

#2 posted 07-03-2013 12:16 PM

Watco Natural works well and will compliment the leather nicely.

Watco Danish Oil.

View Finisherman's profile


227 posts in 2053 days

#3 posted 07-03-2013 07:13 PM

If I were doing the project, I’d probably try a dye like trans-tint mixed with alcohol. Pigmented stains often have a difficult time in colouring tight grained woods like maple. Do you have access to spray equipment? If you do, you can spray very light coats of dye onto the wood until you get the colour that you’re after. The one caveat in all of this is that maple is sometimes prone to blotchiness. If you need to wipe the stain, and your test board shows a tendency towards blotchiness, then use a pre-stain conditioner like the one made by Charles Neil. Spraying the dye, if that’s possible, will also help to minimize that tendency. Another option would be an aerosol lacquer toner. The toner is available from finishing companies like Mohawk that cater to the finishing trade. Send them an e-mail and they’ll send you their catalogue. As for the colour, I’d try something like a light orange maple. Hope this helps.

View Aj2's profile


1881 posts in 2001 days

#4 posted 07-04-2013 04:42 AM

Isn’t maple already light blonde?Some if the maple at the wood keeper place looks white to me.And it even turns a nice Carmel color with out doing anything it.
I think the best way to control the color on maple is with trans tint and blonde shellac.One of their kits has just about every color one can imagine.You can Sneek right up to the color you want.

-- Aj

View NavalAg05's profile


19 posts in 2075 days

#5 posted 07-04-2013 12:00 PM

Thanks for the input so far, I have some lighter stains like golden oak and some WATCO oils to experiment with.
Finisherman, no spray equipment, I just use rags and rub the stain and oil on, then follow it up with poly.

Backbevel, yes, the maple is already blonde, but this will be my first time to note stain a project with a darker tone. Most of my projects end up with a early american stain color, but I want something to contrast the dark leather. Question, which kits are you talking about? Am I correct to assume that shellac comes in a kit?


View Aj2's profile


1881 posts in 2001 days

#6 posted 07-04-2013 08:54 PM

The best way to use shellac is fresh flakes.Dissolve in denatured alcohol .This way you can make small batches.Fr small batches I make maybe 1/2 cup at a time.The key is many thin coats.Some times fifteen or more.I use a cotton t or rag that’s clean folded till its 1 1/2”x1”x1/2” thick.dip and wipe .If your carefull about handling you make it around several times.Shellac is worth getting used to for small stuff.Most people use it way to thick and test is it should barely feel tacky between your thumb and index finger when tapping them together.

-- Aj

View tturner's profile


63 posts in 2232 days

#7 posted 08-05-2013 11:04 PM

My 2 cents…it doesnt take a huge concoction of liquids to get a good finish. Most of us here arent chemists anyway. Ive tried all types of mixtures and most of the time the General Finishes stains work well. But i dont recommend the gel stain. They arent what they are cracked up to be. For that matter, most woodworkers frown, really really frown on staining but hey, its your project.
I did my whole house in maple cabinets so i can talk from some experience here. Using soft maple, with an oil based poly finish, it tends to turn a ‘pink’ color and is absolutely beautiful. If you do decide to go with staining, (we forgive you) i HIGHLY suggest using a pre-stain conditioner. Maple is so tightly grained, it will not accept stain evenly and will blotch. Thats not IF it will blotch, thats WHEN it blotches. THe conditioner will minimize the blotching.
Also, there is a guy on here named Charles Neil. He lurks occasionally in order to help people like us get better results finishing. Look him up, you’ll be glad you did. Good Luck!
PS-wiping on finishes is perfectly fine.

-- I'm him

View NavalAg05's profile


19 posts in 2075 days

#8 posted 08-06-2013 12:23 AM

Thanks for the input tturner, I went with a celar shellac for the project. It came out really nice. I am planning to do another one and adding some tint to it just to play with it some.

View Henry6's profile


36 posts in 2230 days

#9 posted 11-19-2013 11:32 AM

The light stain from Storm System has always yielded positive results for my husband. He swears by their products. Take a look:

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