Finishing Maple

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Forum topic by NickelNick posted 11-09-2017 04:50 AM 591 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 991 days

11-09-2017 04:50 AM

Topic tags/keywords: maple furniture finishing

I’m making a bedroom set out of maple (matching nightstands and a dresser). Getting ready for the assembly process now for the nightstands and will be ready to start sanding and getting them ready for finish. A few questions:

1.) I like to sand everything before assembling and gluing to ensure I get in all my corners good and don’t miss anything. Then go back and hit my joints once it’s all glued and assembled to smooth it all out. Does anyone else do this?

2.) I haven’t worked with maple much and I’m worried about the potential for blotchiness… what do you recommend? Dye? Stain? Gel Stain? Also, what do you like to sand up to?

Thanks for your input.

6 replies so far

View HerbC's profile


1804 posts in 3627 days

#1 posted 11-09-2017 05:23 AM

Charles Neil’s Blotch Control…

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View mikeber's profile


35 posts in 1628 days

#2 posted 11-09-2017 07:31 AM

Do not start staining everything at once. Try testing first on wood scraps.
Q: what’s your goal? What color and look do you have in mind?
I made a couple of maple pieces and started with a dye. Don’t have pro sprayer but it worked reasonably well rubbing the dye in. Next came a coat of blonde shellac followed by gel stain. Again, rubbed with a cotton rag.
I ended with a couple of polyurethane coats.
Results weren’t outstanding, just OK.
Edit: blotching wasn’t a big factor on the boards I worked with. You may get lucky as well.

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


408 posts in 3789 days

#3 posted 11-09-2017 10:50 AM

My feeling is that on something the size and scale of a full bedroom set, the probability of blotching on maple increases substantially. I’ve done projects in maple and as Mike says, blotching isn’t always a problem but on a full bedroom set, I think you’ll want to mitigate the risk. In my projects are some photos of maple cabinets that I did for the wife’s laundry room. I dyed them first and then stained. I sprayed the dye and top coat but think I rubbed the stain.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View Carloz's profile


1147 posts in 1359 days

#4 posted 11-09-2017 11:07 AM

2.) I haven’t worked with maple much and I’m worried about the potential for blotchiness… what do you recommend? Dye? Stain? Gel Stain? Also, what do you like to sand up to?

- NickelNick

Maple is a bear to stain. In my experience nothing of the mentioned above works well on anything larger than a cutting board. The mentioned blotch control helps with blotchines ( obviously ) but bring its own problems.
The thing that worked for me the best was spraying on water based dye in several thin layers. It tends to hide the grain more than I would like though.
If the color is not very dark you can mix it in the clearcoat which would be the easiest of all.
I sand to 150 on long grain at 220 end grain and do not recommend going any higher.

View OSU55's profile


2645 posts in 2757 days

#5 posted 11-09-2017 01:04 PM

1) I have all pieces ready to finish before assembly

2) Blotch control methods discussed.. I prefer using dye instead of pigmented stain. Retains grain visibility and wont show minor flaws in the surface like sanding swirls. Pigment catches in the smallest little flaw and draws attention dye doesnt. Wb or ob dye needs a binder to prevent lifting into the topcoat and reasonable open time to prevent lap marks. I use Target WR4000 stain base with Transtint dye. The main thing is to have plenty of test pieces to try out different finish schedules and colors before ever touching the project.

View a1Jim's profile


118065 posts in 4345 days

#6 posted 11-09-2017 02:36 PM

Hi Nick
Welcome to Ljs
Just send Charles Neil a PM he will be glad to help , He’s a finishing expert and has written several books on the subject plus he’s many many videos on finishing also. I ‘m sure he will give you an expert answer.


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