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Old 02-29-2008, 12:16 AM   #1
 
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Default stain problem

Question, I have a stair case to stain , but, the tricky part for me is that the risers and steps are maple and the railing and spindles are oak. Yah I know, the floor which i have to match ( will try to post pics later) is dark and i mean dark walnut color.Even the paint store had hard time matching it telling me it;s gonna be almost black. I know it;s gonna to be a two step if not three process but i was wondering if any one had few tricks that can help. I told the owner and the builder they are easily looking at a 5 digit number for doing it and they might want to paint the steps and risers and stain the railing and spindles, even so the stain is so dark that I would still run into problems.
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Old 02-29-2008, 11:59 AM   #2
 
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i would talk them into staining the steps and hand rails, paint the risers and spendels... I think it would look more modern and if you had to stian the handrail more than once it wont be that hard to do...just my opinoin
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Old 02-29-2008, 12:54 PM   #3
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Default get wood samples

Get scrap oak and maple and play with the stain until you achieve the desired result. Is this your dilemma?
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Old 02-29-2008, 02:02 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by painttofish View Post
Get scrap oak and maple and play with the stain until you achieve the desired result. Is this your dilemma?
Agreed. Many times you end up with 2 different colors of stain in order to make both woods look the same, but it's usually doable with some experimentation.

If you really get stuck, check with the paint store. The paint store I shop at offers custom stain matching, but they charge mega $$$$ for it.
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Old 02-29-2008, 05:10 PM   #5
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The only tip I have is that you might want to 'pop the grain' to accept a dark finish. This means you wipe it down with a wet rag to raise or open the grain a bit before you apply the stain.
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Old 02-29-2008, 05:49 PM   #6
 
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Originally Posted by ProWallGuy View Post
The only tip I have is that you might want to 'pop the grain' to accept a dark finish. This means you wipe it down with a wet rag to raise or open the grain a bit before you apply the stain.
is that the same a a pre-wash conditoner?
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Old 02-29-2008, 06:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ProWallGuy View Post
The only tip I have is that you might want to 'pop the grain' to accept a dark finish. This means you wipe it down with a wet rag to raise or open the grain a bit before you apply the stain.
Pro

I love you man, but that is going to make it too open to receive dark stain without blotching out. Oak is pretty open and maple's grain is dense. The key to staining these species dark is to close the grain. Here's how we do it:

Sand all surfaces starting at 150 up to 220. Apply two coats of Zinsser sanding sealer (shellac), sanding in between coats. Lightly buff the second coat of sealer. The grain is now sealed. Apply stain. This is a wiping exercise. It is not like staining in the traditional sense. The stain is not penetrating the wood, which I know sounds extremely counterintuitive. The stain will take an extraordinary amount of time to cure (48-72 hours). You may want to apply a second stain coat to achieve desired darkness. Upon curing of stain, apply 2-3 coats of desired topcoat.

There is a learning curve with this method. Experiment on some samples first.



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Old 02-29-2008, 06:09 PM   #8
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I had only done that method one time, and it worked well, but it was all on one type of wood. And the stain was an ebony, damn near black.
Please disregard my post.
BTW, I don't know squat about different species of wood. Quick, someone ask me a question about wallpaper.
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Old 02-29-2008, 06:35 PM   #9
 
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Interesting, I will try it for sure, thank you very much.
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Old 02-29-2008, 07:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProWallGuy View Post
I had only done that method one time, and it worked well, but it was all on one type of wood. And the stain was an ebony, damn near black.
Please disregard my post.
BTW, I don't know squat about different species of wood. Quick, someone ask me a question about wallpaper.

Pro

You should see me wallpaper. That would be a laugh...



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Old 02-29-2008, 11:48 PM   #11
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On a 5 figure job, I would: on the oak use a fine wire brush w/the grain to open up the pores and clean the sawdust and dirt. Then wash with 50/50 alcohol and water.
On the maple, I'd use steel wool first, then the alcohol/water mix.
Starting with the maple, I'd dye it first then stain it. Sand the dye lightly before staining. After the stain has dried, use the stain again as a toner on the light spots.

The oak should be easier to do after the maple to get a matched color, by dying and staining. I don't have a lot of reference material onhand, but you can do a google to learn all about dyes, thinning and matching the colors.
Really, it's easier to match this super dark color than a lighter color.

I don't know if this will help your situation, but bleach on oak turns the oak black.

I don't know how much staining you've done, but sealing the wood first, imo, is like a cheat. If you have an eye for stain, you can definatley see brush marks, rag marks or whatever you used to to it with. On the other hand, if you figure out how much harder one wood is than the other, the sealer can be mixed at different ratios so both woods are sealed the same. For example, a 4:1 shellac sealer on both woods won't do a damn thing. You'd have to go like 4:1 on the oak and 6:1 on the maple if you want to achieve an even stain.

Either way you go, this isn't an easy job. Find someone who knows how to match dyes. Plain stain will probably disappoint you. On a job of this scope it might pay to do the research and add a new skill to your arsenal.

For even better, expert advice, check out these guys: http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=8

Last edited by Joewho; 03-01-2008 at 12:06 AM..
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Old 03-01-2008, 08:02 AM   #12
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[quote=Joewho;16713]On the maple, I'd use steel wool first, then the alcohol/water mix.

Do you ever run into issues with the steel wool leaving particles behind that rust when the water hits?

I don't know how much staining you've done, but sealing the wood first, imo, is like a cheat. If you have an eye for stain, you can definatley see brush marks, rag marks or whatever you used to to it with.

