There are stains...and then there are stains, and oh, there are other stains.

I am in a quandary about starting my next project (china cabinet) because I don't want it to turn out with the "zebra stripe" look of my oak desk that I posted a few months back on ABPW. I have only used oil based pigment stains. I have a Pulaski curio cabinet that appears to definitely be made from red oak, but it has a much nicer, "professional" finish, that is honey toned, kinda like fruitwood I guess, and although there are some flat sawn pieces, the grain doesn't jump out at you, yet it is clearly visible. I want to get that look on my next project.
Before obtaining any new types of stains (sheesh, are they costly!) I tried pigment stain on a scrap of maple and found out that changing species isn't the answer.
Today I called the manufacturer. After getting the run around I got an email address to which I fired off my question: "how did you guys stain item number blah blah blah, because I want to match it". The response puzzles me: the guy said, "All of our stain is a nitrous cellulose based stain, it is usually put on in layers, a layer of stain, sanded, and another layer of stain, roughed up and then a top coat of lacquer sprayed on. A sheen meter is also used, to ensure a correct sheen, and even coating."
To which I fired back, "Thanks for the quick reply. I can't however find a mention in my finishing books for a nitro based stain. Am I correct that my cabinet is made of red oak? is the stain used on my cabinet a dye rather than pigment based stain? "
No answer yet; he is in Virginia and this email went out mid afternoon, CA time.
So, WHAT THE HECK IS "NITRO CELLULOSE" stain? He wrote, "nitrous" but I think that was probably a brain fart, right?
I got a Woodworker's Supply catalog tonight. there are a LOT of options for stains. pretty much everything by TransFast is available. I guess Bartley's gel is out because it is a pigment stain and samples on oak look like what I'm already getting with my stains.
I gotta try SOMETHING besides the pigment based stain.
I wonder if a combination of dye stain and then tinting a clear coat would give a more even coloration? Anyone here ever use that method?
I know I've asked stain questions before, but I need a bit more direction, since I will need to order stuff sight unseen since no local stores carry all the potential supplies I should try.
Advice welcome.
dave
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I dont know either But you got me wondering.. I found this site.. http://www.driscollantiques.com/restore.html excerpt: ''If we suspect that the customer is going to use a piece of furniture on a daily basis we protect it with a top coat of nitrous cellulose lacquer. This type of finish gives the look of the old traditional finishes with the protection for daily use. Repairing damage to a nitrous cellulose lacquer finish is easier and most times more successful than on other factory type finishes'
--
Gregory Jensen
1990 Heritage
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
OK the key to his first response is
"nitrocellulose lacquer" not STAIN..
--
Gregory Jensen
1990 Heritage
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gregory, I'm familiar with the term nitrocellulose lacquer, but not nitro cellulose stains. I had pointedly asked in my original email to the Pulaski fella if they used a "dye" type stain, but his answer didn't address that. thanks for the link.
dave
Gregory Jensen wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I think the answer you're looking is, they don't stain the wood, they color the finish. Lacquer can be colored with compatible dyes and sprayed on properly sealed wood to achieve almost any color you like without obliterating the grain. Deft used to sell lacquer in various colors from fruitwood to walnut, don't know if they still do.
-- "Shut up and keep diggen" Jerry

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

More than likely they used dye to colour the lacquer and sprayed it on as a toner, with a final coat or two of clear.
Many furniture manufacturers spray with coloured lacquer. They do this to maintain colour consistency in a product line, as well as to even out tonal differences and grain pattern mismatches in the wood itself.
One disadvantage to this approach is that the colour layer obscures rather than enhances the personality of the wood.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
MP has it right. The correct term is "tone" not "stain" because the color is in the film finish, not applied to the wood. The benefit of toning is that it applies color evenly. The density or pososity of the wood does not effect the amount of color imparted the final appearance.
This can be good or bad depending on the look you are trying to achieve.
That being said, a dye stain (as apposed to a pigmented stain) will behave more closely to this. most over-the-counter (e.g. minwax) "stains" are actually a combination od dyes and pigments. To find a true dye, you are best off going to a specialy provide like homestead finishing (they're on the net). Ive have had success with using their transtint dye on white oak for even toning.
-Steve

a
tonal
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I've used TransTint dyes in waterborne lacquer twice now and found it IS as simple as "they say" it is. As Jeff Jewitt suggests make the toner lighter than final desired and "sneak up on the final color". www.homesteadfinishing.com Easy to "nudge" the colors for correcting using dyes.
On Fri, 5 Mar 2004 08:13:14 -0500, "Stephen M"

