Why do you like one brand of stain over another?

Ok, I know this is so subjective. I know people have biases.
But why do you like a brand of stain over another? What did that brand resolve for you that another was bad at? What problems do you still encounter?
No they are not all the same. I have experienced different results, some are deeper, some blotch less. ... I want to know what you prefer, and what brought you to that company.
Do you switch around too?
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On Thu, 09 Dec 2010 10:51:01 -0500, tiredofspam wrote:

I prefer to use none. But if I have to, I prefer dye over stain. I can get a much larger variance in color with different ratios of dye to vehicle and it tends to blotch less than stain. I usually mix it with shellac and apply it with a rag.
--
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: I prefer to use none. But if I have to, I prefer dye over stain.
First time I read that, I thought you mean "stain the wood, then apply dye on top".
I also prefer dyes. Stain is essentially thin paint, and I treat it accordingly.
-- Andy Barss
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First I will say, for some reason many people hate Minwax. I think it is the Microsoft effect where big companies are somehow evil.
I would say company to company is less imporant than type to type. An oil based pigment stain from Minwax or Cabot, etc. is pretty much all the same.
What drives my purchase is a combination of the wood and the desired effect. I use many different types of products. Oil pigment stains have many limitations but are the perfect solution for some things. Usually on hardwoods when you want a minimal color change. But even then, Oak is very good with oil stains but Maple is not.
Gel stains and tinted poly (minwax polyshades for example) or water or alcohol based analine dyes or chemical treatments or water based pigment stains (see General Finishes) all do very different things on different woods and all have their places. Also, most of the best finishes combine a few different products in layers.
Buy and try my friend, buy and try. Of course it is best to follow the foots steps of someone who has developed a specific technique and provides some deatil on the materials and approach but nothing beats 6 or 8 pint sized cans of different stuf and some sample boards.
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I have tried different, basically minwax, cabot, varathane, but I have noticed some others out there like general etc.
I have used dyes, I have never used water based stain. Am considering trying some.
I was just looking for some reasons some choose one over the other. I primarily use shellac for a topcoat. brushed, wiped, sprayed, and french polished.
My desire is to find out from other peoples experience why one manufctr solved a problem over another.
For instance when painting the house, I don't like Behr paint. it is so think it doesn't flow out well, or brush well. It rolls well, but that's it. Cutting in is a Bitch because it is so thick.
For stains, I assume some just give a deeper richer tone. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm looking for it.
On 12/9/2010 2:10 PM, SonomaProducts.com wrote:

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tiredofspam wrote:

try a penetrating stain, I like/prefer Mohawk http://www.mohawk-finishing.com/catalog_browse.asp?ictNbr 8
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I would never use an oil stain for a deep rich tone. I would use a dye. I use oil stains for changing tint of things like make Oak look a little yellower or redder. If you really want to change the color then using dye is the best. A gel stain or tinted poly is kind of like painting and can change the color but you hide some of the grain too. Pigment stains are just not that reliable. I hear all the time that people hate Minwax because they bought walnut stain, put it on their maple boards and only ended up with a few places that look dirty and the rest still looks like maple. The pigment is just ground up minerals and need to get into the grain to color it. Hard to predict the outcome. Dyes use metals and are ground like 1000 x finer. Same principle but get down to almost the molecular level.
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When using most low viscosity penetrating stains and dyes, you have to have some clue. Minwax also has a reputation of showing up improper application methods. For those who can't handle fast stains there are the jellied cheater slops. I also use those. It depends on the depth of the colour, the porosity of the wood, hell, even ambient temperature will make me chose one stain over another. Sometimes I want to even out a wood colour to homogenize 'The Look' of a project, sometimes I want to set off a contrast. I have been known to stain oak with either a jacobean or ebony penetrating stain... let it soak after a surface wipe with mineral spirits and then to sand off the high spots and leave the grain very dark. Whatever works. But having said that... 75%+ jobs are usually finished with NGR.
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On Dec 9, 10:51am, tiredofspam <nospam.nospam.com> wrote:

Most of the time, I use orange shellac when I want a colored finish. Cheap, fast, and looks great on pine or red oak. For darker, I'd use dye, much better clarity, looks more like a jewel than a coat of thinned paint. Wondering if Rit black fabric dye won't work for ebonizing, how colorfast the results will be.
Like bright, saturated color? I've read that unsweetened Kool-Aid works as a nice, nontoxic dye for toymaking.
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"tiredofspam" <nospam.nospam.com> wrote in message

For years 20-30 I have been using General Finishes, Bartleys gel stains, and Lawrence McFaddin gel stains and varnishes. Good lucking finding the last 2.
All of these were easy to apply and left little to no lap marks. The gel stains tend to dry to the touch in very little time, 10 minutes on average, and can be clear coated in as little as 4 hours.
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On Dec 9, 7:51am, tiredofspam <nospam.nospam.com> wrote:

The marketing departments of various manufacturers would LOVE to get you to prefer their brand, but it doesn't work. That's because branding changes too fast, and the technology of staining is relatively mature.
So, some folk want to mix dyes, others want opaque pigments, and others won't consider anything but the gel products, or combination dye-finish things. Listen to those people talk about the actgual properties of the products, and ignore the loud trumpeting calls of "New and Improved!".
That said, I DO have a strong preference for one brand; it's the little sample-packet display of all the stains, 3 for a dollar, that sold me on that brand. If the sample packs aren't available the next time I go to select finishes, I'll end up with some other brand, and it's gonna work fine,., Eventually. After some trials on scraps.
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"tiredofspam" <nospam.nospam.com> wrote in message

