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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just wondering how others prep Maple for staining? Maple can be blotchy.

Boards came sanded through a mechanical sander that left long, shallow grooves.

220grit?
Palm sander, or no?
Conditioner?

110816
 

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Palm sander. Yes.
Conditioner. Yes.

Wear gloves when you handle it! The guys who sanded this maple for me left hand prints all over it that didn't show up until the stain went on.


I used minwax conditioner, stain, and poly on this maple.
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Discussion Starter #3
I’m going to be using similar. Last-n-last poly, and a slow, oil stain.
Did you spray the poly, or is that a brushed finish? Has a nice sheen.
how many coats, and did you sand between coats, using what grit?

I had already planned to wipe down with acetone to clean the surface, but a good reminder. I put gloves on right after you said something.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I am matching to existing woodwork, or I may have considered trying a gel stain.
Has anyone tried that on Maple? I’ve heard that it makes it less prone to blotching?
 

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2 coats of poly carefully brushed on. Sanded between coats lightly.

Don't worry at all about the blotching as long as you use conditioner. It makes the staining easy peasy.
 

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An old cabinet maker told me a trick years ago that I've used and it works. Take denatured alcohol and water and mix it 50/50 and spray an even coat on all your woodwork but don't flood it. The alcohol makes it dry fast and dissipate and the water eliminates sweaty hand marks from installation. The stain does take a little bit darker though.
 

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If using solvent based stains: Sand to 150 grit. 220 is too high. Uneven color and loss of adhesion are a real concern. Maple typically does not need a conditioner.

If you want very even color use something like general finishes waterborne and sand 220grit.
 

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An old cabinet maker told me a trick years ago that I've used and it works. Take denatured alcohol and water and mix it 50/50 and spray an even coat on all your woodwork but don't flood it. The alcohol makes it dry fast and dissipate and the water eliminates sweaty hand marks from installation. The stain does take a little bit darker though.
waterpopping. Very useful on oak and even soft woods like alder or pine.
 

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I don't want to argue back and forth with you. This is a learning opportunity for you. Hopefully other members will chime in. I suggest you do some googling if you don't believe me. Maple is one of the blotchy woods!
 

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I don't want to argue back and forth with you. This is a learning opportunity for you. Hopefully other members will chime in. I suggest you do some googling if you don't believe me. Maple is one of the blotchy woods!
I've stained lots of maple and alder. Its practically all we work with here. The type and brand of stain you use make a HUGE difference.

Also if you havn't gotten around to using any of the GF or Saman stains they produce a color that's very unnaturally even. Completely unlike any oil based stain you have ever worked with.
 

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I've stained lots of maple and alder. Its practically all we work with here. The type and brand of stain you use make a HUGE difference.
I’ve never conditioned maple either and just used dye...however, if had to choose a conditioner under a more conventional oil pigmented stain I’d probably opt for a wash-coat of shellac rather than the Minwax Wood Conditioner.
 

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I’ve never conditioned maple either and just used dye...however, if had to choose a conditioner under a more conventional oil pigmented stain I’d probably opt for a wash-coat of shellac rather than the Minwax Wood Conditioner.
Never had luck using minwax and the recoat window is a real turn off. Benite or Shellac for me. The oil stain we typically use is lenmar, which is a dye/pigment hybrid.
 

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Never had luck using minwax and the recoat window is a real turn off. Benite or Shellac for me. The oil stain we typically use is lenmar, which is a dye/pigment hybrid.
I’ve only used the Minwax Wood Conditioner “once” on EWP and ended up stripping it down after staining...looked awful. Switched to shellac...100% improvement.

Although I’ve only used a couple of Lenmar’s products, the products I’ve used were top notch. The MLC Woodsong II line includes some really great stains/dyes. Their spray only dye doesn’t blotch.
 

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posted this pic a while back, here is some alder stained with lenmar(middle) alkyd wiping stain next to minwax (top/bottom). Minwax just has that particular semi-opaque look to it and sure enough blotch city. Its very easy to spot and actually makes color matching stains easier because generally I can tell when minwax was used. Lenmar highlights the grain and figure.
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I’ve only used the Minwax Wood Conditioner “once” on EWP and ended up stripping it down after staining...looked awful. Switched to shellac...100% improvement.

Although I’ve only used a couple of Lenmar’s products, the products I’ve used were top notch. The MLC Woodsong II line includes some really great stains/dyes. Their spray only dye doesn’t blotch.
Here is some alder with benite as a conditioner. I like how it brings out the knots and subtle colors and features in alder.

110821
 

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Here is some alder with benite as a conditioner. I like how it brings out the knots and subtle colors and features in alder.

View attachment 110821

I totally agree that there are several approaches to coloring maple which don’t require conditioners or wash coats and won’t botch in the slightest. They’ll also reveal and pop hidden figure which conditioners combined with conventional stains will disguise and not pull out. In the following pic I used nothing more than a powder dye w/ no blotching.

110822
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I totally agree that there are several approaches to coloring maple which don’t require conditioners or wash coats and won’t botch in the slightest. They’ll also reveal and pop hidden figure which conditioners combined with conventional stains will disguise and not pull out. In the following pic I used nothing more than a powder dye w/ no blotching.

View attachment 110822
That looks nice, that really enhances the grain.!
What clear did you use?

I think it’s too late to use a powder dye, as it wouldn’t match the existing trim.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I totally agree that there are several approaches to coloring maple which don’t require conditioners or wash coats and won’t botch in the slightest. They’ll also reveal and pop hidden figure which conditioners combined with conventional stains will disguise and not pull out. In the following pic I used nothing more than a powder dye w/ no blotching.

View attachment 110822
What color (s) dye did you use to achieve that color?
Analine dye, w/water? If so, doesn’t that raise the grain?
 
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