Stain/Finish preferences - What's yours?

I'm building a TV stand for my new DLP TV. The basic box is done and I'm trimming it out. I used 3/4" birch plywood, and I'm going to use some stock oak moldings to trim the horizontal edges, birch veneer for the verticals. Anyway, I'm going for a dark cherry/rosewood color and I'm wondering about what stain/finish you guys might think is easiest to work with. There's stuff like minwax stain/sealer, the gel stains, water based stains,and the combination stain/urethanes. Tung oil seems like a distant choice, and then there's regular urethane versus water based urethane.
I don't mind sanding between coats or using steel wool. If I had to guess, I'd probably have the least confidence in the combination stain/urethane but that's why I'd like to hear some opinions. The end product has to be satin type finish.
Thanks for the help.
Mike
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I copied a dark cherry Stickley piece for someone, out of real cherry. It took me a lot of experimentation to get the finish right. I finally found walnut dye, mahogany gel stain, with poly worked.Have fun.
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Aha! I've got the Stickler #14 Saratoga Cherry sample and that's the general goal... although SWMBO will cut me some slack here because it's _only_ a TV stand. I've been told by others that with birch, my best bet would be to use a gel to prevent blotches but in truth... the stand is 60" wide, the TV 58". The stand depth is 20" and the TV is 18" so 90% of this stand really won't be seen (hehehehe he says). I'm dealing with leading edges for the most part because eventually, the stand will be flanked by a bookshelf/curio type cabinet that would be a minimum of 18" deep.
I think my main concerns are whether or not to use a sanding sealer on the raw wood before staining... and if I do... would it affect some types of stains from really biting into the wood?
Mike

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snipped-for-privacy@hotpotato.com wrote in
<snip>

If you want easy, and want to get done sometime soon, try the following:
Zinsser SealCoat shellac sanding sealer, wiped on thin. Two coats, and it will be dry in 30 minutes, or maybe less. Solves the blotchies to which birch is prone.
Bartley's Gel Stain. You can mix their colors to tone to the color you want. For example, their Penn Cherry tends towards purple. A little of a yellowish, or medium brown color can tone it like you want. It wipes on with a rag. You can mix it on a plastic plate. It dries quickly.
Bartley's Gel Varnish. Wipes on with a rag. Dries quickly, and is compatible with the wiping stain.
This is a homeshop, impatient wooddorker finish. The holidays have started. You don't really want the TV stand in the shop until the Super Bowl, do you? ;-)
Patriarch
ps: What the man said about practicing on scrap is the truth!
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On Sun, 21 Nov 2004 16:53:25 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@hotpotato.com wrote:

When I stain blotchy woods like cherry and birch I head in one of two directions.
#1 - most often - I apply a barrier coat of Seal Coat, then wipe on a Behlen's pigment stain. The stain is dry brushed while it's wet until it's even. Watch for pigment build-up in corners and at edges. For more color. apply another barrier coat and add another treatment of the same or a different color pigment stain. * (optional) Apply a light non-grain raising colored dye, like Solar Lux before the first barrier. Use a barrier between each product until you begin to add clear top coats. Lightly scuff the top coats with 320 grit to keep things smooth and remove dust nibs.
#2 - add colorant to a clear lacquer or shellac and build color as I spray top coats. Don't try to do this in one coat, build color slowly.
#1 will not usually work with Home Center brands of stain, they will never dry. The H.Behlen and Mohawk lines handle much differently and dry much faster than cheaper stuff. So, if you try the method with different materials and it dosen't work, don't blame me. <G>
Practice on scrap!
Barry
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Sun, Nov 21, 2004, 4:53pm (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@hotpotato.com claims: <snip> I'm wondering about what stain/finish you guys might think is easiest to work with. <snip>
Might not give the color you want, but I've found tea stain very easy to work with. Of course, if you tried something like Red Zinger, it might be what you'd like.
The solution is, or course, extremely simple. You experiments on pieces of scrap wood, same type of wood you plan on using. When you come up with what you like, you stops.
JOAT Measure twice, cut once, swear repeatedly.
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I think some of the best looking finishes are oils, such as tung or Danish oil. These produce a low luster and rich looking finish. These take longer to apply than a varnish, but not nearly as fussy with the application procedure. I like Minwax stains. You may want to apply a wood conditioner or sanding sealer before the staining. Finish a few scrap pieces before making a final decision. Congrats on your new DLP TV ! On Sun, 21 Nov 2004 16:53:25 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@hotpotato.com wrote:

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Minwax seems to have a decent selection. The red mahogany #225 seems to be _close_ to the stickley #14 Saratoga Cherry sample I have, but it does seem a skoosh lighter. In their gel stains, the Brazillian Rosewood pretty good too. They recommend a wood conditioner for either oil or water based stains, but don't say anything about using a conditioner with a gel based stain? Samples are going to have to get done first.
And yeah... these DLP sets are amazing. I bought a Mitsubishi 62" and I'm amazed just about every time I put it on and watch something in HD. Football is flat out scary... you can sometimes read the tatoos on players arms! I did about 6 months research before I pulled the trigger a couple of weeks ago. Once I get the stand built and get my components and speakers connected... then it'll be really nice.
SWMBO wanted a closed stand, and most of the stands are open, or if they're "wood" they are assembled with cam locks and flakeboard. Once I get this unit all set, I want to get tempered glass (frameless) doors for the end compartments. The local glass shops want about $55.00 a panels for tempered smoked glass. That'll give it a nice finishing touch (I hope).
Mike

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