How to achieve dark finish when staining oak?

I'm in the process of staining an old oak coffee table using a "triclad wiping stain" espresso in color (dark brown). After 3 coats (wiping after each coat), the oak doesn't seem to be absorbing much more of the stain and therefore the color isn't getting as dark as I would like. I'm wondering if it's a good idea to apply another coat and just letting it dry without wiping. This would get it dark enough (though it wouldn't show much grain), but will the stain dry hard enough? Perhaps I should follow this up with a polyurethane or varnish top coat? Thanks in advance for any advice.
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maybe you made the mistake I made years ago with a maple desk? I sanded with 400 grit. It wouldn't take stain. My bad! I was about 22 years old and that desk was my first refinishing project. I learned from that little boo boo. I resanded it with 150 and it took the stain beautifully. 'Course maple sanded to 400 is gonna be a lot harder to stain than oak...
dave
Sb083459 wrote:

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I used 150. Maybe I should try 120 instead?
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No, that's not enough difference to matter. sounds like you need help from one of the pro's here....
dave
Sb083459 wrote:

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I've read that if you want to darken your brown stains. Especially with harder woods like Oak you should go to the roofing department in your local hardware store and get asphaltum (sp). You add it to your stain and it darkens it right up. Many pros use it.
Roy Roy
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Thanks to all who replied. What I should have done is used a dye on the wood instead of or prior to staining. What I ended up doing (since I had already stained the table) was applying a final coat of stain fairly thick and letting it dry for a couple of days without wiping, which resulted in a dark finish, but it covered up more of the grain than I would like. Covered it with a poly clearcoat and it looks okay. I'll see how it wears and if necessary, I'll strip off the finish and start again. Should have done my research beforehand!
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TransTint dyes can be mixed with several finishes and sprayed on which doesn't obscure grain like pigment stains do.
On 10 Oct 2003 04:46:45 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Sb083459) wrote:

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Sb083459 wrote:

The only reason I knew the answer is that I've made the same mistake. IIRC, it was shortly before I decided that I should put as much effort into learning about finishing as I put into other parts of the project.
I got the Flexner book and never looked back!
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I have learned a LOT about finishing visiting www.homesteadfinishing.com, www.targetcoatings.com, and www.woodfinishing.com and reading their forums and Jeff at Homestead has articles as well.
On Sat, 11 Oct 2003 02:39:35 GMT, Chris Merrill

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Apparently you need a darker color stain to begin with..

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Leon wrote:

I'm not sure that will help. As I understand it, a pigment-based stain will have problems penetrating the earlywood (or is it the latewood?) because the pores are so small. Of course, the other areas have huge pores for the pigment to settle in. This is why stained (flatsawn) oak has such dramatic patterns when stained.
The way I understand it, a dye would be more effective, as it can penetrate into the wood fibers.
disclaimer: this could be a horrible mis-representation of what I read...so I recommend checking out Flexner's 'Understanding Wood Finishing' for yourself.
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Maybe you could try amonnia fuming which I just read about in another post.
Kevin

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www.woodfinishingsupplies.com forum is discussing this topic.
On Wed, 08 Oct 2003 00:09:22 GMT, Chris Merrill

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I got a nice dark color out of a piece of ply that I used for an artsy fartsy decoupage sort of thingy I did back in the 70's. Remember the pictures that were mounted on wood that had beveled, chunked up edges? I used my torch to get that dark wood look, before putting the poster on it and coating it with resin.
dave
Leon wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Sb083459) wrote in message

You can apply the stain and not wipe it off or at least not wipe all of it off to achieve a darker color. It may take a while (several days) to dry. In future projects using a dye on raw oak will easily get the oak as dark as you want (you'll usually have to follow with a gel stain to color the pores). I read another post describing sanding with a lower grit to get a darker stain. This is true, but the affect is sometimes not that dramatic. Finally, at this point you can add a glaze (thick stain) or a toner (pigment or dye in a top coat) A thick gel stain (bartley's or wood-kote) can be used as a glaze and polyshades (minwax polyurethane/stain mix) can be used as a brush-on toner. The glaze method has the advantage of being reversible by wiping it off with mineral spirits before it dries if you don't like it.
Charles Lerner
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mix a little black rustolium paint in the stain, try on a test piece
Sb083459 wrote:

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Making the stain darker usually won't give you the darkening effect you want. You will need to use a toner. A toner is nothing more than a stain in shellac, lacquer, varnish, or polyurethane. They are typically sprayed over a stained piece to avoid lap marks from brushing which can be darker than the rest of the brushed coating. That said, I brush toners that I make from TransTint dyes and shellac. You just can't make the toner too dark to start with. Toners are what professional finishers / refinishers use. They are also used in the new furniture business. They can be used to even out the color of a piece when used appropriately. Glazes are stains in a thick medium that are opaque or nearly so. I don't think this is what you want.
Good Luck.
To reply directly, remove both NGs.

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