Making the sister in law a coffe table based on one she saw at Crate
and Barrel. It's dyed or stained a deep dark brown, almost black. I
built mine from poplar, sanded, sealed with shellac and stained it
with Minwax Jacobean. Disaster. Muddy tone and blotchy, despite the
spit coat prep.
What do I do now? Is there some kind of film finish that I can put
over the stain and that will still reveal grain? How about glaze or
You got "tulip poplar" or real poplar? Real poplar has interlocked grain,
so there's never a consistent pattern of stain absorption. On the other
hand, if you put a clear finish over the existing stain, you'll get some
If not, use something in the stain/varnish line to even the color, though
you'll lose the pattern.
I would if you have done so remove finish coat meaning shellac, laq, or
whatever if its on there. Then you have two choices 1.) Resand to bare wood
or as close as possible. Then coat with a wood conditioner and apply a
pigmented base stain such as those available from Old Masters, allow to dry
only slightly and wipe with a soft cloth lightly. Recoat again and wipe.
Continue until desired color or chroma is obtained. 2.) If you do not want
to resand to bare wood then sand down blotchy areas and apply stain
conditioner on wood, and apply a pigmented stain as mentioned above. Use a
clear non-yellow finish sealer.
HEY! We have something almost in common. I'm trying to match a table from
Pier 1 that is deep dark brown almost black.
I found that 1 coat of minwax mahogany oil stain left on to dry (dont wipe
off) and 4 coats of miniwax bombay mahogany polyshade will get a deep dark
wood with suttle red highlights. The polyshade lets you get deep dark colors
and the prestain+polyshade combo gets rid of any blotching and adds depth.
If you don't want the red highlights you can use walnut polyshade.
I just got though staining a batch or poplar last night to match mahogany.
Raw wood, used a mixture of 1unit oil based stain to 2 units of mineral
spirits. Allow the stain to soak into the wood for several min. and then
drain off excess (or wipe off for larger items) allow to set for several min
and then wipe dry. I have sprayed this on to large items and wiped off with
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