Maple Dining Room Table

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Forum topic by tjbisme posted 09-18-2017 07:51 PM 1483 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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27 posts in 1176 days

09-18-2017 07:51 PM

I’m going to be making a dining room table out of Maple for a family member and I’m trying to find the best way to finish the wood. My plan was to use some Minwax Polyshades Royal Walnut stain for the table top, and then put Minwax One Coat Polyurethane over the top of that to help protect it. I was wondering if this is a good idea, or will I be asking for problems when trying to finish this project? Also, will the poly yellow over time as I have read on some other sites?

Thank you in advance!

21 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4458 days

#1 posted 09-18-2017 07:59 PM

Maple can be tricky to stain well. You might
look into dyes. Colored maple guitars are typically
sprayed with tinted lacquers to get that transparent
“candy apple” look. If you want that, look
at dyes. Maple can look kind of dirty when
stained, imo.

Whatever you do, run some finish tests before
staining the whole table.

View martyoc's profile


44 posts in 1727 days

#2 posted 09-18-2017 09:25 PM

I agree with Loren that using dyes is the best approach. I have used stains on a few projects with maple and was never completely happy with the result. I used water based dyes on a pair of large maple dressers a few years ago and made several test pieces beforehand to get the coloring to satisfy our tastes – something quite easy and quick to do with dyes.

-- Marty O'C

View Aj2's profile


3190 posts in 2608 days

#3 posted 09-18-2017 09:29 PM

Good luck trying to make maple look like walnut. Better off just buying walnut

-- Aj

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1558 days

#4 posted 09-19-2017 12:04 AM

Aj2 is right. I made a blanket chest for a niece and decided to use Maple. Really bad idea. Finally I got it to look good by using Charles O’Neils blotch controller and trans tint water soluble dyes. Made it look like walnut. Woulda been easier to just buy the danged walnut. That was a real tough job, with many many test boards and stains. Final finish was Waterlox.

I think the dye combo I used was Transtint Coffee Brown, followed by Transtint Dark Walnut, with just a touch of J E Moser Dark Wine Cherry.

You can do it, but it won’t be a quick job.

View tjbisme's profile


27 posts in 1176 days

#5 posted 09-19-2017 12:16 AM

I guess I should clarify I’m not trying to make it look like walnut, that’s just the color brown she wanted and that’s what the stain color is called. If there is a dye that is close to that color, I think that would be just fine.

I was reading somewhere the gel stains work out ok on maple, what’re your opinions on that? Or what about using a wood conditioner that goes on before a stain?


View AlaskaGuy's profile


5873 posts in 3119 days

#6 posted 09-19-2017 12:46 AM

If I wanted a walnut looking table I’d build it out of walnut. Why buy a very light colored wood just to turn it dark with stain or dye.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1558 days

#7 posted 09-19-2017 12:50 AM

The O’Neil’s blotch controller (my term) is a wood conditioner. It greatly reduces, if used properly, the nasty blotching you’ll see with maple.

I tried every stain and dye type I had on that maple, but it was the water soluble Transtint that finally worked. In sequence:

Blotch controller/wood conditioner
Coffee brown dye
Walnut dye (applying the wet dye removed a bit of the coffee brown dye, which was a good thing)
Watco Danish Oil (clear), and let dry 3 days)
Very very lightly sand, 600 grit, since the Watco held in place any raised grain, but don’t remove stain.
Waterlox application 1 ( looked awful)
Waterlox app 2 (looked better)
Waterlox 3 ( looked pretty darn good)
Waterlox 4 (looks good, I’m done).

Took me maybe a month to figure out the finish. Drove it to Tennessee to give to niece’s little girl. Little girl climbs up on top of chest and dances with shoes on. I almost fainted. Waterlox held up just fine.

View OSU55's profile


2651 posts in 2799 days

#8 posted 09-20-2017 04:23 PM

I would not use mw polyshades anything on any project that was to look even decent. As others said, dyes are the way to go. I prefer Transtint in Target WR4000 stain base, tthe oile emulsion provides grain pop or chatoyance. Definitely want to condition maple for coloring – here is some info.. Cant comment on the mw one coat- no experience. I think thats their oil modified wb. GF has a wb poly thats popular, I prefer Targets EM9000. A shellac seal coat over a wb or alcohol stain/dye should be used with a wb topcoat to prevent lifting. OB poly/varnish it isnt a concern.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2501 posts in 4680 days

#9 posted 09-20-2017 04:32 PM

Polyshades is one of the worst products out there IMO.

View johnstoneb's profile


3147 posts in 2983 days

#10 posted 09-20-2017 04:37 PM

Charles that is my opinion also. I used it once and never again.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View tjbisme's profile


27 posts in 1176 days

#11 posted 09-20-2017 05:13 PM

Thank you everyone for the tips. I definitely have my work cut out for me and I’ll be sure to do some testing to ensure i get the right look.

As far as the polyshades is concerned, I’m wondering what the drawback is to it? I’ve used it before on some of the projects I’ve completed, and it looks pretty nice when finished, of course it’s been all pine, but it seems to look alright to me. I’m very new to this as well, so I guess I want to know from you as to why you dislike MinWax’s Polyshades so much? I believe the MinWax OneCoat is oil based water modified.

Thanks again,

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2577 days

#12 posted 09-20-2017 05:24 PM


Polyshades is one of the worst products out there IMO.

- CharlesNeil


View jonah's profile


2124 posts in 4109 days

#13 posted 09-20-2017 05:46 PM

Count me in the group that hasn’t had good results with Polyshades. There are a lot of other, better options out there.

I’ve also never successfully stained maple. As others have mentioned, dyes are the ticket there.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2501 posts in 4680 days

#14 posted 09-20-2017 06:05 PM

I agree dyes are the way to go, with a good prestain, but dyes are a completely different animal than stains, here is a video I did that will explain, some

Also here is a blog I wrote, about using dyes over our prestain but would apply to any I would think, it explains more about pre stains
Experience has shown that water base prestains do better under water base dyes ,IMO

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30564 posts in 3148 days

#15 posted 09-20-2017 06:21 PM

1+ what Loren said

1++ What Charles said

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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