LumberJocks

Best Stain/Finish for Hand Planed Oak?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by Michael posted 03-07-2019 09:20 PM 494 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Michael's profile

Michael

15 posts in 466 days


03-07-2019 09:20 PM

Hello, I have been woodworking for a while but relatively inexperienced at finishing. Just spent a little over year making bunkbeds for my two little boys with hand tools. Long project. I am getting to the finishing stage and trying to decide what to use.

Big question – right now the boards have a sleek, shiny finish from planing. Will stains “stick” to this or does it have to be roughened with sandpaper? I would hate to sand the surface that I’ve spent so long planing. Are there any recommended stains for a planed surface?

Next question – there are some light plane marks, scratches, and very occasional miniscule tearout, things you can’t really see unless the light is at a certain angle. Will staining bring this out and cause it to look bad? Any stains better than others for this? Will sand if I need to, just rather avoid.

Last question – I don’t have a dust free environment and don’t have a sprayer (yet). I’m hoping to keep things on the simple side and not have it drag out for weeks. Any recommended stains/finishes? I have thought about Danish Oil for a natural look. Would like a little gloss but not too much. Also trying to keep somewhat of a handmade/country workshop feel, where you can feel some of the wood grain and texture. Any advice?

Thanks.


13 replies so far

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

588 posts in 1133 days


#1 posted 03-07-2019 09:53 PM

I really don’t like staining. My recipe for oak is a coat of Boiled Linseed Oil followed by wipe on poly. I cut the regular poly 50/50 with mineral spirits to make my own wipe on. Keep adding coats to get the depth I want then adjust the gloss as needed.

For the “in the wood” look, I use the maloof mix. 1/3 poly, 1/3 BLO, 1/3 Mineral Spirits.

My best advice is to do test pieces. Do your full finish schedule on a scrap and see if you like it, adjust as necessary and repeat the test.

You’ve already invested a year, don’t rush the finish.

-- Sawdust Maker

View SMP's profile

SMP

1401 posts in 419 days


#2 posted 03-07-2019 10:08 PM

really depends on what look you are going for, and if you like the look of oak as is just a little darker/shinier. Is it red oak, white oak, quartersawn?

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

858 posts in 1616 days


#3 posted 03-07-2019 10:32 PM

I don’t have any experience with finishing hand planed wood. However, I do know that stain will accentuate any flaws, tear-outs, scratches, etc. I would go with the Maloof mix. Add coats until you get the sheen you like. I can’t remember the recommended dry time between coats, but I think 24 hours should be good. You can also add a tiny bit of japan drier to the mix to speed up drying. Follow directions on the can. If you need a darker color, Use dye, not stain. Test anything you do on similarly prepared scrap before applying to your project.

View LesB's profile

LesB

2206 posts in 3957 days


#4 posted 03-08-2019 12:20 AM

The planing process is going to leave the wood particles on the surface slightly compresses; that is the shinny appearance you now have. I would be inclined to sand it all with a 220 or 320 grit sand paper which will open the compression and allow you finish to penetrate better.

Watco Danish oil would give you a nice natural finish and if you apply a couple coats you can get a build up that will “shine”. It also comes in some colors is you like. If the shine fo the final coat is too much you can buff it with a 3M pad if it is Red Oak or 0000 steel wool if it is White Oak after is has cured for a few days.(Don’t use steel wool on wood with open grain like red oak because fibers can catch in the grain and gradually rust or react with the tannin in the wood and discolor it).....I would apply also a carnauba paste wax at the same time and buff it with a soft cloth.

With any finish you should let is cure for a week before moving into the boys room. It will five off an odor for several days.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2116 posts in 1117 days


#5 posted 03-08-2019 01:29 AM

If they are young enough to have bunk beds they are young enough to destroy them. Ask me how I know. I’d go with whatever is going to be the hardest and most durable finish you can find. Something that resists scratching and something that can withstand cleaning of crayons and sharpies.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Michael's profile

Michael

15 posts in 466 days


#6 posted 03-08-2019 02:11 AM

Thank you all for the great responses! Much appreciated. It is red oak, plainsawn. I would like to make it a little darker, sort of a traditional tarnished gold look but avoiding the honey-colored look that was so common in the 80’s. If that makes sense.

The Maloof thing sounds interesting, will that be crayon and Sharpie resistant at all? I know polyurethane is supposed to be the most durable and protective but also that regular poly varnish is a huge process, and the pores have to be filled, etc. I also don’t want too much of a synthetic look. Does the poly in the Maloof provide some protection against children?

