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Thread: Staining Red Oak ?

  1. #1

    Staining Red Oak ?

    A question for the experts out there, I built a cradle for my first future granddaughter out of red oak, my son and daughter inlaw have mostly that commercial cherry wood furniture that is more of a red mahogany color. Is it possible to get a decent stain on red oak? I have picked up some Minwax mahogany red gel stain and it looks like at least a good blend/ match for color. My experiance in stains is limited and not so pleasant from past attempts. How would you accomplish this task? Don't be afraid to spell it out simply, and a speciffically detailed regimine would be appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Wayne,
    I do a lot of coloring in my restoration business and I very rarely if ever use stains. I use dye's. I use Transfast and transtint dyes and blend them as needed to get the color I want. Both are water soluable and you can use as much or as little of the water in solution as you need. Simply vary the ratio of water and dye until you get a color match. Keep one thing in mind once you think you've got a color match then take some mineral spirits and wipe it on the dyed pieces so you can see how it will look with a finish on it. Of course you do all of this on a piece of scrap from the project before you apply it to the actual piece.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
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    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!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  4. #4
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    One more - and differing - opinion: Go ahead and use the gel stain, but FIRST seal the oak with a coat of thin (1˝# works well) shellac. I use Zinnzer SealCoat®, and cut it about 25% with alcohol.

    Sand lightly when the shellac is dry, then use the gel stain. Experiment (on scrap, of course) with waiting a bit, and rubbing some of it off, varying the wait time until you get the effect you want.

    Make sure the gel stain dries for a full 24 hours before trying to topcoat it - and spraying works better than brushing for this.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  5. #5

    Staining Red Oak ?

    Thanks for all the help and suggestions. Iam finnally getting back to work on it this weekend , will play with it and see what happens.

  6. #6
    I use red oak a lot, you can stain or dye it about any color you want, it will take the color well, but it's still gonna look like oak thats been colored. If it is tight grained rift or quarter sawn it won't be quite as obvious.

  7. #7
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    Barry is correct. But keep one thing in mind. The non wood workers tend to look at the color and if your close they'll think it is a match.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
    My opinion of Gel stain is that I rate it just shy of Latex paint. It covers better than colors,

    Yes, I said "Covers, not Colors"

    I prefer dyes or oilbased stain. Never liked Minwax, but it is the most common, I prefer to mix BLO with color pigments to create my own color match. With it, you can darken or lighten to achieve exact matches.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    I'm with Bill on using dye's Rather than stains. Stains tend to be blotchy. With Dye's you can controls the color better. Some think there are harder to use but I find them easier.I use the water based dye's. Many are worried about the water raising little fuxxey's on the surface and think they need to sand after using them. I apply the dye then apply the first coat of finish then sand down the nibs. This helps seal in the color and then finish as usual. I usual use wioe on poly or wipe on varnish.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Floydada, Tx
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    Try old master stains. They will mix a color for you. Just bring a peice that you want to match.

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