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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workshop » » Minwax finishes? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

seforeman
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Do any of you have an alternative to Miniwax finishes. I am very unhappy with their results. The colors never seem to match. I have 4 different finishes, that are Pecan, Colonial Maple, Chestnut and Mahogany, and they all stain just about the same. Looking for suggestion? The only one that appears different is an old can ('93) of Minwax Dark Walnut.

Thanks

Stu.
Stuart Foreman
AGMagic
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Not sure exactly what you are asking. First you say that you have trouble matching colors, then you say that 4 of the 5 colors that you have all look alike.

Yes, there are alternatives to Minwax products that are available from Wood specialty shops like Rockler or Woodcraft, but Minwax is one of the easiest to use. It is formulated for the do it yourself crowd whereas many other stain products are formulated for professional use.

However, staining is a combination of art and science because different pieces of the same wood stain differently. The different species or types of wood interact with the stain to give the final result. Therefore, you can not, for example, stain pieces of Poplar and Maple with Cherry stain and expect them to look alike, or even like Cherry. Even pieces cut from the same tree vary in the way they accept stain. Sap wood on a board stains differently from the wood surrounding it. End grain will almost always stain darker than face grain unless it is sealed first. Combining or blending colors may be the only way to get your desired result

There are many, many books on staining and finishing wood. Researching and understanding the issues with staining will greatly increase your chance of success. Good luck, this can be a life long study.
Tim Silver - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Magic-Woodshop/122578214436546

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Michael Baker
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Tim is spot on with his info.

Although I am not a fan of them, Minwax also makes the more foolproof Poly-Shades stain and finish. It is basically a tinted polyurethane. These tend to ride on the surface more so than soaking in, so the underlying grain has less affect on the final appearance. These are not meant to be wiped on and wiped off, like normal stain. You apply them and let them dry. The more coats you use, the deeper the color. Wood species is almost irrelevant with the darker shades.

Another thing to check are the color samples that the stores will often have. these show actual examples of the various stains as applied to a couple different wood species.

Be aware also that stains will vary in shade depending on how long you leave it on, or how many application coats you use. Applying a varnish or polyurethane over the stained wood will also change the color somewhat.

Just to complicate things for you, there are also dyes and tints that can be used. In some cases they can be used by themselves, or used to customize stains.

The best way to really get a feel for all this is to experiment with some scrap wood of the same type(s) that you plan to use for your projects.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Bill Hegbli
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Alternative is to do it the traditional way. Wet wood lightly, let dry, sand off little wood hairs. stain wood, let dry. Then give 4 coats of gloss varnish, sanding between coat, to get a piano finish. For a shorter process piano finish, coat 2 coats satin, and one coat gloss. Satin varnish is best if no more then 2 or 3 coats is applied. Should take you no more the 3 days to a week in a dustless room.

seforman, it would be more helpful to say what the type of wood you are trying to stain. Hard or soft pine. Birch and birch plywood is the best for staining. Come out beautiful.
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remote guy
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If you are looking for a deep finish you may want to look at dyes :

http://www.homesteadfinishingproducts.co......Tint.htm

Here is a piece I am finishing up for a customer. I used Trans Tint dye over oak.

Just be sure to wear rubber gloves while applying the dye!

Image


Image


Nick
seforeman
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Very nice. Love the color. Thank you all for your suggestions. I have been using the polyshades products (outside of the fore mentioned Dark Walnut), and I think that is the problem. Michael hit the nail on the head. Those seems to sit on top of the wood (and not really - stain the wood). I think am going to try the Minwax waterbased stains (no poly). And then apply a separate layer of poly on top. I wound up using the Dark Walnut for this table and stool for my sword box. Will be posting pics soon of the finished product.

Stuart
Stuart Foreman
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The first question I would like to know is which type of Walnut did you use air or kiln dried. Naturally air dried walnut looks much better. In fact you can apply varnish 40% to 60% mineral spirits and after a half dozen coats it will start to look amazing without having to color the wood with stain. The technique for application is simple whip on an whip off after a few seconds. By repeating this process you will get a perfect finish. If you want a glass look lightly sand the last coat and apply a new coat that is not wiped off. It will look like glass.

Sometimes using this old finish you will not need to sand in between coats depending on how good your surface is before you start. Just remember to use a dust and lint free rag.
magicbymccauley
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I rock the dark walnut for my escapes and illusions. It had the most consistent color, the lighter minwax colors are inconsistant.
If you are only doing a single piece its okay but if you want plywood pine and hatdwoods all to match dark walnut us the way to go.
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seforeman
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Sorry Guys, its Walnut stain on Pine (not Walnut wood itself). I made a toolbox once from Black Walnut. Over 100 handcut dovetails, but I failed to notice the split in the bottom piece. Put a heavy tool in, lifted the box, and the bottom gave way (UGH!). Should have used glued smaller pieces instead of a larger 12" X 1/2" board.

Stuart
Stuart Foreman
AGMagic
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One other thought on the lighter stains, if you sand the wood too smooth before staining there is nothing for the stain to adhere to or soak into. If you are sanding with finer than 120 or 220 grit that may be the problem.
Tim Silver - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Magic-Woodshop/122578214436546

I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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manal
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Has anyone mentioned using sanding sealers Prior to stainging for a more uniform result?
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seforeman
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I did use a sealer prior to my tests. I still think Michael was correct, I was using poly shades, which is a polyurethane that is tinted, and its not stain.

Stu
Stuart Foreman
Michael Baker
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Sealers can be used, but it is a tricky thing. They must be quite thinned and the surface later sanded to expose an even layer of bare wood. Too much sealer and it prevents the stain from soaking into the pores at all.

There are many books that deal with wood finishing, as well as a number of useful websites. Study all that info, find what most people seem to agree on and start experimenting with scrap wood and various staining techniques until you find your own center. Working blindly on a project you'd rather not screw up is playing Russian Roulette with your time and wallet.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
manal
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Quote:
On 2013-01-30 22:31, Michael Baker wrote:
Sealers can be used, but it is a tricky thing. They must be quite thinned and the surface later sanded to expose an even layer of bare wood. Too much sealer and it prevents the stain from soaking into the pores at all.

There are many books that deal with wood finishing, as well as a number of useful websites. Study all that info, find what most people seem to agree on and start experimenting with scrap wood and various staining techniques until you find your own center. Working blindly on a project you'd rather not screw up is playing Russian Roulette with your time and wallet.

Good advice!
Life is too important to take seriously.

james@jamesmanalli.com

www.jamesmanalli.com
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