Dark stain on Hard Maple

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by Kirk650 posted 08-06-2016 10:31 PM 972 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Kirk650's profile


711 posts in 1723 days

08-06-2016 10:31 PM

I’ve got plenty of scraps to work with, and I’ll get started on Monday, but I’ll see what you folks say about it. The favorite niece wants the toy box to be a dark color, and wants it to be more of a walnut than cherry. No problem, since I have plenty of already mixed dark stains, but have no personal history with hard maple. I can just go with the straight dark stain, but what about using a yellow on it first?

What has worked well for you? I’ve got plenty of time to experiment. Thanks.


10 replies so far

View nightguy's profile


213 posts in 1637 days

#1 posted 08-06-2016 11:26 PM

A dark dye then the stain. Depending on the Maple, tight pores, does not take a stain to its true color. You dye for color, and the stain for depth.

View AandCstyle's profile


3292 posts in 3232 days

#2 posted 08-07-2016 09:53 PM

Kirk, maple will very like blotch so use a pre-conditioner to minimize that. There are a number of ways to pre-condition-Charles Neil’s Pre-Conditioner, a 1/2# cut of shellac, 50% sanding sealer, etc. HTH

-- Art

View Kirk650's profile


711 posts in 1723 days

#3 posted 08-07-2016 11:02 PM

I didn’t get to do all the dye/stain testing that I had planned for today, but I did get to try a few. All were either Transtint or JE Moser. The dark walnut wasn’t attractive. The Dark Wine Cherry looked real good, but the niece wants it darker and not so red. The medium Oak looked real good, but not dark enough. More testing required.

I don’t want to hide the grain, so that has to be factored in.

Blotch wasn’t bad. The wood surface was sanded to 320.

View OSU55's profile


2717 posts in 2964 days

#4 posted 08-08-2016 12:38 AM

Here's some info on blotch control. I do all wood coloring with dye, usually transtint. I pefer to use some type of clear stain base so there’s a binder to keep the dye from lifting. 3 or 4 :1 water/wb finish will work, and WR4000 by Target is an excellent stain base. To get more color and depth, use a toner on top of the dye. I use ~1/2# cut of shellac with transint mixed in, sprayed. I can get as dark as I want. Here's a project out of red oak done this way. I mixed Brown Mahogany, Dark Walnut, Red Mahogany, & Honey Amber transtint to get the right color – it needed to match some other furniture.

View Kirk650's profile


711 posts in 1723 days

#5 posted 08-08-2016 02:03 AM

Thanks OSU, Sounds good, I figured on doing some more dye blending, and it appears that I have a ways to go to find the right shade.

I particularly like the toner suggestion. I think that’ll work real well.

View jwmalone's profile


768 posts in 1677 days

#6 posted 08-10-2016 02:09 AM

Mix the stain in the clear coat eliminates the blotchy and you can get it any color simple effective

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View Kirk650's profile


711 posts in 1723 days

#7 posted 08-13-2016 04:55 PM

I bought some Charles Neil pre-color conditioner and tried it out. Much better, in that there’s far less blotching, though the dye color isn’t as dark now – as expected. I think this is going to work out just fine, using the conditioner. Tomorrow I’ll try a few different dye combinations and also try some darker stains. What I have now looks good, but needs to be a bit darker.

This is the first anti-blotch method or treatment that I have used and liked. Good stuff. And this is apparently going to compensate for my poor judgement in choice of wood. Shoulda bought Walnut, but wanted to try something different. Oh, well, at least I’ve expanded my knowledge, so all is not bad.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2501 posts in 4845 days

#8 posted 08-13-2016 05:19 PM

View Kirk650's profile


711 posts in 1723 days

#9 posted 08-13-2016 07:23 PM

Thanks Charles, I read it and it seems to be pretty much my same approach.

Before I bought your controller, I had decided on using JE Moser Dark Wine Cherry dye. Even with some blotching, it looked good. The Transtint Walnut dye blend, that I often use on walnut projects, looked awful on the untreated hard maple. But, using your controller, the walnut dye looks great. The Cherry dye looks good also. Only problem is that they both need to be a bit darker. I’ve prepared, with your controller, 4 more boards sanded to 220. Tomorrow morning i plan to try darker stains, double applications of stains, and combinations of stains (cherry over walnut, or the reverse). I could just go with either dye as applied yesterday, but the favorite niece told me that she liked dark wood colors. So if I can’t get exactly the dark shade that I want, I’ll probably add color with sprayed shellac and Transtint dye.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2501 posts in 4845 days

#10 posted 08-14-2016 01:27 PM

nice thing with dye is you can easily do a second coat, just be sure to let the first one dry well. One of my favorite tricks is to do a light coat of finish, then a light scuff sand then using the same dye , wipe a coat,on , like a glaze, it helps with color and depth, then continue with top coats .

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics