Confusion, then Indicision and now dispair. Stain, Dye, fill the grain, wipe on
or spray. Too many options and not enough experience. None actually as this
is a first project. I built the Craftsman style bed from Wood Magazine a
couple months ago but instead of quarter sawed white oak I used plain sawed red
oak as that's what I had. Reading books and internet searches have multiplied
my morosity with conflicting information and unlimited options. So, with the
caveits that I am not fond of really 'dark finishes' and that it's a BIG
project, how would YOU finish this bed? Dye, Stain, Sealer, Fill the grain,
enhance the grain, poly, shellac, varnish, gloss, satin?????? Oh yeah, one
more thing is that there is a little color variation in the oak. Some darker
and lighter shades.. Looking forward to suggestions and thanks for your time.
Everyone have a great Thanksgiving.
Mike in Arkansas
Oak stains well without too much problem. Pigment stains will highlight the
grain contrast, dye will tend to minimize it. Much of how you proceed should
be based on personal preference taking into consideration how it will look
with other furniture in the room.
For myself I'd probably use a dark brown pigment stain then apply a very
dark glaze to darken the pore holes, followed two or three coats of a decent
satin wipe-on varnish, such as Waterlox. I like the look of dark-stained
unfilled matte finished oak.
On 25 Nov 2004 04:54:10 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (JMWEBER987) wrote:
If you like the color of red oak, I find Minwax Ipswitch Pine works
well for pulling different shades of red oak boards together. It
won't do much to the darker boards, but it will darken the lighter
wood. In fact, I've used it to make non-oak trim and doors go really
well with clear coated natural red oak trim and flooring.
Clear coat it with shellac, a good varnish like Pratt & Lambert,
McCloskey's Gymseal, or Waterlox Original. Apply them with a foam
brush and rub them out with 320 between coats. A coat of Zinnser Seal
Coat dewaxed shellac after the stain will keep the finish coat from
reconstituting the stain and moving it around. Want a satin finish?
Build coats with gloss finishes, using satin only for the last coat.
The flattening agent in non-gloss finishes can cloud a finish.
I don't like some Minwax products, but this product in this
application works well. Red oak takes stains beautifully.
A few suggestions:
1.) Practice on scrap! Do the same steps from sanding, staining,
clear coats, rubbing, etc... on a scrap left over from the project.
Write each step on the back of the board. Having the steps written
down accomplishes several goals. First, you can duplicate success.
Second, if the finish goes awry, you have a record to retrace and seek
assistance as to where things went wrong. Last, this is the place to
decide you don't like the color, gloss is better than satin, etc...
2.) Ignore stain manufacturer's color names. It's OK to use a stain
color called "pine" on oak. <G>
3.) Have fun!
4.) Reread #1
By "scrap", I mean a decent sized piece of wood. 6-8" x 12" would be
a minimum. Work the end grain as well. The goal is no surprises on
your hard worked piece.
Judging a finish is tough on a 1"x1"x2" cutoff, or a 1 1/2" section of
I think Barry gave you the best advice here, considering your
experience level and color preference. Oak doesn't color well
naturally over time as some other woods do, so I do suggest staining
it. They even sell natural or honey oak which is barely a color at
all. The Ipswitch is a bit warmer color reddish/orangey.
The foam brush is a great idea. It will really help you get a flat
finish. Read up on what they call "tipping" on the web. This is the
process of using a brush and having the last stroke be a very light
pass with the brush perpendicular to the finished surface and just
using the the very tip of the brush to flatten out the film. It works
really great and is almost a necessity if you use varnish which tends
to get real thready when you brush it.
You can get premixed shellac at Home Depot (Zinnser) and just thin it
down a bit more with alcohol. Make sure to get the clear not the
orange. It is a good step and real easy to work with.
You could also go to a wipe on poly over that to avoid any mistakes
with the brush. It just takes more coats to build it up. I've even
done wipe on shellac. If you do lots of coats and steel wool it down
flat, then wax it you can get a great finish.
I would not fill the grain. This is not a first timer process and
certainly not on something as big as a bed. What you can do though is
use black wax once your done and it will lodge in the grain and really
make the contrast pop, as long as you don't build up the finish to
much so the grain is filled with plastic. Oak is a real coarse grain.
Don't try to flatten it with the finish or you will have way to much
on their. Just leave it so you can still feel the grain. It's wood and
it feels great like that.
Not liking dark finishes is fine. Staining is NOT a required finishing
It's a bed which pretty much sits in one place and isn't subject to much
spilling or actual contact with the wood.
Use a natural Danish oil on it. It'll darken the tone of the bed a bit
but not color it. It will provide sufficient protection for the bed. You
don't have to worry about filling the pores. It is easy to apply.
