staining and lacquer

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Forum topic by M2D2 posted 04-20-2018 10:30 AM 615 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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26 posts in 866 days

04-20-2018 10:30 AM

Topic tags/keywords: stain finish recommendations sanding

Hey Folks,

I’m starting several projects, and I’ve doing much research in advance regarding finishing techniques and so on. In my research, I have found that minwax stains, while common amongst big box stores (HD/Lowes/etc), is not actually a good stain? but rather mediocre. Thus I’m looking for recommendations. Please do keep in mind that I’m up in Canada. So not all US products are available up here.

Also as the wood slabs climatize (spelted maple), 2.25” thick, once all the sanding is done to smooth out the surfaces, from I can tell after I finish up with 180G paper. I need to.

Step 1.

1/2 pound cut shellac so wood accepts stain evenly. Here is where in lies the 1st question: I’d like to go for a warmer tone not something blondish, but nothing so dark as to loose the grain and spelting in the wood detail in the wood. Now this is a tone representation but if you look at the color spectrum of this concrete floor … you’ll see its very much in the warm wood tone spectrum. Question is what stain would give me that result?

Step 2. Do I need to sand between staining coats? (consider entire process).

Step 3. DO I want to shellac as a final top coat, or lacquer as a final top coat? (I know lacquer can be self levelling) that said, its for a desk top and dining table top, table tops generally can get some abuse, things get dropped on them and so on.

INSERTION STEP: this sounds like a weird step, but, as the wood climatizes it will develop character cracks, so could I just fill that in with some clear lacquer, i don’t have the ability or tools to use those bow tie shapped wood pieces to stop the splits.

Its all in the sanding: SO If . you see a previous post of mine on here, you’ll know that I’m not planning the wood. Its just to pricey @ $6/minute (there was a discussion about, people were shocked at it) ... I think I need beer therapy for that(kidding), anyway, I was gonna use a aluminum oxide 80Grit to start with to knock most of the rough off, then go to 120G (both belt sander 3×18), then take it to maybe 180 or 220 with an orbital sander. ... would you all consider this sufficient sanding? If i’m sanding in between coats of stain, do I go higher than 220?” also since there’s a shellac or lacquer going on top…do I need to take it beyond 180 even?

Hit me back,

PS: was considering a ryobi corded orbital sander, I think it would do the job, i mean, once these projects are complete its going in my tool bin, but not see the light of day for 2 years, so to go out an spend $150 bucks on tool that only used “occasionally”, but heavily when used….i dunno…

what y’all think :)

thanks in advance.

3 replies so far

View OSU55's profile


2651 posts in 2800 days

#1 posted 04-20-2018 09:01 PM

I would suggest education on finishing, 2 great books:

Great Wood Finishes / Auth: Jeff Jewitt / Pub: Taunton Press 2000
Understanding Wood Finishing / Bob Flexner / Pub: Reader’s Digest 2005

As far as pigment stains mw is about as good as others. Look at using dye instead. Research toning – adds color leveling and intensity, and depth. You have to learn about achieving a particular color – too dependent on coloring method, topcoat, and your taste. Lots of samples in your future.

A table top needs abrasion and chemical resistance – precat lacquer or poly, no nc lacquer or shellac.

Since it is expensive for you to have them planed, use a hand plane – much better than all that sanding. If you must sand, start with a belt sander. Use a router to plane them.

Cracks -fill with epoxy not lacquer.

View M2D2's profile


26 posts in 866 days

#2 posted 04-20-2018 09:29 PM

so cut to size, then sand, then fill epoxy, or sand after epoxy, i don’t think i want epoxy dust floating around. doesn’t sound healthy.

have belt sander and orbital sander, no router, nor plannar, can investigate.

View joey502's profile


558 posts in 2329 days

#3 posted 05-08-2018 09:06 AM

Fill gaps and sand after, it will give you a more seamless repair.

Lacquer is not a good option to fill cracks or other imperfections in the surface.

Go at it carefully with the belt sander at first. Get a feel for how the tool removes material. If you are not familar with the tool 80 grit can be pretty agressive.

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