Finish help needed

I'm refinishing a desk for SWMBO. It's red oak (?), has been completely stripped, and sanded to 220.
I've been trying to find the 'darkness' that she wants. Minwax Red Mahogany (225) has been decided on as the color. The grain color is acceptable, but the areas in between the grain lines are too "yellow" (light).
So far I've tried: 1, 2, and 3 coats of stain, 10 minutes each, wiped both with and across the grain, keeping it wet the whole standing time. On top of this, 1, 2, and 3 coats of water-based poly, and 1, 2, and 3 coats of oil-based poly with the first two rubbed on the third brushed on.
I've only got about two square feet of wood left to test on before I have to start stripping my first tests.
One obvious option is to tint/dye the desk darker before staining. That's unacceptable, given my expertise combined with the sheer size of the desk.
The next appears to be to let the stain stay on longer, but 15 minutes is the recommended maximum, and I'm already at 10. I know what happens if you wait too long.
The next option takes a little more work, and that's to resand with coarser grit in hopes of opening up the wood some.
Norm showed using a wood filler and a glaze to darken a chest top. I don't have any experience with or know anything about either, but they <<seem>> to be easy enough to try.
Also, all surfaces and drawers are or resemble raised panels. That leaves a lot of end grain to try to dodge and blend in to keep from getting it too dark. Suggestions? Wood filler?
Thanks in advance for comments and suggestions.
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Not too easy of an answer really. A dye will do the job for sure. If you use water based mix dye is really pretty easy. But I also have another suggestion, happens to also be a water based solution (pun).
Look at my website for an example of the color. I used General Finishes Water Based stain Rosewood color. It does a great job of coloring the open filed on Red Oak. http://www.sonomaproducts.com/Furniture/JL-ET-RO.htm
If this is too red, they have other colors too. To get this depth of color I really grind the finish in with a stiff brush. I put it on realy heavy and keep working it until it is starting to dry, then wipe it down with a rag that is already saturated to leave a heavy coat of color. Of course wet the project first with warm watre, let it dry and rub it down with a maroon scrub pad to raise and kill the grain fibers.
Because it is water based, even with a good brushing you will get white lines in some of the grain lines because of the surface tension, so after a first light coat of clear finsih (1 pound shellac or sanding sealer) you should use a black or dark brown gel stain and grind it into the grain to really darken the back field. You can also use the Gel stain to antique the finish by not wiping it completly down in the corners, etc. I just use Minwax Dark Walnut for brown or Bartles Jet Black for black.

(225) has been decided on as the color. The grain color is acceptable, but the areas in between the grain lines are too "yellow" (light).

grain, keeping it wet the whole standing time. On top of this, 1, 2, and 3 coats of water-based poly, and 1, 2, and 3 coats of oil-based poly with the first two rubbed on the third brushed on.

recommended maximum, and I'm already at 10. I know what happens if you wait too long.

have any experience with or know anything about either, but they <<seem>> to be easy enough to try.

lot of end grain to try to dodge and blend in to keep from getting it too dark. Suggestions? Wood filler?

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(225) has been decided on as the color. The grain color is acceptable, but the areas in between the grain lines are too "yellow" (light). dark. Suggestions? Wood filler?

I haven't tried this, but from what I've read, maybe a glaze or a tint in your topcoat would achieve the results you're looking for. Red oak is a tough one in my mind - I like it stained anywhere from redish to light brown when it's flatsawn, but I really don't care for stain when it's quartersawn. Most wider panels show some gradient from one to the other. I do like orange shellac on red oak, though, but I don't like it on white oak. Tough call - sorry I can't help more, but I can sympathize. Andy
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