How To Stain Oak So Open Grain Is Not So Dark

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Forum topic by ajosephg posted 02-17-2009 01:26 AM 11693 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1878 posts in 2977 days

02-17-2009 01:26 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing oak

Normally I do not stain oak, but I am working on a project where I want a reddish brown color (cherry?). I do not want the open grain part of the wood to be significantly darker than the closed grain part. I am intending to use polyurethane varnish (after staining) for durability. If it makes a difference, I am using white oak wood.

Anybody been there done that?

-- Joe

6 replies so far

View Grumpy's profile


21459 posts in 3267 days

#1 posted 02-17-2009 01:58 AM

Joe, as Bently says, a grain filler is the trick. you could follow up with a sanding sealer before the final finish. A lot of grain fillers are just treated talcum powder but they fill gaps & minimise the heavy colours.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View ajosephg's profile


1878 posts in 2977 days

#2 posted 02-17-2009 04:16 AM

Thanks all,

Going shopping tomorrow and will buy some grain filler and a dye and see which looks the best. Might be hard to find as the big box stores probably don’t have. Only hope is Sherwin Williams or equiv. If they don’t have it I guess it’s mail order city.

-- Joe

View Al Killian's profile

Al Killian

273 posts in 3169 days

#3 posted 02-19-2009 12:28 AM

I rather use several coats of lacquer, sanding between coats will fill the grain and leave the color equal.

-- Owner of custom millwork shop

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3184 days

#4 posted 02-19-2009 12:38 AM

you can fill the grain. i recommend timbermate you can get it from woodcraft and it works very well. also spraying a dye will work very well.

View rickf16's profile


386 posts in 2997 days

#5 posted 02-19-2009 03:48 AM

I know oak is more porous than other hardwoods, but what about sanding the end grain to a higher grit? I have used cherry in various projects where I sand to all faces to 220, the do the end grain to 400. When I do this, the end grain looks the same as the other faces. Just my two cents.

-- Rick

View ajosephg's profile


1878 posts in 2977 days

#6 posted 02-19-2009 04:59 AM

Rick – The end grain isn’t a concern because it won’t be visible. it’s the top grain that I’m talking about.
Al – That would work if I wasn’t wanting to darken the oak.

None of the local stores had grain filler or dye, so Saturday I’m going to motor over to the big town and the Woodcraft store there and buy both dye and filler. I’ll be sure to look at Timbermate.

Also watched some good videos by Steve Profinisher on you tube so I think I have a good idea on how to do it now.

-- Joe

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