staining oak

I am currently working on an oak bookcase, and I am planning on staining it very dark to match (or come close to matching) an antique bookcase I own. I have experimented with Minwax Special Walnut and Dark Walnut stains, but I have run into two problems: 1). I just can't seem to get it dark enough despite repeated coats, and 2). After application of the stain and rubbing the excess off, the stain begins to wick out of the pores in the wood and create blotches at the ends of the open sections of grain. I can rub it out easily enough, but it seeps out for hours before abating. Any suggestions? Should I be using a different stain to achieve a darker finish a less blotchiness? I have little familiarity with wood finishes so any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!
- Mike
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Yeah you'll have to wipe for hours sometimes. It's normal. I have not been able to get a dark color with minwax. Try stains from "Zarr". They are dark and go on dark unlike minwax. HD and Lowes dont carry them here so I had to go to my hardware store to get them. I would think wood working stores would carry them as well. I got a dark color using minwax by staining brown and then applying 4 coats of polyshades. Polyshades only works well for me when it's a dark color and when I apply 4 coats or more. Polyshade sits ontop of the wood though. It's like a translucent paint.
Sam

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I'm a royal newbie - but have used water soluble aniline dyes on two oak projects. I'm very, very happy with the results. Easy to use, nice dark "fumed" look. Plenty of ways to experiment - mixing dye shades; adding pigment. Last night I tried the dye, followed by a Danish Oil - had a nice effect on the grain.
I don't think I'll be "Min-waxing" any time soon.
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I used TransTint dyes from www.homesteadfinishing.com last fall trying to "match" an almost black finish on a bedroom set. Started with dark brown and added a LITTLE black then tweaked with green as it was too red and son & DIL were happy campers. Ensure the mix is lighter than final so you can "Sneak up on final color" as Jeff Jewitt asserts.
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I've used water soluble Homestead dyes for over two years now and only occasionally use Minwax stuff for quickie stuff. My only problem(and it is a PITA) is the grain raising the stuff does on oak.. Even with pre-soaking with water and light sanding it still raises. I've come to like what results and makes my Arts and Crafts stuff look old and used(like I want) and not Ethan Allen-ish slick. Larry
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Lawrence L'Hote
Columbia, MO
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Larry try scraping and or using a smoothing plane as the last step before using a water based product. I don't get much raised grain at all providing I cut the final surface rather than scratch it up with sand paper.
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: I am currently working on an oak bookcase, and I am planning on : staining it very dark to match (or come close to matching) an antique : bookcase I own. I have experimented with Minwax Special Walnut and : Dark Walnut stains, but I have run into two problems: 1). I just can't : seem to get it dark enough despite repeated coats, and 2). After : application of the stain and rubbing the excess off, the stain begins : to wick out of the pores in the wood and create blotches at the ends : of the open sections of grain.
Get your stained pieces out of the sunlight, and or stain them after the hottest part of the day. That way everything will be cooling down, as opposed to heating (and air expanding) and pushing the stain out of the pores. But still, keep them out of the sunlight till dry.
: I can rub it out easily enough, but it : seeps out for hours before abating. Any suggestions? Should I be : using a different stain to achieve a darker finish a less blotchiness? : I have little familiarity with wood finishes so any help would be : appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Min wax doesn't really work very well on Oak. Given pine/oak/ (philip..) mahog, mahog will be darkest, then pine, then oak. For some reason it just doesn't work on oak (other than light stains). I did 3 identical piano benches, 2 oak, 1 philipine Mahogany, all with the same stain. Amazing difference.
: : - Mike
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Stain color is heavily dependant on preparation. You need a relatively open grain for good penetration which means you really don't want to final sand with anything over 100 grit. I routinely stain oak after hand sanding with 50 grit to open the grain after the sanding machine work is done. Popping the grain with water just before a final screening eliminates most of the grain raise associated with anything water-based. Trick is to not sand too much which is why we use a screen. Sanding too much just gets you down to another layer. This is great for natural or light colors but is counter-productive to the OPs problem as it closes the grain again. He could get much darker color by popping the grain and staining without screening the grain raise. He could get a much darker color by looking around for another stain brand or color. Even Minwax makes an Ebony or equivalent. Glitsa used to make the darkest Ebony around. Cut to lighten.
M Hamlin

the
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