Staining close-grained woods like maple and cherry presents a problem for the wood finisher, because they can absorb regular penetrating stains unevenly and appear blotchy. I would contact a floor coatings expert for something like that. Check out these related posts:, hey all i am a novice framer and just got done doing a frame with an inlay on hardwood maple. Embrace the chaos. When applying a stain, be sure to use a pre-stain conditioner to try and even out the "blotchy" … I am using the Polyshades stains with the varathane built in. Your email address will not be published. I have a HVLP gun to spray it. Currently doing glue up on a maple bed frame. If you only know of brands in the states that’s ok as I’m sure I’ll be doing a trip soon and might be able to pick some up there. I decided to go against the online hardwood flooring forum hive mind and give it a shot. Would applying a sealer first give it some color. What is the difference between the wood conditioner and shellac? How should apply stain (brush or wipe)? It is hard to find a color because all the samples I see online and in the store are usually on oak. Am I dreaming? And you may never get perfect results. But you will want to make sure you use something for the blotch issue. For example, if you take a highly figured piece of curly maple and stain it black with the appropriate dye(note: alcohol, water based, stains and leather dyes, yes, leather dyes) then evenly sand it out, it will take on the appearance of a zebra. * Water popped the wood to raise the grain. Even Lee Valley, (and there head offices are in Canada). I am most likely the least familiar with sanding,staining, well woodwork in general than anyone on this forum. Flood it on the surface and wipe off the excess for a nice even color. The Pacific Coast Maple has quite a bit of red that seems to come through and looks really bad with gray. The once white countertops are now very random shades ranging from close to white thru orange all the way down to a greenish brown. Hey Rob. I does penetrate deep though. As with other hardwoods such as cherry, maple can be a bit temperamental to finish, particularly when staining. A board that has a nice, attractive grain pattern can end up with dark, splotchy areas after you apply the … Unfortunately, attempts Still working on the details of the new shop. Odd use, but I have a project that requires stained curly maple. The goal was to keep them the original white/natural color or as close to that as possible – certainly not orange-brown. It isn’t idea but they are very similar looking woods. I was told to do a dark stain on them because that is the only way that Maple will turn out ok. Now I think my problem is that maple just doesn’t want to take stain very well, so when I use putty to fill the cracks (All this on sample pieces, thank God), the stain comes out much darker on the areas filled with putty. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Is it doomed to clash and look stupid? I mixed this color myself since I couldn’t find the color I wanted which is a dark cherry with a hint of walnut. Thanks. Hi Ginger. The drawback is that it has taken me a while to learn to blend the base coat and knowing how colors layer was quite a learning curve. But you might try the Prarie Wheat color as that seems to have a little more orange in it. There certainly may be other finisher tricks that some pros in the industry but from my experience, the best solutions are the two suggestions above. Marc, I just discovered this thread. But I am hesitant to “monday morning quarterback” your cabinet guy without more information. We are having a birds eye maple piece built and would like it to be a grey color whether dye or stain. I HATE THEM – they turned out all blotchy and my beautiful stairs now look terrible. I would really like a durable finish. to match have sought out the products they needed to achieve the results their customers have demanded. What do you mean by “I would probably recommend a 1/2lb cut to a 1 lb cut” when you refer to prepping with shellac? What do you recommend? Thank you for making this possible.;sid=AFN86. But if you want the water white look, it could be one of the very few options. Your detailed instructions would be greatly appreciated. But if you want to enjoy the wood grain, you need to resolve those scratches. However in between sanding and vacuuming dust we have sample pieces that were cut out to make runs for duct work. These finishes are what they call “water white” meaning they don’t add the same amber and yellow tones we see from oil-based finishes and traditional lacquers. I would also consider no stain at all but would at least like color of the wood to have some “color” other than the white look it has now. I’m almost certain the wood is maple since the cabinet is in almost perfect condition, no dings or scratches, even after over 50 years in public service. Thank you. Have you tried dyes? I try to use the least amount of shellac that will give me the “anti-splotch” result when I apply stain. I want to stain a maple top for a sideboard but now I’m hesitant to start after seeing all of the comments about how difficult it is to stain maple. When we got in contact with the project manager for the construction company, he told us the company had gone bankrupt. I am tempted to use the steel wool and then a thin coat of a dark brown stain to get it closer to the gunstock colour but would really like a second opinion?????? Once that dries, then I would switch to the lacquer toner mix. But this would be a good topic for the future. Thanks again for the reply. Ultimately, this is why I would never deliver a piece of furniture without showing the client a test sample so they can see exactly what they are getting. Thank you. But again, I recommend using what you already have, preventing the blotch, staining, and then topcoating. And if thats not strong enough, start using a little pigment in the mix. to whom it may concern… Please