Dark dark brown finish

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by LazarusDB posted 03-22-2018 12:46 PM 556 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View LazarusDB's profile


36 posts in 973 days

03-22-2018 12:46 PM

Hi all,

I’m in the process of designing a gothic style prayer kneeler. Something you would see in a very old church or cathedral. I want it to have the look that it came right out of one of those churches where it is an extremely dark brown color. To achieve that I know it’s a combination of the wood species and finish applied. I’m guessing I should use black walnut for the wood but that alone certainly won’t be dark enough. Any tips or suggestions for achieving that very dark color?


-- Aaron - Aspiring Craftsman

9 replies so far

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1456 days

#1 posted 03-22-2018 02:39 PM

Aaron – I just recently completed a Prie Dieu where I was trying to match the color of the altar table in the Harvard Chapel of Southwark Cathedral, London. Please see my blog entry: Fr. Chad's Prie Dieu #7: The Right Color. For the finished Prie Dieu please see: Reformation Era Prie Dieu.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1705 posts in 3658 days

#2 posted 03-22-2018 03:07 PM

Yep, Ron, nailed it, Dye is the best 1st step to get dark colors, I used Dark Mission Brown for this project The dye is the quickest and easiest method to get the deep color, and with the water based ones you’re able to blend and deepen the shades very easily.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Walker's profile


385 posts in 1280 days

#3 posted 03-22-2018 03:13 PM

You’re correct in that the color of the finish will blend with the color of the wood to give you the final look. However, don’t assume you need to start with a dark wood. If you find a stain or other finish that is the exact color you’re going for, you could use a lighter wood like ash or maple, which would not augment the color as much.

Think of it like painting with watercolors on a canvas. If you had a white canvas with say blue paint, the paint will look blue. But if you had a brown canvas with blue paint, it wouldn’t look the same blue anymore.

Definitely test on some scrap pieces.

-- ~Walker

View SuperCubber's profile


1121 posts in 3093 days

#4 posted 03-22-2018 03:28 PM

I’ve had great luck using General Finishes Dark Brown Water-Based Dye. I’ve turned poplar into a very dark wood. I’ll post a link to one of my projects with that finish.

You can moderate how dark it gets by how soon you wipe it off after applying and how many coats you use.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View SuperCubber's profile


1121 posts in 3093 days

#5 posted 03-22-2018 03:29 PM

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View LazarusDB's profile


36 posts in 973 days

#6 posted 03-22-2018 06:00 PM

Thanks for the tips guys. Looks like I’ll have to experiment with dye.

-- Aaron - Aspiring Craftsman

View Kazooman's profile


1515 posts in 2760 days

#7 posted 03-22-2018 07:25 PM

I have used Peruvian walnut to get close to the color you want without any stain or dye.

View Harryn's profile


91 posts in 3396 days

#8 posted 03-22-2018 07:35 PM

I used to use asphalt roofing cement dissolved in mineral spirits and strained. Makes a beautiful dark brown stain

View Lazyman's profile


5673 posts in 2195 days

#9 posted 03-22-2018 07:36 PM

I have used General Finishes Water based stain that was close to what I wanted and added Transtint dyes to tweak it to the color I want, usually on a light colored wood. You can also mix GF dyes and their WB stains to get custom colors. Just use some scraps of the wood you plan to use to experiment until you get what you are looking for. Just measure how much you use in your mix carefully and keep good notes so you can reproduce the exact shade again if you need to.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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