Check out the attached photo. Call me a cheat...but this is some of the best staining I have done in my life. We had some of the most discriminating eyes in New England involved in this job, the staining on these stairs was highly regarded.

Either way you go, this isn't an easy job.

This is true. Staining is very difficult. To do it properly and at a cabinet grade level is true skill.



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Old 03-01-2008, 08:05 AM   #13
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[quote=vermontpainter;16721][quote=Joewho;16713]On the maple, I'd use steel wool first, then the alcohol/water mix.

Do you ever run into issues with the steel wool leaving particles behind that rust when the water hits?

You beat me to it. Growing up around the Cheasapeake Bay, I 've seen many people steel wool the Teak on boats only to have it rust once stain is applied. They do make a brass wool just for this.
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Old 03-01-2008, 09:02 AM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHandyman View Post
Agreed. Many times you end up with 2 different colors of stain in order to make both woods look the same, but it's usually doable with some experimentation.

If you really get stuck, check with the paint store. The paint store I shop at offers custom stain matching, but they charge mega $$$$ for it.
I've done a ton of staining and matching stains in my travels. I don't know about any of that Water first or sealer first stuff. I just do trial and error w/ some sample boards. I would end up w/ two different stains one for the maple one for the oak. All that other nonsense seems to be a waste of time to me.
How do you seal wood first and get the stain to penetrate?? You don't, the stain sits on top of the sealed wood, looks streaky, and then chips after sealed (especially in high traffic areas like a staircase).???!!!>>???

Not sure about that stuff you guys must know way more than me!!!
Steel wool won't rust on my watch I use all oil base stains and sealers.
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:07 PM   #15
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[quote=DW Custom Painting;16726]I've done a ton of staining...I just do trial and error...All that other nonsense seems to be a waste of time to me.

If your niche is truly "custom" finishes, you will find yourself in a situation sooner later with discerning clientele that wants something more esoteric than trial and error. Its not nonsense, its an art.

How do you seal wood first and get the stain to penetrate?? You don't, the stain sits on top of the sealed wood, looks streaky, and then chips after sealed (especially in high traffic areas like a staircase).???!!!>>???

Its all in the application. Its more of a process than traditional staining, but the results are worth it. With several applications of a proper topcoat over the stain, there is no chipping.

When I was first asked to apply stain this way, I was very skeptical and reacted the same as you are. Sometimes when you get out of your comfort zone, you really take it to the next level.



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Old 03-01-2008, 12:18 PM   #16
 
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Scott, I knew that would get a reply from someone (you). I do agree, sometimes you do need to get out of the comfort zone, just strange procedure to me. Not knocking you guys, as stated above you guys obviously know more about this subject. The whole steel wool, water, sealing prior to staining just seems weird. Fairly new around here, but really enjoying the site.
Lots of knowledgeable people here. Much better than asking the nit wits at the local SW
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:37 PM   #17
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I hear ya, DW. Its not a technique for just anyone to get into, but for those of us trafficking in custom services, it is something to be familiar with. Not trying to force it on anyone, just sharing an idea that works for us. And you are right, we are all lucky to have this resource for professional exchage of ideas.



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Old 03-02-2008, 01:14 PM   #18
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[quote=DW Custom Painting;16726]I've done a ton of staining and matching stains in my travels. I don't know about any of that Water first or sealer first stuff. I just do trial and error w/ some sample boards. I would end up w/ two different stains one for the maple one for the oak. All that other nonsense seems to be a waste of time to me.
How do you seal wood first and get the stain to penetrate?? You don't, the stain sits on top of the sealed wood, looks streaky, and then chips after sealed (especially in high traffic areas like a staircase).???!!!>>???

Not sure about that stuff you guys must know way more than me!!!
Steel wool won't rust on my watch I use all oil base stains and sealers

I worked in an antique restoration shop. Everything done by hand, including the stripping. You may be new, but your school of thought is exactly the same as mine. At any rate, I'm no expert but if anyone would have clicked on the link I posted you'd know a lot more. The only time I use sealer is on blotchy pine. You guys out east familiar with Joe L'rerio who used to have a show called the furniture guys? I used to watch it. Joe used methods straight out of a 1940's finishing guide. On one show he had to match the stain on three different woods, and did use the sealer method I mentioned above at different ratios for all three woods. Even then he did use different stain mixes.

NO, not worried about steel wool. But then again, teak boats are different than interior stairs. Steel wool gets dusted off, if anything is left behind, it's because it gets caught on something that should have been sanded properly. Even then, if you pay attention, you'll see it and pick it out before applying the stain. Even then, after the stain is on, you can pick it out.
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Old 03-02-2008, 01:29 PM   #19
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Joe

I agree that steel wool can be a really handy trick. The only part of the above discussion that was a concern was the concept of following the steel wool with water. That is the kind of hyper-vigilant thinking that stain grade work calls for.

I do have alot of respect for the old-time methods, and as I said above, have explored alternative methods out of respect for high end clients wishes. Left to my own devices, and in my own house, its all old school for me. But then, in my own house I sometimes dont caulk or fill.



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Old 03-02-2008, 03:38 PM   #20
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[quote=Joewho;16809][quote=
Steel wool won't rust on my watch I use all oil base stains and sealers

NO, not worried about steel wool. But then again, teak boats are different than interior stairs. Steel wool gets dusted off, if anything is left behind, it's because it gets caught on something that should have been sanded properly. Even then, if you pay attention, you'll see it and pick it out before applying the stain. Even then, after the stain is on, you can pick it out.[/quote]

Just thought about the difference of steel wool on interior stairs and boat woodwork. Exposure to salt water and air.
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