I never used the Carver stuff but for water based stains I have been
very happy with General Finishes. Kind of an eco-green company which
can't hurt. Their products are a bit different but I have found them
to work quite well. Their WB stain has pigment like mud. You can
either leave it un-mixed and get a wash coat effect using the liquid
or you can also leave it unmixed and scoop out some of the mud and
really grind in the color. Or of course mix it completly and use in a
normal manner, although still thicker than most other types of stains
I am familiar with. Seems to be very lightfast too. I have pieces I've
kept for myself that have kept a good dark color in a sunny California
livingroom for many years.
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