Renewing the finish if it becomes necessary if it ever needs it. Just
apply a fresh coat of oil. Above all it will look great.
A coat or three of a good paste wax every once a year or two will help
Thanks to all for your input, it's much appreciated. Can't wait to
get back home from the Holiday at my son's house to get back to work
on it. Have only the rails left to do but have to face laminate some
boards to get the required width(1 1/4 inches). Have some good
looking boards set aside for that. Then it's sanding, glue up and
finishing. Any other opinions on finishing I would be glad to hear.
Even if the confusion and indicision are unabated at least the
morosity is :). Hope all are having a great Thanksgiving.
Mike in Arkansas
On 25 Nov 2004 04:54:10 GMT, email@example.com (JMWEBER987) calmly
I'd fume it with 26% ammonia (available for $8/gal at surveying supply
stores nationwide, which should cover maybe 1,000 bf of wood) and wax
it with dark wax, making sure to buff and clean the pores. I happen to
LIKE open pores, TYVM. They let oak look and feel woodgrainy like oak
I have the wood (rift-sawn red oak, as there was no white QS oak in
town at all and they wanted $7/bf to order it in Medford. I can have
100bf sent down from Portland for $4.50/bf when the crowbars return
home after the winter) for a dictionary stand now and will be doing
that project shortly, to be finished as stated. (Or fumed, Waterloxed,
and waxed, depending on how the samples look.)
I like satin finishes so I degloss Waterlox with 0000 steel wool and
paste wax. I abhor poly, so it doesn't come in my home. (Ditto tobacco
and alcohol. Cussing and women are another story altogether. Gotta
have -some- vices, wot?)
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firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike in Arkansas) wrote in
Rumour has it that fuming and red oak are not a good idea. Google the
archives, but I recall reading that it turns the wood a greenish hue.
Since I build a few things in red oak, that caught my eye.
You can do some nice things with dye stains, however.
The late 19th century English Arts and Crafts craze, kind of D.I.Y.
reaction to the machine age, had wood from old barns being used because
it was available and cheap. The wood, usually oak, exposed too years, if
not centuries, of the tannin in the wood reacting too ammonia fumes from
animal urine turned grey or black.
The supply of such wood was finite and the practice of fuming oak was
born to supplement the supply.
When Sticley developed his "Mission" style off shoot of the Arts and
Crafts furniture and put it on a production basis he pretty much dropped
the fumed look for economic reasons.
Arts and Crafts/Mission style is more a philosophical statement the it
is a style and, unless you are doing an actual reproduction of a certain
piece, there are no real rules but more general guide lines, slats,
exposed tenons, etc. Follow the general guide lines and you can do
pretty much what you want and still have an A&C/Mission piece.
On 25 Nov 2004 19:04:50 -0800, email@example.com (Mike in Arkansas)
It darkens it depending on how long it's left in the tent. 8 hours
is light brown, 36 hours is very dark brown. The tannin in the wood
reacts to the ammonia fumes and darkens. The wax on top evens it out
and provides a bit more moisture barrier while letting you feel the
warmth of the real wood.
PESSIMIST: An optimist with experience
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No, I'd toss the cigs, let her finish her beer, toss it out, make her
brush her teeth, then allow her to take advantage of me. <ww,nn,kwim?>
Stain and Poly are their own punishment
http://diversify.com Comprehensive Website Design
Excuse me. Brush her gums/gargle (whatever, it's imperative that she
get that beer stink off her some way.)
I had a girlfriend once who had a false upper plate. Surprisingly, I
found that I preferred her with her teeth IN at those special times.
Then there was the old druggie joke about the perfect girl:
She's about yea high (holding hand palm down about belt height),
no teeth, and has a flat spot on the top of her head to hold your
beer. Then at midnight, POOF! She turns into a 6-pack and a gram of
A PSYCHOLOGIST looks at everyone -else- || http://www.diversify.com
when an attractive woman enters the room. || Full Website Programming
firstname.lastname@example.org (JMWEBER987) wrote in message
Since you mention that you don't like the dark finishes, I'd skip out
of the business of stain/dye/fuming and pore filling altogether. Try
out an oil/varnish mix. There are various mixtures of 1/3 varnish,
1/3 turpentine, 1/3 linseed or tung oil. You can buy such brands
commercially premixed. There are probably dozens of them, but the one
I've used is called Minwax Antique Oil finish. Three wiped on and
then buffed off coats make an easy, good looking, and reasonably
durable finish. Let it fully harden for a few days, then rub the nubs
off with the finest pad you can find, and then give it a coat of
Lots of folks here swear by Waterlox. It's also a blend of varnish,
tung oil, and solvent. I've been wanting to give it a try.
As others said, be sure you test it on scrap wood first.
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