Today I’ll be staining some maple. The customer want a cherry finish. Not a new cherry wood look, but the old antique look with years patina. More like the stuff you’d find on the a showroom floor call “cherry finish”. As most of you know, maple doesn’t absorb stain very good, so to achieve a dark, rich finish is impossible with stain only.
Several years ago, I standardize this finish for my customers and make to sample piece with the steps that need to be taken. This way I can reproduce it each time a customer request it.
To get the dark color on the maple, you must dye the wood. I use universal dyes from Sherwin Williams. This stuff is very concentrated so a little goes a long way. I use both the red and the brown dye. To get it on the wood I spray it in a thinned down state.
1 part red
2 parts Brown
140 parts thinner.
When sprayed the thinner will be flash off in just a few seconds and the dye is left ready for the next step.
I follow up with a wiping stain. because of how fast it is, a lot of production furniture companies use this as their only means of staining the wood. I follow up the dye with a wiping stain. This pops the grain and gives it depth. On this color I use a Red Mahogany by Minwax. I spray my stains and with it back off.
It is then follow by a couple coats of pre-catalyzed lacquer. If some tweaking is still needed on the color the same dye can be used as a toner. Todd Clippinger has a good post on using toners
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