The finish for the red oak cabinet I have been playing with, is essentially a water based dye stain, grain filling, and glazing with an oil based gel stain, prior to top coating. Normal routine is grain filling after the dye stain.
Last night, I took a piece of red oak, raised the grain, sanded it down to prepare it. Then I filled the grain.
The grain filler I use is a thick water based paste. It can be diluted but I don't find dilution to be of value. I tint the filler with a black water based artists color. I applied it with a putty knife and scraping the excess off the surface. I let it dry over night.
This morning, I sanded it with 320 emery cloth and brought it down to a clean surface with a good fill.
Then I applied the dye stain. Let it dry. Then put the gel stain to it. I didn't seal between any of the steps which I would normally do. Then I started building the top coat with minwax satin finish poly.
End result, it worked quite well. There was no sanding damage to the dye stain which normally occurs. There was less pitting of the grain filler. The grain maintained the dark black color with the rest becoming a dark chestnut brown.
In summary; Conventional wisdom is to fill the grain after the dye stain. I liked filling before hand, cause there is less problems with not accidentally sanding through the dye stain.
Can anyone think of a reason why I should not go this route.?