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Though this link talks about cherry I found it helpful in the whole finishing process and is something I'm going to have to deal with myself as my kitchen is looking a bit patchy with the variation in color of the maple, didn't realize you could get so much color difference from one plank of wood.:(
http://antiquerestorers.com/Articles/SAL/cherry.htm
Bernard R

and
ensure
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It could be tinted lacquer or something along the lines of Behlen's or Mohawk stains.
Barry
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
|So, WHAT THE HECK IS "NITRO CELLULOSE" stain? He wrote, "nitrous" but I |think that was probably a brain fart, right?
I'm guessing dyed lacquer. See:
http://www.woodweb.com/cgi-bin/forums/finishing.pl?read24490
for example | |I got a Woodworker's Supply catalog tonight. there are a LOT of options |for stains. pretty much everything by TransFast is available. I guess |Bartley's gel is out because it is a pigment stain and samples on oak |look like what I'm already getting with my stains. | |I gotta try SOMETHING besides the pigment based stain. | |I wonder if a combination of dye stain and then tinting a clear coat |would give a more even coloration? Anyone here ever use that method?
I've been trying that approach on my cherry end table project without satisfaction. I must confess that when I bought the wood, the local Woodworkers' Source was almost out of cherry and what I got is pretty crappy, mostly flatsawn stuff with a lot of nasty grain patterns.
Because I've got to hide this and since I'm trying to complement, but not match, some Ethan Allen "cherry finish" cabinetry, I have to do some coloration. (Sorry purists)
I've tried a number of finishing approaches. Jeff Jewitt's "instant aging" method in FWW No. 130 uses a wash of dye, a sealer coat of shellac and then Bartley wipe-on gel stain. I now have two gallons of four different colors of dye mixed up and three different gel stain colors (you're right about the costs) and I've tried a lot of combinations and dilutions and *never* got an even tone. In hindsight, the article shows the dye being wiped on and I think that is the wrong method at least for my wood. I have HVLP spray equipment and I probably should have tried that but I have to shoot outside and the weather hasn't been good for that.
Another variable seems to be how the piece is sanded. I think, but do not know, that raising the grain and then sanding to 220-240 and spraying might keep the dye on the surface. Of course this is cherry and your problem is oak so who knows...
Where I am now is two wiped on coats of dewaxed shellac and a coat of wipe-on gel (50-50 mix of Pennyslvania Cherry and Golden Oak). With one wash coat there was still some blotching although with two almost all of the stain wipes off. Another complication is that this definitely has to be water and alcohol resistant. BTW, conventional wisdom is that gel-stains don't blotch. BS. Trying them on raw wood was a disaster.
The biggest problem is the tabletop and I would probably be money ahead to run it through the fireplace and get some better wood and make a new one.
Good luck.
Wes
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There seems to be a bit of difference between different brands of gel stains. I've had good luck by dousing the piece in natural danish oil, waiting a half hour or so, and then applying the gel stain.

Yeah, but by the time you're done you'll know a lot more about using dyes and stains than you would have otherwise.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
|> Where I am now is two wiped on coats of dewaxed shellac and a coat of |> wipe-on gel (50-50 mix of Pennyslvania Cherry and Golden Oak). With |> one wash coat there was still some blotching although with two almost |> all of the stain wipes off. Another complication is that this |> definitely has to be water and alcohol resistant. BTW, conventional |> wisdom is that gel-stains don't blotch. BS. Trying them on raw wood |> was a disaster. | |There seems to be a bit of difference between different brands of gel |stains. I've had good luck by dousing the piece in natural danish oil, |waiting a half hour or so, and then applying the gel stain.
Hmmm. Maybe I'll try that on another project. | |> The biggest problem is the tabletop and I would probably be money |> ahead to run it through the fireplace and get some better wood and |> make a new one. | |Yeah, but by the time you're done you'll know a lot more about using dyes |and stains than you would have otherwise.
Well, there's an awful lot of hoopla about dyes and I think they have promise, but the learning curve is definately steeper than wiping on a coat of Watco. [g] Gotta break out the spray gun next time. |
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jeff Jewitt suggests spraying dyes instead of wiping. His TransTint dyes mix with a bunch of stuff and nudging colors is fairly easy. www.homesteadfinishing.com forum allows direct questions to Jeff who is very helpful.
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 05 Mar 2004 12:38:04 -0500, " snipped-for-privacy@vcoms.net"
|Jeff Jewitt suggests spraying dyes instead of wiping. His TransTint |dyes mix with a bunch of stuff and nudging colors is fairly easy. |www.homesteadfinishing.com forum allows direct questions to Jeff who |is very helpful.
As I said earlier, FWW No 130 has an article by J. Jewitt titled, "Finish Cherry Without Blotches" and right there on page 48, the picture caption says, "Start with a light amber dye stain." The photo shows a gloved hand wiping on the dye. ;)
Yes, I'm aware of the forum, but haven't yet ventured to ask any questions.
|
|wrote: | |>Well, there's an awful lot of hoopla about dyes and I think they have |>promise, but the learning curve is definately steeper than wiping on a |>coat of Watco. [g] Gotta break out the spray gun next time.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 05 Mar 2004 12:38:04 -0500, " snipped-for-privacy@vcoms.net"
So do most Behlen's dealers, speaking of Behlen's products.
Spraying dye stains will usually provide a more even covering. I've also sprayed Behlen's pigment stains with good results.
Barry
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
that would be ok. I've got an HVLP.
dave
B a r r y wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
ouch! You are definitely having some tribulations with your finishing! I just got off the phone with a very knowledgeable gal at Woodworker's supply who's specialty is finishing. I think that the answer for me will be to use a dye stain first and then decide if I need to enhance the look (read: even out) with a bit of dye in the sealer or top coats (Enduro). I'm losing my desire to continue with pigment based stains.
dave
Wes Stewart wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.