Finish recommendations?

I'm starting some built in cabinet/bookshelves and mantle from some really outstanding curly quartersawn white oak I've had in the shop for a few years. I'd like to have a finish dark enough to work with a craftsman style design, but I really want something that will highlight the figure in this wood. Any recommendations?
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"DS" wrote in message

Rockler's "Mission Oak" gel stain is my current favorite for quarter sawn white oak. AAMOF, I just finished applying some just a few hours ago to corner cabinet parts (pre-assembly/glue-up) I'm currently building:
http://www.e-woodshop.net/Projects15.htm
Scroll down to the bottom for the results of this morning's application of said gel stain. (note: the flash from the camera washed out the color a bit).
A top coat of amber shellac will also darken it to be more consistent with the fumed oak look of yore.
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Swingman wrote:

Looks nice. I'll get a can of this on the way and give it a shot on a test piece. I'm going to try fuming a piece as well. I really want the figure of this wood to stand out.
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"DS" wrote

Smart move ... experiment to see what works for what you're trying to accomplish. Even the log you got your wood from can make a big difference in the final results, as well as a different location in the same log, so it definitely pays to experiment with scrap from the project.
Stickley had the same problem and had to resort to methods other than fuming to get consistent results.
I've tried fuming and found that the aforementioned stain product got me very close to the desired results with much less hassle.
As always YMMV ...
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You'll want to go here http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/htdocs/mission_oak.htm
This is pretty much the standard method, developed by Jeff that everyone is doing versions of. Unfortunately, the link is broken at the bottom of the page that links to a PDF version that has more info and pictures. Maybe you can contact them and get the link fixed for all of us. I think I have a copy of the PDF on my home computer.
I have done a variation of this where my first color was a bright orange dye that was supposed to be golden oak but was really golden and orngey. Then I followed the steps as he outlines. It really did add a glow to the rays and flakes.
Another addition I have used is to leave lots of the overstain gel stain not just in the cracks and corners but coming out form the corners too. I just do a lite wipe down to leave very darkened patches to create a more antiqued look. It is an art but you can always wipe it all the way down if you screw up and try again before it dries.
Finally, this guy Kevin Creedy www.kevin.creedy.com is fuming the oak first and then following a similar process to make it even darker. I'll try that soon. Kevin has just single pictures on his web site but when he puts stuff on ebay he has lots of close ups and it is a great finish. Look for Bow Arm Chair on ebay. I think he has one up now.

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Oh yeah, test it on scraps to get the color you want. Use the same sanding grits and go all the way to the final step to be sure it looks like you want. Different levels of gloss make a big difference and some folks like it flat and some like that lacquer look. Also, some people add orange to the trans-tint as a variation.
One more thing... I started using trans tint mixed in alcohol because it wouldn't rasie the grain and I liked that because it would be less work. Problem is that on any sizable piece it is really hard to do because it dries to fast and it is really easy to great bad lap marks, etc. You can add some Isopropyl alcohol to the mix to slow the drying but that only helps a little. So now I mix the trans tint with water. You still need to be careful about lap marks but you can wash them out if they do occur. You need to watch for seepage and wicking if you get thet trans tint into joinst as well, so careful application is the key, maybe even do the dye before assembly where possible.

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Thanks for the replies. I had heard previously that fuming detracted from the figure in curly wood, but I obviously haven't tried it. I'll cut a few test pieces and give these suggestions a shot.
SonomaProducts.com wrote:

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I used that finiishing schedule and I can vouch for it. Step 3, the glaze, is what makes the rays stand out. The contrasting glaze only stays in the pores of the oak and the rays have no pores. Consequantly, the rays appear lighter and stan out more.
Regards<
Steve
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