Staining Maple Cabinets


Desperately need some solid advice. We purchased some unfinished maple cabinet doors and drawers (fronts only) for our kitchen remodel. Have tried way too many options for staining with no success at all.
1. Water based raises the grain too much; why sand all over again when they came nice and smooth? 2. Penetrating stains will not penetrate. 3. Am told that I should not condiiton it. 4. Wiping stain will only penetrate if I weave it sit for close to an hour and then it is gumming whenI remove it. 5. Last resort: Tried a polyshade and it raises grain as well.
Anyone have any suggestions. This maple is so dense that it does not want to take anything. When I inquired at plant that made the doors they say they have never had this complaint before.
I am getting very frustated.
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Any stain you put on will raise the grain, wood is not sealed yet. YOu will need to sand smooth after your first coat of what ever you put on.

Nope to hard and tight of grain

I would seal it with shellac(sp)

Junk don;t use it

Poly is junk also. i would stay away.

What are you trying to do. I like the look of natural maple, why would you want to change it?
eric
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Let me clarify: #3: I meant that I was told that PRE-conditioning would not help. Thanks for your comments Eric. I was hoping to add just a hint of grey stain to the cabinet but at this point I have indeed thought of just sealing the wood in its natural state. You suggest shellac...oil based?
Eric wrote:

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Shellac is a brittle or flaky secretion of the lac insect Coccus lacca, found in the forests of Assam and Thailand. Freed from wood it is called "seedlac".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shellac
It's dissolved in alcohol so its neither oil or latex.

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| Let me clarify: #3: I meant that I was told that PRE-conditioning would not | help. | Thanks for your comments Eric. I was hoping to add just a hint of grey stain | to the cabinet but at this point I have indeed thought of just sealing the | wood in its natural state. | You suggest shellac...oil based?
fool proof method for staining maple
sand with 180 grit sand paper wet the wood with a damp rag (raise wood) let dry completely
stain with desired color seal with clear coat sealer
sand with 320 grit sand paper apply 2nd clear coat
sand with 320 grit sand paper apply 3rd clear coat
if you don't raise the grain first, before staining, the maple will look blotchy. by raising the grain, the maple absorbs the stain like an end grain more evenly.
| | | | Eric wrote: | >> Desperately need some solid advice. We purchased some unfinished maple | >> cabinet doors and drawers (fronts only) for our kitchen remodel. | >[quoted text clipped - 3 lines] | >> they | >> came nice and smooth? | > | >Any stain you put on will raise the grain, wood is not sealed yet. YOu will | >need to sand smooth after your first coat of what ever you put on. | > | >> 2. Penetrating stains will not penetrate.3 | > | >Nope to hard and tight of grain | > | >> 3. Am told that I should not condiiton it. | > | >I would seal it with shellac(sp) | > | >> 4. Wiping stain will only penetrate if I weave it sit for close to an | >> hour | >> and then it is gumming whenI remove it. | > | >Junk don;t use it | > | >> 5. Last resort: Tried a polyshade and it raises grain as well. | > | >Poly is junk also. i would stay away. | > | >> Anyone have any suggestions. This maple is so dense that it does not want | >> to | >> take anything. When I inquired at plant that made the doors they say they | >> have never had this complaint before. | >> | >> I am getting very frustated. | > | >What are you trying to do. I like the look of natural maple, why would you | >want to change it? | > | >eric |
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Because He isnt planning on using it in your kitchen!!! WTF?

There must be a sealer of some kind on these doors and drawers. take them back to the plant and have them show you how to finish it
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After way too many samplings we did like you said and embraced the beauty of the maple all on its own. They look gorgeous. And it was much simpler too!!!
Thank you all for your input. Since I have not yet added the hardware I do have a thought in the back of my mind....which can be trouble..... If the hardware makes the cabinets appear too new or sterile I thought I might see what a little aging glaze would look like. Any thoughts??
Eric wrote:

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3. Am told that I should not condiiton it.
We used conditioner from Home Depot, sanded lightly with 600 wet n dry paper then rubbed on stain. Worked fine
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Visit www.refinishwizard.com forum to discussion your options.