Help! You can get dewaxed shellac by the gallon under the name Bullseye Sealcoat. I’d recommend something like a danish oil if you’re new to finishing. Hi Ray. Hello, how soon after applying the cut shellac should the stain be applied? Your recommendations are most appreciated. Then, apply your topcoat of choice. So with your basecoat of color already on the wood, the Java should finish things off nicely. can you make a video for this? All original woodwork, columns, etc are dark (fir? If I may add my two cents; Hello Marci Joy. I can scratch it off. Had I known what a nightmare this was going to be, just beginning woodworking, spending 2000 dollars on tools and wood already for my 10 piece full wall bookcase, I would have spent the extra money on another type of wood. I’d appreciate your advice. which is a rich mahogany. Needless to say he couldn’t complete the job. I want to go as dark as I can but still be able to see the grain. Designed and developed by Underscorefunk Design. Thanks for the reply as well. (Kind of frustrating when you want to conserve wood for future samples.) I do samples but you can never know exactly how absorbant all areas will be, so I start with a thinned coat to see where I might have a problem, then add coats or go directly to gel stain depending on how dark I am forced to go. I hope the General Finishes is the answer to my woes. I am staining birch plywood and Poplar hardwood in the same cabinet. So there are so many ways you can take this. We have installed Factory stained “Cinnamon Maple” maple wood floors in our home. I just saw some of your videos on youtube and I really enjoyed it. Hopefully that helps. I always appreciate when someone who is in the wood working business is not too pretentious to admit they unsure of something and to ask for help. The tight cellular structure of the wood makes it difficult to get a stain to penetrate properly. How can I get maple to take stain better? After reading several of your posts and other website’s comments I am thinking this is not what I should do. Should I seal with that CN sealcoat product, or the Bulls Eye sealcoat shellac diluted by 50% with denatured alcohol? Please click here to learn more. Let me know, thanks!! I have deduced that the grain is tighter than other woods, and that instant color grabbing was not going to happen and by letting it sit, the pigment was allowed to seep in. Order Online Today Or Call Toll Free @ (844) 744-7558 for the best pricing! I want to use a cinnamon or pecan color for my maple hardwood. Its really sad to see a grown man cry:-{ Its a nice dark brown with red undertones. “cuts” of shellac refer to the dilution. Would pre-sealing the wood, then apply a single coat of maple gel stain, then sealer and 4 coats of poly (sanding between) be appropriate to get that antique look back? It is also a very dark brown. Then I recommend using a gel stain. Waterborne finishes dry clear and what they call “water white”, which essentially means they bring absolutely no color to the wood. Hi Marc, Would really appreciate it if you can provide some pointers. When I started building I started with cabinet grade 3/4″ birch ply without really knowing where I was going to find birch stock, and it is hard to find in my area hence my switching the face to maple. Once you get the color you want and you are satisfied with the results, then you should be able to do the same thing on the floor. What is your thought on applying a coat or even two of brown mahogany over the Java? From what I have been reading on this website, I think the solution to staining my birch/ poplar cabinet in a dark walnut color is to spray a fast drying dye on it. If you have any last minute changes to my stain schedule, let me know! I am renting a sander…that is my start. It looks horrible, uneven in the middle of the door and very dark and the edges are light but still not attractive. I will post again when I get the result. And even it it doesn’t fill it completely, I personally think a natural-looking dent is better than a perfectly flat filled surface. We chose custom, high-end, poplar hm it sounds like they aren’t as bad as we originally thought… definitely worth looking into. any suggestions on how to achieve this please please help me. Gel stain, gel stain, gel stain. We have an old american foursquare with wood floors we would like to refinish hidden beneath the carpet. I was mistaken on the color my wife actually prefers the red undertone. You can do many variations of this mix to get the result your looking for. He then held up his thumb to display a beautiful dark walnut nail and proclaimed, “but wear gloves if you use alcohol!” And I would add; don’t drown your sorrows and start drinking it;-). As evidence of this, the background on my site is actually maple. lol. But stripping could help get a great deal of the color out of the wood. I highly recommend you get some practice boards and get used to the process of applying the finish. I just wanted to thank you for all the info. Also, be sure to use a blonde shellac since that emparts little to no color at all. By pre-sealing the wood with shellac, you can even out the color absorption. I hope it works as I am nickel and diming myself to death on stain. Blonde shellac is best. I am not sure where to start. But you might look into Generals Finishes Candlelight color. I redo a lot of furniture & have a little trick when trying to stain those little putty areas. pine and Douglas fir, do not take stain as evenly as species such as red oak and white oak.Blotchy color can result from other factors as well, such as inconsistent sanding procedures, water-popping, or stain application. I would hit the maple with a light coat of shellac. Whenever I have had to strip furniture, I just picked something off the shelf at Home Depot. If one has more scraps and time to experiment, it may be that some dye could be added to the thinned shellac that would enrich the final look when the stain is applied. Preparing