Stain Not Dark Enough

I am making a pair of thimble cabinets to match several others that already exist for a friend for his mother. The originals are 300 miles away, so I am working form photographs and a rough sketch. The material is white pine.
The woodworking phase is done and I am pleased with that part of the project. Getting the stained finish dark enough is another story. I choose Minwax Dark Walnut because I wanted a dark brown color. I followed the directions for prepping the wood with the Minwax sealer. Within the specified time period, I applied the stain, waited about fifteen minutes and wiped the pieces down.
Problem #1, the color was much to light. Problem #2, the project took three days to feel dry.
I over coated the stain today and things got a little darker and seemed to dry much more quickly. Some pieces, however, seemed to get a little blotchy.
My question is: how many coats of stain will I need to make the wood dark, real dark, kind of like old furniture dark? The color I am looking for is like the stain when it goes on wet. I said, "dark". Can I reapply the stain within the 4 to 6 hour time frame indicated on the can, even if the surface does not feel bone dry to me?
The cabinets will be top coated with shellac, which will darken things a little, but I don't want to even think about this until I am a lot closer to the hue that I am looking for.
TIA.
Bill Waller New Eagle, PA
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I used to use Jacobean when it had to be really dark. Two coats usually enough. You might want to let it cure fully, so it won't be dissolved by the next coat.
Was the pine KD and resin set? Air-dried has a tendency to reject stain a bit more.
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Light and dark is subjective. IMO, the walnut is too dark. They also have a stain called "Special Walnut" that may or may not be suitable.

I don't have a clue.

Yes Ed
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Minwax makes an ebony stain if you can find it in stock. Its basically "black" in tone. For a really black look, try a black or brown tint dye first and then cover with the regular stain. This worked out well for me on 4 book-cases that sat on either side of a black entertainment center. Good luck.
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Thanks for the tip on Ebony from Minwax. It did what I was looking for.

Bill Waller New Eagle, PA
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I use white pine for all my projects and staining as always been an issue. I recently used Varathane Gel stain and I'm very pleased with the results. I find it easier to apply than Minwax and the stain being in a gel form can be applied to obtain a darker uniform color. I also found it easier to fix areas that were lighter in color. Minwax is like water and some areas will absorb the stain to fast.
The only problem I have now is finding protective gloves that will resist. I like to apply stain by hand with a cloth.
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To achieve a darker color, meaning more intense, you will need to apply toner coats. Since you intend to use shellac, this is quite easy. You can try applying a naturally darker shellac such as Garnet or you can make a toner yourself. The easiest way is to add a few drops of the appropriate color TransTint, available from many catalogs and on-line suppliers, to some shellac. I would seal in your stained wood first with some uncolored shellac in case you make a mistake. It will be easier to completely remove the toner.
Many coats of any film finish are not used to make furniture darker. A coat or two of toner is what manufacturers and professional refinishers use. Take some scrap and do your full finish schedule on it. Applying the shellac topcoats will be necessary to determine how it will really look. Some wood dyes can appear dead until a topcoat is applied.
As for the three days to feel dry, did you wipe down the stained board several times before the drying time started? Minwax is an oil based pigment and dye stain. It is very important to wipe off all the excess before allowing it to dry. Do not try to make the piece darker by leaving excess stain on the wood. You can always apply a second coat after the first one dries.
The blotchiness is not unusual with pine. It is just easier to see after a film finish is applied. You are on the right track with the prestain. You may need to go to something, on a fresh piece, stronger such as a spit coat of shellac.
Good Luck.
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