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Two coats stain in...Wife does not like color :( ... help

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Forum topic by 123rp123 posted 04-28-2020 11:53 PM 838 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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123rp123

2 posts in 307 days


04-28-2020 11:53 PM

Hi, Doing my first “big” project … a dresser/armoire for the missus … Red Oak for the doors and drawer fronts and maple plywood for the box… some heavy routing for the door panels and drawer fronts done… All in all, a relative newbie…

Coming to the problem…

The wife picked Varathane Red Mahagony by doing a visual comparison of the box color and an existing drawer she wanted to match … I sanded 80/150/220, cleaned up with Mineral spirits, put some nice conditioner on for a while …

And in my excitement did not do a test piece first…to make sure the wife likes the color Zzz

Did all the door panels and fronts … two stains in … making sure the stain does not stay too long and sticky (as the book says ...

and now the wife says this is not the color she wants… needs to be much darker and redder.

Here is a picture to show how far apart I am. The piece on the left is where I am currently and on chest of drawers on the right is where I need to be.

Am I dead now? Are these pieces unsalvagable… is there any way for me to magically darken the stain after two coats (short of sanding down all of the stain)....

Will putting a darker stain on top of the two stains help at all ? Or do I have no choice but to sand it down? If I have to sand it down, how much do I need to go? Should I start with a 80 to remove material and then go back to the finer paper?

Also, I still have to do the carcass (which is a plywood and a different wood to boot :-( )... For that, I am thinking that will try to recreate the exact steps I do with the currently stained pieces to get them to match (instead of starting from scratch with the ‘new’ stain I will be hopefully using). Is that a bad idea ? Should I just start with the new stain directly?

Thanks a bunch,
Rama.


16 replies so far

View Walker's profile

Walker

452 posts in 1481 days


#1 posted 04-29-2020 12:08 AM

Is it too late to get a new wife? ; )

-- ~Walker

View SMP's profile

SMP

3434 posts in 915 days


#2 posted 04-29-2020 01:43 AM

Go with a gel stain, but she probably still won’t like the grain. Maybe General Finishes Georgian Cherry
https://generalfinishes.com/wood-finishes-retail/oil-based-wood-stains-sealers/oil-based-gel-stains

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3672 posts in 2807 days


#3 posted 04-29-2020 01:47 AM

I don’t think you will ever get Red oak to look like the piece on the right. You started with the wrong wood.

-- Aj

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5949 posts in 3360 days


#4 posted 04-29-2020 02:21 AM

You ain’t ever going to make oak look like walnut, no matter how much stain you use.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View JohnDon's profile

JohnDon

147 posts in 2179 days


#5 posted 04-29-2020 02:51 AM

I’m not sure whether it’ll help over already applied stain, but I find dyes (such as Transtint) are nice to work with, and esp. help to even out high contrast grain (e.g. red oak).

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

6636 posts in 2397 days


#6 posted 04-29-2020 03:08 AM

If the piece on the left is after applying the stain, I think that maybe the conditioner may have blocked the stain so it didn’t get as dark as expected. What conditioner did you use?

You best bet now is to get a practice board, finish it the same way and experiment with different stains colors and maybe even types (like a gel stain). Divide it up in to sections and label what you’ve done as you experiment so that you can reproduce it when one produces an acceptable result. Also, it sounds like the doors are not plywood so you may even want to see if you can sand off or strip the conditioner and stain you’ve already applied and stain again without the conditioner. .

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

View 123rp123's profile

123rp123

2 posts in 307 days


#7 posted 04-29-2020 04:31 AM

Thanks for the info guys…

To update y’all, anti-climatic I guess… did a stain match at Sherwin-Williams; tested on spare pieces of sanded oak and the plywood – wife is “ok” with it. Then sanded down the stained ones down to 120, and applied the new stain. Came out ok.

View SMP's profile

SMP

3434 posts in 915 days


#8 posted 04-29-2020 05:10 AM



Thanks for the info guys…

To update y’all, anti-climatic I guess… did a stain match at Sherwin-Williams; tested on spare pieces of sanded oak and the plywood – wife is “ok” with it. Then sanded down the stained ones down to 120, and applied the new stain. Came out ok.

- 123rp123

Stain will definitely take more sanded to 120-150. 220 and up seems to repel a lot of stain.

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

2306 posts in 1597 days


#9 posted 04-29-2020 12:07 PM

Brown paint.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1768 posts in 2739 days


#10 posted 04-29-2020 12:40 PM

Rama, I know you stated that you’ve come up with a finish that is acceptable to your wife. Good for you on getting that done.
Now, if you have the time and like to experiment, get a piece of scrap that is about 6×6 and sand it to 120. After sanding it, rip it in half. Label 1 piece and set it aside. Continue to sand the other piece to 220. Stain them both with the same stain you used at the beginning. This experiment will show that too much sanding will give you a different look. Post your results here if you like. ............. Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View BlueRidgeDog's profile

BlueRidgeDog

787 posts in 788 days


#11 posted 04-29-2020 01:29 PM

Customer (even if it is domestic) must give written approval (never verbal) of a sample of proposed wood and finish prior to ANY finish being applied. The domestic customers especially need to sign off on the finish before hand!

View tywalt's profile

tywalt

107 posts in 1173 days


#12 posted 04-29-2020 09:08 PM



Customer (even if it is domestic) must give written approval (never verbal) of a sample of proposed wood and finish prior to ANY finish being applied. The domestic customers especially need to sign off on the finish before hand!

- BlueRidgeDog


While this has always been best practice for my shop, I was unaware of the actual regulatory statute. Printing this to hang next to the MSDS and quoting you whether you like it or not ;)

-- Tyler - Central TX

View Axis39's profile

Axis39

432 posts in 606 days


#13 posted 04-29-2020 11:35 PM

Stain + Poly would get you a lot closer. Because it’s not a traditional penetrating finish, building up color is easier.

I know it’s too late, and you’ve already gotten the boss’ approval, so if you don’t say anything, I’ll keep my trap shut.

But, I’ve used quite a bit of this stuff to get dissimilar species close in color several times over the last few years. It’s not my favorite finish, but sometimes it’s the correct one for the problem in front of ya.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

View Jared_S's profile

Jared_S

446 posts in 968 days


#14 posted 04-30-2020 02:28 AM

If you could spray I’d use a toner coat (or more than one) to darken and shift the color.

A easy toner is trans-tint in seal coat shellac.

View cracknpop's profile

cracknpop

492 posts in 3358 days


#15 posted 04-30-2020 03:35 AM

Sometimes we have to learn the hard way… I bet you will always do test boards from now on. I would still do test boards with the new ‘custom’ stain. My experience with plywood is that it will not stain as well as the oak. In that case, I let the first stain coat dry well, then I will dry brush on second coat and not wipe off.

I have used alot of red oak. I never use conditioner as oak stains quite well, especially gel stains like Zar and Varathane. Sand red oak to 180 is usually enough, though I will usually make a test board sanded to 220. I always give the test boards to my wife for her approval.

I’m not as brave as ‘BlueRidgeDog’ to require “written approval” from my wife, let alone try to hold her to it… LOL… as I have yet to remodel the dog house to make it comfortable enough for me to sleep in!!!!

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

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