Grit for maple

What sanding grit is best to sand to for maple? I made a maple piece once before and I went to 220. The stain didn't penetrate very well.
If I sand to 100 will this improve stain penetration?
What is most common?
Thanks
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I made a queen size sleigh bed out of hard maple last year. I experimented with a few finishing combinations, but none of the pigment-based stains worked (as I was told to expect). I ended up using a fairly laborious finishing technique, but it worked quite well. In short, it involved sealing the surface and then applying an aniline dye for a base, sealing that and then a glaze was used on top of that. Top coat was satin water-lox. You can see the recipe (it's by Jeff Jewitt) here:
http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/htdocs/eamaple.htm
Mike

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Can you seal with a varnish before glazing? or do you have to use shellac?

once
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Yes, you'll get better penetration at 100 grit than 220. Keep in mind that maple will get blotchy if you use a pigment stain. If it's just a light stain then it may not be noticable. But if you want to darken substantially then consider a dye stain or toning (or both). Unless of course you want the stain to accentuate figured maple. I just did a wall unit that used about 200 bd-ft of curly birdseye maple and 400 sq-ft of maple plywood. After much experimentation I settled on a light dye stain + a Danish oil that had some pigment in it to pop the grain. Turned out quite nice. I sanded to about 120 grit before finishing, and then used steel wool to smooth the surface and after the finish dried. It doesn't have a lot of surface build but that's okay for this project. Matt
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Try a water based anniline dye stain. It works for me when I have to stain. Although, maple is not a very good stainable wood. It's just too damn dense. Watco oil works ok also. But you are stuck with a limited color selection. SH
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220 grit is typically the final sanding. I use 320 between finishing coats. There are at least two kinds of maple, soft maple, and hard (sugar) maple. Hard maple does not take stain well. A course grit will not improve the stain penetration.
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Stain has particles that embed themselves in wood pores, etc. to get the coloring. All 100 grit sandpaper will do for you is to staining the scratches left by the paper. With dense woods like hard maple, dying works the best (visit www.homesteadfinishing.com). Dye is absorbed by the wood. An alternative is to put the dye in one of the finishing coats and "tone" the wood.
-Bruce

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Bruce, I agree, but I wish to pick a nit with your choice of words. Common usage of the word "stain" refers to the stuff in the M*nwax can. That stuff is more often than not a combination of pigments and dyes.
When folks use the term "stain" (in the absence of any modifier) it usually means that they don't know the difference.
I would respectfully suggest the term "Pigmented Stain" unless someone can offer a more appropriate term.
Cheers,
Steve
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Yes! good points Steve.
There are 100% pigments on the market labeled as "stain" but most are a combination of pigment and dye (mostly pigment). The way to tell is if there is sediment in the can. Dye (aniline) has no sediments, it dissolves completely. Pure pigments would settle out and have a clear layer of fluid (the binder + solvent carrier) above after sitting on the shelf for a long time. Minwacked "stain" has both properties.
Both pigment and dye "stain" the wood, but pigment does it by leaving small dark particles embedded in the pores of the wood, dyes actually are absorbed into the cell structure of the wood. paint is a pigment, although there is a lot more of it than in a pigment stain and the binder keeps it in suspension until it sets. With a pigment you are effectivly painting the wood with thinned paint. The quest to "stain" maple requires dye since the smooth, pore-free surface has very few traps to hold pigments from a pigment stain. The combo products will eventually work since the dye component will soak into the structure of the wood, but typically the dye component has a lighter shade than the pigment part (in my experience) so it will never get as dark as the products color sample chip looks (usually on a softwood like pine). One can try a much darker product that the desired color target on maple by selecting the primary tone desired, i.e. walnut for a tan or dark mahogany for a more reddish (light cherry) tone. This avoids some of the pains locating a true dye locally, but dye is still the only way to get much of a color change while maintaining clarity. -Bruce

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