recommendations for sealing pores of QS red oak before staining

subject says it all
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wrote:

I used a stainable wood filler (I think it was Elmer brand) from Lee Valley, thinned it with water until it was like runny pudding and rubbed it in with a cloth. It was a PITA and my arm hurt like hell when I was done, but it did a good job on the pores and it took the stain just fine. The trick is to work in small areas because that stuff dries FAST.
Even after two applications I still had to apply and cut back several coats of finish to get a really flat surface, but without the filler it would have taken forever.
Some other thoughts on staining red oak: 1) I would recommend a dye, rather than pigment stain. If you use a pigment you will get very deep colour in the coarse-grained part (where the pores are) and almost no colour in the tight-grained part. (One is "early wood" and the other is "late wood", but I don't know which is which.) With dye you get more even colour.
2) The ray-flecks will not stain like the surrounding wood. You probably already know that.
- Ken
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Why do you want to seal the pores?
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G Kunstmann wrote:

What look are you trying for?
Red oak is one of the most easily stained and finished woods available. Usually, some pigment lodging in the pores, as well as the ray flecks becoming more visible are desirable characteristics.
If you can provide more detail on what you're after, or a specific problem, I'd be glad to help. Also, are you mainly dealing with solid stock or QS red oak plywood?
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In the past, I stained QS red oak by applying the stain liberally, wiping the excess off, buffing it dry, and retired for the day. Next day, the stain had apparently "leaked out", leaving small dark spots surrounding the pores. Had a very arduous task getting the spots out.
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That's because it's red oak. That's the nature of the beast.
Stain your project in the early morning. Wipe up the stain about every 90 minutes to three hours all day long. Retire sometime after the Letterman show finishes.
Or switch to another type of wood.
Patriarch, t shirt owner...
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wrote:

Use less stain. <G>
No, I'm not being a wiseacre!
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wrote:

I forgot to mention that besides using less stain, WHICH stain can also help. Some of the faster drying pigment stains, like H. Behlen and Mohawk, pure dye products like Solar ], or gel stains, like General Finishes, leach out for a much shorter time, if at all.
If you are using "home center" products, applying one wiped on, then quickly wiped off coat, can allow the stain's binder to seal the pores. If you want it darker, a second application of stain will leave more pigment in the pores and won't be able to soak in so far, so you'll have less to leach back out.
The leaching out is mostly a function of slow-drying consumer stains, applied much too heavily.
Try my tips on some scrap and let us know how they work for you.
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thanks for the inputs

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Your stain may benefit from thinning.
Wiping the semi dry stain with a cloth moistened with thinner may help. As someone else mentioned, starting earlier in the day may allow you time to remove the 'leakage spots' as they appear but before they dry using the cloth moistened with thinner.
I like to apply a preliminary coat of thinned stain after glue work and preliminary sanding is complete but before final finishing. This gives some protection from sweat and dirty hands and allows the grain to raise. After final detail sanding and assembly a second coat of thinned stain results in the character I like which is somewhat varied.
A different brand of stain may give you better results, it took me several tries to find a brand of stain that I like but we are all looking for different effects, I like the way the softer oak darkens more than the harder wood and also makes the rays stand out. I think it results in a bold character that I find pleasing. YMMV
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Thu, Jul 5, 2007, 10:24am (EDT-3) snipped-for-privacy@veawb.coop (GKunstmann) doth mumble: subject says it all
Playdough springs to mind.
JOAT I do things I don't know how to do, so that I might learn how to do them. - Picasso
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