the maple for stain is easy, finish sand down to 400 grit going with the grain of the wood as you sand. I think the problem is the very nature of an oil-based finish. The Wood Whisperer abides by word of mouth marketing standards and holds integrity in the highest regard. Tell me where can I get dark cherry finish? While some finishing can be easily accomplished, I don’t know that I’d say finishing a set of maple stairs is really a DIY level job. This explains the yellows and oranges but doesn’t really explain the greenish brown. And yes, if you find the time with your young family I’m sure people would like to see you tackle this particular subject. The solid maple wood is durable and easy to care for, and the rich dark color complements any church dcor. Thank you so much! We just purchased new maple cabinets that are unfinished and not yet installed. I just had my house built and went with very dark maple kitchen cabinets and they look hidious. When sanding down through one of my test boards, you could see the dye in the grain move through the wood the deeper you sand. If the color is pushing red, you might be on the right track trying to overlay some brown. I am staining my oak stairs to match my “gunstock” coloured flooring. I got a beautiful dinning table made out of knotted line that I tried to stain with Minmax Jacobean. Then over top of that we installed beautiful white maple butcherblock countertops. Hi, my husband built a maple cabinet with maple veneer plywood and maple doors. Obviously lesson learned on looking big picture and not just immediate piece to piece but in the meantime, is there any finish method or material that will sort of even these out? What type of prep do I need to do before applying the stain? Therefore as you sand the wood out some black will stay and some will not,creating the “zebra” effect. The contractor used Minwax, Early American. And no, they don’t dissolve with water contact. The wood grain is only slightly visible under an opaque pale finish. Hey Marc, sorry about that. Hard maple is an extremely dense, tight-pored wood that does not absorb any stains. Here’s a picture of the finished product with 2 coats of oil based polyurethane. I picked maple because I want a smooth clean look and maple has the least visible wood grain. I would probably drop all the way back down to the lowest grit you started with. Now if that stain still isnt dark enough, then you might want to move to a darker gel stain. Just apply it like your cleaning a wood with mineral spirits. I think I am going to give this website to my cabinet guy maybe it will help.. thank you for your time. Please help me – these stairs are the focal point in my house and they look terrible. thanks, I have just begun staining our kitchen cabinets and have applied 2 coats of General Finishes Java so far. I’m still a novice and while I took some care to check from piece to piece that the grain wasn’t drastically different, there are panels that start out dark and more figured and by the other end of the panel it’s cleaner, clearer, and more uniform. Although the floor looks great, it is hard to keep it clean and over the last few years we find that it makes the house too dark. And when it comes to maple, you usually have to strip and sand in order to get all the old stain out of the wood. thanks for your response! Hi Kathy. My plan was to go dark, but as I researched and read more and more on how to stain maple dark, I became dismayed: it seemed like the entire internet was telling me it was impossible to stain maple dark successfully. As soon as it is dry. Since we were giving a little love and polish to the rest of the apartment, the contractor suggesting re-finishing the floors swearing that we could replicate the milky color. Dark stains can ruin the appearance of your maple hardwood flooring and, because they've likely penetrated the finish, can be difficult to eliminate. Here’s the short version: use gel stain! I don’t want each of these areas to stand out, and I want a more uniform color. (I have roots in the south so am familiar with white washed and pickled finishes – but have only seen it done on heart pine and cypress wood.) I don’t really work with “faux” finishes very often so that is pretty much outside of my comfort zone. It does indeed dry clear but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bring a color hue with it. The gel stain will sit on the surface more and will allow you to more effectively change the color without depending on stain absorption. I am refinishing a antique wagon wheel bed era 1940-1950’s. So many times I will start off with a dye and see where it takes me. Keep in mind that many commercial finishers use toners and pigmented stains. I have never stained maple before and am a bit confused on exactly what steps to follow. Dyes work better but limit the colors available. Today that person is me:-) I’ve been commissioned to make maple night stands in a dark chocolate colour (in Canada we spell colour this way! Should I just give it a light sanding and then use a gel stain on top to achieve the darker desired colour? do you have any experience on polyshade? The legs and chairs are a bit ornate (1930s) and the original finish was a bit darker in the grooves. It means a lot. thanks so much! Contractors tend to get comfortable with products or procedures they prefer to use, but advancements in floor product technologies do offer some possible solutions. Help! actually, i went ahead and put an even layer of mahogany danish oil and left the piece over night, and did that for 3 nights and it has reached the desired goal. All content on The Wood Whisperer is copyrighted, and may not be reprinted in full form without my written consent. is that true? is it okay to use polyshade? Came across your marvelous site in a desperate internet search for information about staining maple wood floors white…realize your expertise is with furniture but curious if you have any thoughts on this one: If I