Why is my stain not getting as dark as shown in store samples?

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Despite multiple coats and letting the stain sink in as long as (or even sometimes longer than) recommended on the can, my stain never seems to get nearly as dark as shown on the can or as shown in the store samples.
- I have found this both with multiple different Minwax oil stains and with Rockler gel stains. The stain never gets nearly as dark, dense, rich as shonw in the samples.
- For me this is true both for pine and (red) oak -- which are the types of wood shown for example in the Minwax samples.
- It happens both on unsanded S4S wood and on wood sanded to 200 grit
- Also it happens whether or not I use a pre-stain wood conditioner.
- Finally it happens even with multiple coates (4+), even when using very generous applications, even when kept on longer than recommended, and even if I don't wipe it off aggresively at the end.
The only areas that stain as dark as (or darker than) the samples are end grain.
What could I possibly be doing wrong?
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Try using a dye. There are water/alcohol soluble dyes available at Woodcraft. Try TransTint (this is what I use). The stains that you are using are made from pigments that don't penetrate hard wood very well (large molecules). Dyes are much smaller compounds (usually analine derivatives) that penetrate the pours of hardwood much better.
Try it.
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Yeah, this is really common. I think every woodworker goes through this. Oils stains are just exactly like you state. You can get closer to the store colors by not wiping off so cleanly and leaving a build of color to dry. I'm sure that is what they do but it is not so practicle or easy to achieve on a real project.
A few ideas.
1. Learn how to use Dyes. A very very different process but much more predictable once you learn the tricks. 2. Try some water based stains. I find the General Finishes water based stains to have a whole lot of grit and good color lay down. But using water based requures the extra step of raising the grain. 3. Gel stains are oil stains that have some jellified nature and poly included. These can be much more easily used as a coating where you can leave a film to get the deep color you want.
One approach I use on oak (and others) is a standard oil stain on the raw wood or tung oiled, then stained. Then I put down a thin coat of shellac. Then I use a darker gel stain to fill the grain with nice dark lines but not filled so they are flat. You can work the gel stain with a real saturated rag and leave behind a film as dark as you like. I actually use it to antique the look and leave lots more in the corners. The gel stain has poly in it so it will dry and stay on the surface better than doing the same leave behind with standard oil stain.
You can then lacquer over or poly over or shellac over or wax over or my fav lacquer then wax over or just leave it. I also sometimes use black wax for even more antiquing sometimes.

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On 3/5/2010 10:56 AM SonomaProducts.com spake thus:

[snip]
So do you think you could ever learn to bottom-post, which is what, oh, I don't know, 99.5% of the people here do when responding to messages?
--
You were wrong, and I'm man enough to admit it.

- a Usenet "apology"
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I'll consider it.
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On 3/5/2010 2:15 PM SonomaProducts.com spake thus:
>

Thank you; that's very considerate of you.
--
You were wrong, and I'm man enough to admit it.

- a Usenet "apology"
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Sheesh. You and Dave Bugg over in teh BBQ group should meet.
-Zz
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NO SHIT!!!
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Your sig line perfectly matches your inability to deal with trivialities.
Happily hanging out up here with Sonoma. How ya doin?

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I like your style Joe!
Some of us just like being on top I guess ;-D
K.

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Geez Kate you sound like fun...
IMHO Posting on bottom for someone else, is simply being submissive. Post where you want.

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On 3/6/2010 11:13 AM Kate spake thus:

No, it just makes you look like an idiot.
But please do whatever you want.
--
You were wrong, and I'm man enough to admit it.

- a Usenet "apology"
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"David Nebenzahl" wrote:

-------------------------------------- Vicious personal attack time, huh.
Don't think you want to go there.
Lew
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Vicious personal attack = plonk, at least in my book.
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On 3/6/2010 1:33 PM Lew Hodgett spake thus:

*That's* a vicious attack???? I think someone's insult-o-meter needs recalibration, and I don't think it's mine ...
--
You were wrong, and I'm man enough to admit it.

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I think the idiot is the one that needs to look through all the mess to get to the reply. Basically the one that cannot remember what he just read in the immediate above post. Why reread each time if you have any kind of memory. Why not for those that can keep up do we need to have the response at the bottom?
So to in response to your probable response, If you have not read the whole thread or your computer does not show the previous response, read the statement below the top posted response.
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On Sun, 7 Mar 2010 07:33:17 -0600, the infamous "Leon"

Sorry, Kate, but I agree with David's horrible, nasty, ugly, vicious, hateful, war-mongering response. (See? Other folks can overreact, too, Lew. ;)

Tolerance is his virtue. I've plonked half the topposters I've read.

Why? For it to be a logical response, especially on proper (bottom-posted, or interstitial if for multiple phrase replies like this one) responses. It's not as bad when the original post and answer both fit on the screen but it's still a real bother for a lot of people. That said, yes, more people should snip their quotes to only the relevant info. (BTW, topposters never snip anything at all, adding unnecessary delay to Usenet use for everyone.) <sniffle>

What about those who don't have time to read the posts every day, or just started reading the newsgroup?
For those of you who find it hard to bottom-post, get a decent freakin' _newsreader_, fer chrissake! Usenet isn't rocket science.
--
A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is it such a bad thing?
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You have a point there. However I try to remember to snip everything and simply post a response, it naturally ends up at the top. :~)
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On Sun, 7 Mar 2010 19:45:18 -0600, the infamous "Leon"

That's OK, Leon. Just so you (and other topposters) know, when the burrs build up enough under the Usenet saddle, people start quietly plonking the topposters and their burrs.
It's only natural. Reading Usenet posts is a hobby/pastime only until it becomes not enjoyable. Your option, your risk.
---------------------------------------------------------- California's 4 Seasons: Fire, Flood, Drought, & Earthquake -------------------------------------- www.diversify.com/shades2.html * NoteSHADE(tm) Laptop Glare Guards
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