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
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:
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
A top coat of amber shellac will also darken it to be more consistent with
the fumed oak look of yore.
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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