African Mahogany finishing

Saw a link on the ISW a while back on African Mahogany. The ISW gave some good information on the Khaya spieces but nothing was noted about finishing issues. Currently doing a project with this wood for the first time. Good figure, (some ribbon) a bit wooly but overall pleased thus far. Now as it turns out I am going to be a bit short on wood. My local supplier has some but is stating that the wood just doesnt finish well at all. The woollyiness (sp) and the hard/soft density really makes it blotch prone. He says that it is overall just plain awful to make look good. I do want to stain the wood a dark brown but if it is in fact that bad to finish I MAY consider starting my project over with something a little less risky on the finishing side. Maybe walnut or cherry. Anyone care to share there comments? Thanks
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Just use a glaze rather then stain directly on the wood. Hell, you aren't going to have much better luck staining cherry, it's about the same situation.
Try this on some scrap and see how it goes..
Find an oil based gel stain of a color you like.
Sand the wood to about 189 grit.
Put a couple or three coats of the finish of choice on. Nice coats
When it is dry use a foam brush and apply a good layer of the gel stain and let it sit till it starts to set (it gets dull in color rather then having a wet look)
Use a second foam brush and mineral spirits and start working the stain. Removing the excess and evening the color over the stock. Keep some toweling handy to squeeze out excess stain.
You may have to use a dry third foam brush to do some feathering but just work the stain until you can see the grain and the color is even across the surface.
It takes a gel stain about five hours to dry on it's own and much much longer to set to the point where it can't be easily manipulated with mineral spirits so there is no rush and it things aren't going well you can just wipe the whole thing off.
Let that dry at least over night then apply about three more coats of your finish.
No splotching, no unevenness.
--
Mike G.
snipped-for-privacy@heirloom-woods.net
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I respectfully disagree with your wood supplier. I have finished this species and avoided blotching by using a toned shellac. Add TransTint dye to shellac to create a toned finish which you apply until you get the color/depth the way you want, then seal it in with a clear finish topcoat. No blotching.
By the way, its better to sneak up on the color than to try and apply fewer coats of a heavily toned medium.
Good luck,
Glenn de Souza Scottsdale, Arizona

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wrote:

    Have to agree with Glenn. I followed Jeff Jewitt's tips in FWW a few months ago. He was trying to recapture the look of real Cuban mahogany. I didn't realize at the time that I had African, so in a way my quest was hopeless, but using the Trans-tint toned shellac did *not* leave blotches.     Wood looks good, and as long as I don't tell my visitors that the grain was *IMPOSSIBLE* to sand, plane or scrape as smooth as "new world" mahogany, they think the surface texture was intentional :-)
====Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others. ===={remove curly brackets for email}
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Thanks for all the advice guys. Looks like my supplier may be misinformed.
"Charles Bragg (no, dammit, not the painter)"

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