decide to switch to gel stain and use the bullseye method in your video, is it possible to spray a base coat 90% lacquer thinner, 10% lacquer, plus the color additive using a cherry color, can I adjust the color with the gel stain and get somewhat even results from the plywood to the soft maple? I made a colossal mistake and took my husbands (just married and already screwing up!) And use a gel stain to get the deepest, richest color. Often this is simply a physical property of the wood species itself … Uhg. Can you recomend a mix and where to get the dye? But to answer your question, a simple dye added to the white wash stain will definitely change the overall color. I am refinishing a maple 12 drawer cabinet and its made out of maple. If at all possible, you should leave maple in its natural state unless it was pre-finished or pre-stained by the manufacturer. Hopefully it can be done without calling in the big floor sanders. Since you paid good money for this thing, I really think it is the contractor’s responsibility to get someone in there that knows what they are doing. Here’s my review of Polyshades: avoid it. Well once you have a color on the surface, you can’t really go lighter….unless you remove the color. finish started peeling immediately, before the job was finished. Maple is also known for having an inconsistent grain pattern, often … The company came a resprayed without sanding a few doors and they came out even worse. I recommend following the concepts outlined in this video: I wiped on the dye and I can see why you recommended spraying this it can be a little tricky. I do not like how it came out. However if you’re doing an outdoors project these products are not ideal due to their weakness to UV rays which will result in fading of the colors. But I am not the cabinet guy so I cant tell you exactly for sure all the steps taken during preperation.sorry. (not my choice, the client’s) if i’d known that is what they had wanted, i certainly wouldn’t have used maple. Now I’ve got two night stands which (i think) look quite nice but still not chocolate. I have strip and sanded the complete cabinet and wash. I learned some stuffs on your videos and got ideas, but it’s my first time doing this so I just want more advice. * GEL STAIN. Zinnser shellac, for instance, is at a 3lb cut. What cut of shellac are you using? Something that dries quickly, doesn’t absorb too deep, and potentially obscures the grain a bit. Unfortunately, there is no “easy” way that I know of. I don’t use these so I can’t make a specific recommendation but those are the keywords that should get you started in your search. And keep in mind you can add many coats to arrive at the color you desire. The hard as rock maple floors are proving difficult. I want to use a gel stain which is old master. Let dry, then apply your poly or nitro sealer. Folks looking for something truly uniform should check out our friends plastic, metal, and glass. Are we crazy? Just keep in mind that you might start to muddy up the grain a bit since there are several layers of color sitting on top of the wood. One thing I used to do quite a bit was make my own ‘toner”, using diluted lacquer and either pigment or dye, and sometimes both. :). I would totally post pics but i don’t see an option for that. You can read what the Wood Flooring Association has to say about maple flooring here.. Staining maple is generally … I would probably start by using some Charles Neil blotch control, followed by a dark brown dye, and finishing up with General Finishes Java gel stain. Help please. Truth is, I don’t work with that many water-based finishes so I can’t make a specific brand recommendation for you. Maple is a true hardwood with a very thin grain that makes it harder for paint or stain … All that said, if you really want to do the filler route, I would recommend checking out Timbermate Wood Filler. We were thinking of staining the floors dark to match the existing woodwork better, plus we like the look of the dark floors that are popular now. I was going to try to lightly sand the top and then put another coat of the stain on. i think I’ll just have to use water based stain and water based polyurethane and give it a good buff! Using this basic premise you can create an infinite array of colors and effects. What are your reccommended materials for a door that will be in high humidity like a bathroom? Its getting all the deeply absorbed color out that’s the problem. I actually think Darin’s ‘problem’ may be my solution. :) Seriously though, I think wood furniture can and should feature the amazing variety mother nature has to offer. Custom made Maple. I lightly sanded and as pplied a custom stain. Should I chemically strip it first? The environmentally-friendly stuff is a little safer and easier to work with, but might not work as well. This week’s question comes from Darin. I am honestly no that familiar with Duraseal products so I cant exactly advise you there. Also, does the gel stain work best, do you have a recommendation for a darker brown look, No yellow or red tones. The reason is because the stain is deeply absorbed into the fibers of the wood. (When we removed a built in bookcase, it was clear that the floor had been stained a warm, golden honey color before it was white.) These can really layer on some thick color layers while just barely allowing the grain to peek through. In order to match it up I would need to do a little trial and error testing to see what get us as close as possible. I just need a mix recipe to do this right. Hi Nikki. I put a second coat of the same stain on it and the next morning it’s like you can actually see some of the strokes I took putting the stain on after the second coat. Can I “Disinfect” or Clean Hardwood Floors with “Antimicrobial” Cleaners? The key here is to buy a few different materials and then practice on scrap wood. Have fun with woodworking. thank you very much, Denise.

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