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| Desperately need some solid advice. We purchased some unfinished maple | cabinet doors and drawers (fronts only) for our kitchen remodel. | Have tried way too many options for staining with no success at all. | | 1. Water based raises the grain too much; why sand all over again when they | came nice and smooth? | 2. Penetrating stains will not penetrate. | 3. Am told that I should not condiiton it. | 4. Wiping stain will only penetrate if I weave it sit for close to an hour | and then it is gumming whenI remove it. | 5. Last resort: Tried a polyshade and it raises grain as well. | | Anyone have any suggestions. This maple is so dense that it does not want to | take anything. When I inquired at plant that made the doors they say they | have never had this complaint before. | | I am getting very frustated. |
fool proof method for staining maple
sand with 180 grit sand paper wet the wood with a damp rag (raise wood) let dry completely
stain with desired color seal with clear coat sealer
sand with 320 grit sand paper apply 2nd clear coat
sand with 320 grit sand paper apply 3rd clear coat
if you don't raise the grain first, before staining, the maple will look blotchy. by raising the grain, the maple absorbs the stain like an end grain more evenly.
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storiesr wrote:

Take a door down to a good woodworking or paint store and ask about dye stains. A decent shop will let you try before you buy. Maple is about the most difficult wood to get stain into.
If you don't like "blotchy", take the maple back and get oak :o) Maple usually has a "curly" grain.
http://www.popularwoodworking.com/features/fea.asp?id 97
http://www.rockler.com/blog/index.cfm?CommentID 8
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Well, first you have to find exactly what type of maple you got. Real sap maple will take some degree of stain. I myself to not use stain anymore. If it is real maple I suggest you use Tung oil as the first coat on a test piece. First start sanding with 120 grit then wash it with water to raise the grain. Then after the wood is dry begin sanding with 150 grit and work you way up to 220 and even 320. After that apply a coat of Tung oil. This should give it a little honey tone. Once it is dry apply a coat of Danish oil as directed. Let dry for 24 hours and use an ultra fine steel wool to give an uniformed finish then apply and another coat of Danish oil. If you feel like it you may apply a third coat. Once the test piece is finish you and your wife can decide if you like it or not. Real maple is too nice of a wood to be stained.
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I've had good luck using tinted shellack as a base coat. After a light sanding, apply your fovorite top coats. Shellack comes in several natural tints and can be tinted easily with commercial tints.
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...
Rather than try to describe it in a short response, I'll point you to the pros --
Teri Masachi wrote a really nice article in FWW not _too_ long ago-- let's see, oh, there it is--
http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/SkillsAndTechniques/SkillsAndTechniquesPDF.aspx?id (47
Also, I recall in the past Lonnie Bird had an article on his way to achieve an "old-appearing" finish on maple and anything by either Jeff Jewitt or Chris Minck is bound to be worth reading...a search for "maple" and "finishing" will undoubtedly find a wealth of information. If you're really lucky you're local library will have FWW back issues...
Upshot is, as others have noted, maple is a little tricky owing to it's grain. Depending on whether it is "hard" or "soft" maple, makes a difference as well, but the general techniques of these articles will go a long way to solve your problems and give you some alternatives depending on the look you need/want...
HTH...
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"Stain" consists of finely ground insoluble pigments suspended in a vehicle; it darkens wood by settling in the pores. As you've discovered, maple has tight, dense, closed grain and is difficult to stain. Since what you really want to do is darken the wood, you could try an aniline dye. Dyes are soluble in water or alcohol, and are drawn into the wood fibers along with the solvent. Some oil finishes also will darken the wood to some extent. Since only you know exactly what look you want, it's difficult to tell you precisely how to proceed. Your best bet will be to get some scraps of the unfinished maple from the cabinet shop and experiment with a few different techniques. Getting a good finish is not easy, and even experienced woodworkers do a lot of experimenting on scrap pieces. Unfortunately, you're learning the hard way that a high-visibility item like kitchen cabinetry is not a good place to do your testing. Good luck.
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Bill wrote:

I used a dye stain, I believe, on a maple cabinet years and years ago. At the time, I didn't know the difference between types of stain, but this one reeked to high heaven....like lacquer. It left a nice, light brown finish. I know I tried other stains, and the wood was hard as a rock so there was no sanding or raised grain. I will do ANYTHING to avoid sanding, but this refinish did not need sanding.
I've met delightful folks in paint stores who will go to great lengths to get the color of stain or paint that is needed. You can also find supplies on line to mix your own, although OP sounds like a newbie. Another reason for suggesting dye stain is that it is (I believe) less likely to cloud the grain - you can hit oak with anything and not hide the grain.
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After way too many samplings we did like you said and embraced the beauty of the maple all on its own. They look gorgeous. And it was much simpler too!!!
Thank you all for your input. Since I have not yet added the hardware I do have a thought in the back of my mind....which can be trouble..... If the hardware makes the cabinets appear too new or sterile I thought I might see what a little aging glaze would look like. Any thoughts??
storiesr wrote:

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storiesr via HomeKB.com wrote:

Glaze doesn't wear - you would need to put additional coats of clear finish. If they look gorgeous, don't mess with them. We got new doors and drawers in our kitchen - light maple finish - and used the 35 y/o hardware from the old doors/drawers. They are plain brushed nickel finish, simple shape, and look nice. Plain, but that is how I like them.
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