Think I will start testing some scrap pieces this weekend. I still have to make the ladder and safety fences, so this will not be too soon, unless I don’t do all of it together.

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

858 posts in 1616 days


#7 posted 03-08-2019 02:58 AM

There is nothing wrong with sanding it if you like. However, you mentioned that there are some scratches and tear-out that will remain in any case. Just be forewarned that if the 1st product you put on the surface has color, with the exception of dye (I think), it will be darker in these flaws and accentuate them. This would include colored danish oil. If you want the wood to be darker, use a dye (I hope someone will correct me if this is bad advice) then either use a natural (un-colored) danish oil, use the maloof mix, or straight poly. If you use the maloof mix, you can apply poly later if you like, but if you know you are going to do that, there is no need for the mix. Also, you don’t need to fill the pores unless you want to. That would be just a lot of extra unnecessary work for bunk beds IMO. The mix might resist crayon, but I doubt it will resist markers. A couple of coats of satin poly will not look “synthetic” IMO. Nor, is it a huge process.

View LesB's profile

LesB

2206 posts in 3957 days


#8 posted 03-08-2019 05:48 PM

My response above was based on what you were asking.
In retrospect a poly finish would be much better at resisting the affects of young boys. Use a satin finish and it will look nearly natural with out a gloss. I would use a water bases floor finish grade of Varathane. Just be careful of any drips although they can be “shaved” off with a razor blade. For color do some samples of various stains or colored danish oil to get what you want. Be aware that the poly will in some cases slightly change the appearance….usually “brightening” the color. Filling the grain is unnecessary and would only add an unnatural appearance of the woods texture. Color can also be added to the poly or you can buy colored poly if you want to skip the stain step.

Always do some samples before hand…..

-- Les B, Oregon

View Michael's profile

Michael

15 posts in 466 days


#9 posted 03-08-2019 06:11 PM

Should a dye go on first by itself, or can it be mixed into the Maloof mix? Can a dye be rubbed in or should it be applied some other way?

Thanks.

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

858 posts in 1616 days


#10 posted 03-08-2019 06:54 PM

Usually dyes are flooded on and left to soak in for a few minutes and then any left on the surface is wiped off. Let it dry and then apply finish. Color can be added to the maloof mix and also to poly. Doing it that way, the color is in the finish and will darken with each additional coat of colored finish. If you do add color to your mix or poly, be sure to start with a coat of non-colored finish as a sealer. Having color in the finish has the disadvantage of showing scratches worse than clear finishes because a scratch not only removes the finish, but removes color along with it. There are Youtube videos and articles written on applying dye to wood. I advise you to look at some of those if you are thinking of going that route.

OK. BAD ADVICE! I tested some dye on a smooth board with some deep cross grain scratches and the dye DID darken in the scratches. So. That is not a good solution for you. If you want to darken the overall project, I think you are left with applying a clear seal coat and apply a dark glaze which is similar to adding color to your finish maloof mix or poly. I would try to get the color as you want it with one or two coats of color and then add another coat of clear. Even with that, you may get some darkening in the scratches and tear-outs.

Your best option might be to fill the scratches and tear-outs with clear epoxy, sand smooth, and then apply your glaze and finish. You might also test a gel stain which will cover the epoxy better than a penetrating stain will. If that works for you, you can dispense with the glaze and go straight to your clear finish.

View Michael's profile

Michael

15 posts in 466 days


#11 posted 03-11-2019 09:25 PM

Thanks bilyo. I should have mentioned, we are not talking about major scratches or tearout, just miniscule stuff that you can’t really see unless you are peering close. I am going to do some test pieces. If it looks bad, I may just sand it all.

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

858 posts in 1616 days


#12 posted 03-11-2019 11:58 PM

Good to know. My concern in trying to figure out what you should do was that I know that the slightest scratch and/or tear-out will darken with the application of stain (and now I know, dye). So, those areas would look like your wood has the measles. Try some clear 5 min epoxy on some scrap. Sand it smooth and apply some gel stain. That works for me.

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

672 posts in 1262 days


#13 posted 03-12-2019 02:14 PM

Watco danish oil comes in colors/shades. I’d give that a try on some oak scrap wood to see if they had the color I wanted.

Or, use a water based stain, mixed to the shade you want, followed by Waterlox Original, light sanding, then more Waterlox.

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

HomeRefurbers.com