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Minwax Stain

I need staining experts to chime in....I'm refinishing a kitchen table. It was a light honey oak color, I'm wanting it to be a very very dark brown. I sanded off all the color till it was bare wood, now I'm staining with the darkest stain I could find short of black, and the color is NO WHERE NEAR what I want. I'm beginning to think that it won't get any darker since now, every time I apply a coat of stain, it doesn't seem to change color at all.

I spoke with a guy who does woodworking as a hobby, he had pieces that he stained himself that are the color I'm looking for. He said to apply stain to the desired color, DO NOT wipe off the excess, and just let it dry. It'll take a week to dry, but it will dry and then I can polyurethane and I'll have my color.

This goes against everything I've heard about stain. Can anyone give me their opinion about it?

Thanks so much!! Melissa

Re: Minwax Stain

Although the directions say to wipe the stain off after a few minutes I have found that if you apply it with a good brush and leave on you will eventually get a deep rich color. It has taken me sometimes four coats to get there. And yes it does take forever to dry.

Hope this helps.

Re: Minwax Stain

I used one coat of mahagony Minniwax stain and the color is deep brown with just a hint of mahagony in it. Use foam brush to put it in, and use a pre-stain conditioner.

A. Spruce
Re: Minwax Stain

Question, were you using a standard "liquid" stain or were you using a gel stain or a poly/stain combo? Liquid stain will penetrate deeper, leaving a darker finish than either gel stains or the poly/stain combos. Poly stain combos have two problems, first is that MinWax poly's are garbage, second is that you're color remains suspended in the poly, it doesn't penetrate the wood. What that means is that if the finish chips or is damaged, the color goes with it.

Another issue could be your prep. Sanding to bare wood may have removed any lacquer or poly finish that came from the factory, however if it was stained, the stain may still have blocked the pores of the wood. More important is what finish grit you sanded the table with and whether or not you polished the table with the sanding process. If the surface was almost glossy after sanding, you've definitely sanded too much, actually burnishing the wood and preventing stain from penetrating. The cure is to resand the table with a more coarse grit. For projects such as this I would likely not go beyond a 150 grit paper. Something to keep in mind with sanding is that as you use the paper it dulls and fills with wood dust, effectively reducing the grit and causing a "polishing" effect more than a sanding effect. Cheap, off brand paper doesn't hold the grit as well as better quality papers, causing the same effect.

Re: Minwax Stain

What species of wood is this table made of?

Some species accept stain readily, others not much at all. Hard maple would be an example of the latter.

Leaving "pooled" stain on the surface will get it darker, but it'll also likely result in a smeary mess with a muddy grain-hiding appearance.

Dyes are a much better way to get "stain-resistant" woods darker without obscuring the grain.


Specifically, I would recommend the trans-tint liquid dyes. (If you buy some of this....do not snip the end of the bottle spout off. Pierce it with a very small needle instead. The stuff is as thin as alcohol and piercing will allow you to control things much better.)

Would suggest that you do all your experiments on the bottom side of the table.

As a matter of fact, there are all manner of approaches and products to achieve what you desire.

Do you have spray equipment,the necessary skills to use it and an appropriate place to spray ? If so, I can offer you some more options.

Re: Minwax Stain

You said you use Minwax Stain, if it is their stain/sealer additioal coats are not even reaching the wood.

If you just leave the eccess on as your friend sugested it woill most likely be washed off when you apply the finish unless you spay the finish.

I agree with Goldhiller, dyes would be much better in this case.

Re: Minwax Stain

Another method of getting a stain to penetrate deeper into the wood is to open the grain by wetting it down with distilled water. Wet the wood thoroughly and then let it dry. Then give the wood a light sanding with fine sandpaper to smooth the puckered up grain, then stain.

Water based stains will also often penetrate better than oil stains for the same reason - they open the grain.

For really dark stains, dye stains are probably your best bet. Dyes are usually in an alcohol solvent base and the pigments are physically much smaller than those in oil stains allowing them to penetrate deeper.

J Roper
Re: Minwax Stain

If all else fails, put some stain in the polyuerathane. If your looking for an almost black look, use MinWax ebony. Each coat you put on will make it darker. Being translusent, you will see some of the color you're putting on now. If you have already poly'd the piece and want it blacker, this will work also. If you are not set up to spray, be sure to use the softest natural bristle you can find. Also to prevent lap lines, thin the mixture a little so it does not feel sticky at all.
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