2 applications of stain?

My project continues at a glacial pace. I've been so busy that I have only had time to add a few more specimens to the Guarino Museum of Test Pieces. The rest of the work is stuck in mid-sanding.
Before I ask, I'll admonish myself to save time:
"Don't use stain! Choose wood whose color you like, then use my foolproof 12-step process for a beautiful finish!"
The project consists of a solid red oak frame with ply shelves. I'd like a darker color. I will again admonish myself, in the interest of saving time:
"Minwax sucks. Don't use it"
I have a fair sampling of the Minwax rainbow at home. None of them really do it for me, at least not for this project. I just got a couple of colors of Rustoleum Stains. I made test pieces. Not bad, although neither was remotely the color on the sample (allegedly on oak as well) displayed at the store.
"Did you read the directions?"
I read the directions. Apply liberally, wait 1-2 minutes, wipe off excess. Done.
There wasn't nearly as much color change as advertised. Both colors were not bad actually, but I have just applied a second coat over parts of the test pieces. I'll add that the colors still do not match the samples, but they are a little darker.
"Use gel stain!" "Don't use gel stain!"
I haven't tried that method yet, and I may. But for now I am wondering, if I achieve a color I like with more than one application of stain (presumably "oil" - it says it's "flammable" and mentions "petroleum distillates"), will I find problems later? Improper adhesion of the topcoats for instance? (I'm considering Watco).
"Geez, you don't know anything at all about finishing".
Guilty as charged.
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I wouldn't worry about oil over oil. Yes Watco has a soupcon of varnish, still wouldn't worry about it.
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On 7/6/2014 10:13 AM, dadiOH wrote:

if it produces a color I like? And you mention that Watco has only a little varnish; if I were to use poly over the stain (or wiping poly, more likely), would that have adhesion problems?
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On 7/6/2014 8:33 AM, Greg Guarino wrote:

If it makes you feel any better, most every time I've stained for the past forty years, I've struggled with the above.
AAMOF, I'm doing it as we speak, except that I have to please a client, which amplifies the 'staining angst' a million fold, and I'm certainly not pleasing myself with the way it is going ... and whether the client will be pleased, or not, awaits the top coat application:
https://picasaweb.google.com/111355467778981859077/EWoodShopBuiltInWallCabinets2014?noredirect=1
Not to mention, imagine being colorblind at the same time. ;)
In short, I would be perfectly happy to never have to apply a finish, of any type, to a project. That ain't gonna happen, but I can dream.
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On 7/6/2014 11:01 AM, Swingman wrote:

It doesn't. It suggests that I'll still be blundering around at it for years after I'm dead. If "colorblind" is an impediment, "dead" can only be worse.

That /is/ an extra burden. I'm not even being a perfectionist about a preconceived color; I'm just looking for something darker, in a wide range really, with tones that I like.
and I'm certainly

I looked at the pictures. You went to a Sherwin Williams dealer and had them match a sample, I gather? How does that work with stain? I mean paint (eventually) covers what's under it completely; how do they match something that is so affected by the wood?
That looks like a pretty dark color. Was it one "coat"? On birch, right? Does birch "take" stain more readily than oak? I'm guessing yes.

I tend to agree. Shaping and assembling the parts is great fun; finishing (so far) is not.

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Check this out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfCYMdrP8rM

https://charlesneilwoodworking.3dcartstores.com/Finishing-Products_c_11.html
Charles Neil is a wood finishing mastermind.
It makes staining and dying a breeze. I have no financial interest in ... blah, blah ....
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Well, at least with Bayer the supervisor on the job, you know your tools aren't going to walk away. :)
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On Sun, 06 Jul 2014 09:33:05 -0400, Greg Guarino wrote:

I think we've all felt that way from time to time. But I've had better luck with dye than with anything else:
http://homesteadfinishingproducts.com/transtint-liquid-dyes/
If you just want a very light tint, mix with alcohol or shellac. Any darker, go with water. It's hard to even out the color with something that dries as fast as alcohol. And go lighter than you think you want.
Yeah, they're expensive, but each little bottle makes at least a half gallon once diluted.
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On 7/6/2014 8:33 AM, Greg Guarino wrote:

There you go. I most often try to avoid using stain and try to sway my customers towards the natural look. Stain hides the character of the wood. I describe stain as see through paint.

While some get good results, I think they spray it, I have never ever had any luck applying by hand, whether it be rag or brush.

Practice on scraps. It seems that instructions are vague and in many cases to be used as a starting point depending on you relative humidity and temperature. So on some projects you have to so a small section at a time to be able to wipe off while waiting 1~2 minutes.

I have had real good luck with Bartely gel stains, they will stain dark if you choose a dark color. Now having said that Bartely was bought by Lawrance McFadden finishes, they went out of business in 2010 and apparently the recipe was sold to Seagrave Coatings. The stains did have a touch of varnish in them so adding layers and or adding a gel varnish was not an issue. Varnishes applied with a rag over the Bartely stain did show a touch of color coming off on the rag but nothing to screw up the stain application.
In the Houston area I have to IMMEDIATELY wipe off the excess otherwise the rag sticks to the finish.

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Gotta remember that stain such as you are using isn't a dye...it is finely ground pigments in a vehicle. It colors things mostly because the pigment catches in imperfections in the wood, be they wood grain, sanding scratches, whatever. IOW, there is very little penetratin into the wood. Seems to me that the only time you get much penetration is when you want to sand it off :)
The pigment particles stay put because they are locked into the oil when it dries. I can't see that additional coats of stain would cause a problem as long as you don't let it build up a thick film...don't try to use it as a thin, transparent paint IOW.

No. It is done every day. After all, stain isn't supposed to be a finish, it is just to color the wood before finishing.
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What color did you start with? If you like the color you could always add a bit of black universal tint to it to make it darker. Or maybe burnt umber...don't know if that is available as a universal tint but it is easily obtainable at any artist supply store, ground in oil. I used to use a mix of the two plus some turps and thinner as a wash on color photographic portraits in order to tie the colors together and tone them down.
Keep in mind that any color you wind up with will look different when it has a finish on it.
Look at any samples you do by themselves, don't compare them to others; if you do, you will always want something in between the two or with the one characteristic from one, another from another.
I farmed out my color printing to pro labs...except for one time. I spent hours printing dozens of prints...this is pretty good, needs +10 cyan; whoops, too much cyan, add .05 magents. Etc, etc. The difference between the first I made and the last was astounding and not one was what I would consider satisfactory.
And contrary to your current frame of mind, finishing is the best part of woodworking...that's when all the preceding work comes together and you have something beautiful; it's when the wood comes alive. Of course, I don't stain...:)
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