I don't understand the distinction between stain and dye. I don't think we share that terminology here where a stain is almost always a dye.
Anyway - don't use them if you can avoid it. I have found that the pigments are very often unstable and will suffer UV degradation over time even indoors. The most common and recognisable effect is that a light or mid brown oak stain will turn orange like tika masala after a few years, yeuch!
I believe some chemical processes like fuming can work well, and some dyes from the right sources can be good if you want to boil up tea and bark but if you buy it ready made in a pot you will never know how it will end up in ten years time.
Tim W
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On Sat, 11 Dec 2010 12:02:13 -0000, "Tim W"

http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/woodnews/march_2006/alan_noel_march.html Stains vs. Dyes By Alan Noel Stains vs. Dyes
Every quarter I teach a class on coloring wood and often the very first question from the class is, "What are the differences between stains and dyes?"
Very simply put, stains are very thin paints and dyes are why your socks are red out of the washer. With stains, the pigment tends to remain on the surface of the wood and lodge in the pores, while dyes penetrate deeply and color the wood from within.
Dyes Dyes are colorants that are usually mixed in an oil such as mineral spirits, or in water or alcohol as a carrier. The dyes used in woodworking are actually very similar to those used for dying cloth and other materials. Dyes are characterized as transparent, as they bring about color changes in wood without obscuring the figure. The molecular size of the dye particles is so small they allow light to pass through virtually unhindered.
In my experience water-based dyes seem to be more lightfast than alcohol-based dyes, while oil-based dyes fade the fastest. I use alcohol-based dyes to make shaders by adding them to lacquer or shellac. By then gently spraying on very thin layers, I can blend unlike areas together or change the overall hue while retaining as much clarity as possible. There's nothing like the shimmer of a highly prized timber!
Stains Stains are really nothing more than very thin oil or water-based paints. Whereas dye stains are typically comprised of only dye and a carrier, stains are comprised of pigment, a carrier and a binder. Using a thin varnish (oil-based) or acrylic latex (water-based) as a binder, ground particles of natural and synthetic minerals are added to make stains. Stains should be stirred often to insure an even dispersion of pigment because the particles tend to settle on the bottom.....don't you just hate gravity?!
In many of my finishing schedules I combine both stains and dyes for adding depth in carvings, hiding veneer lines and blending unlike woods together. I will say however, I can't imagine why anyone would use a pigmented stain on any highly figured wood - with more than one application, the grain will be so obscured that the piece may as well be painted.

Agreed, don't use stain!

What's your experience with ten y/o homebrewed tea/bark mixtures? ;)
-- That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way. -- Doris Lessing
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wrote:

Thanks.
Here wood dyes have always benn referred to as 'stain'. But confusion has been caused by some paint manufacturers who market exterior coloured varnishes as 'Stain' when they are no such thing. You can of course stain something with a chemical reaction rather than a pigment but that would only confuse us more.

Actually nothing, but I was trying to make the point that it is the synthetic pigments which are particularly troublesome. Wood will change colour naturally and in a way pleasing to the eye. Natural pigments will do the same. Synthetic pigments - they are mixed up and some might and some might not degrade and the result is rarely good.
Tim w
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On Sat, 11 Dec 2010 04:39:24 -0800, Larry Jaques wrote:

Larry, I was going to give Tim much the same answer, but you did much more coherently than I could have. Nice work.
P.S. I also gave finishing classes when I worked at Woodcraft and yes, that was a common question there as well.
--
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On Sat, 11 Dec 2010 18:24:43 +0000 (UTC), Larry Blanchard

Thanks. My google fu is strong today.

If I ever have to discolor perfectly good wood, I'll do it with dye.
-- Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly. -- Plutarch
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wrote:

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[...snip...]

Charles Neil has a video on his site somewhere where he opens some cans of stuff labeled a "stain" by the manufacturer and says "this is a dye" and vice versa.
So you can't rely on what the can says.
Although Larry's explanation is good, I have different ways of thinking about it. If Larry's explanation wasn't totally clear, try thinking about chicken broth vs chicken soup.
With chicken broth, you have essentailly a liquid. If you pour it through a coffee filter, you will get broth at the other end.
With chicken soup, you have chunks of chicken floating in water. OK, there's some broth there also, but ignore that. If you pour the soup through a filter, you get water at the other end and pieces of chicken stuck to your filter.
Similar to broth, a dye completely dissolves in the solvent and colors wood when the colored solvent soaks into the surface. A stain colors by pieces of pigment sticking to the surface. The pigment will tend to stick more in pockets of grain after you apply it and wipe it off. Think oak or ash and what happens when you embed stain particles in those holes in the surface, then wipe off the surface. The contrast is increased because less stain remains on the smooth parts of the surface.
A stain on maple won't color as deeply or increase contrast as much as a stain on oak. When you wipe the stain off maple, more of the pigment is removed.
When people talk about stain "muddying the grain",besides simply obscuring the grain, they may also mean that it interferes with chatoyancy, that 3D effect you get on certain woods when you "pop" the grain. stain.
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On Dec 9, 10:51am, tiredofspam <nospam.nospam.com> wrote:

Occasionally I want to stain a light wood dark. In these cases I have found Sherwin Williams oil based stains able to give a much darker, much more even stain than anything I've ever been able to achieve from Minwax. WoodKote gel stains work for me to give me a dark, even stain - they are not particularly convienent for me to get, however, Also, the Sherwin Williams near me is excellent at making stains to match samples I give them.
Charles
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