as for coloring wood, don is far better on that than me but in my expierence if you are new to coloring wood i would tend to stay away from dyes for the first attempt.. i have used them, alcohol based ones and like them ,,but for simplicity you might be better off with the gel stain first time out..oak soaks stain like a sponge depending on the sanding reguim you have done..for instance a piece sanded to 120 will be darker than one sanded to 180..less scratches to hold the pigments..like don said always try it on scrap and do his trick of the mineral spirits to see final outcome..the water base dyes will raise the grain on you and you will have to carefully knock off the fuzz it creates. before you go to the finish stage.
If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
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Don't put off today till tomorrow!