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water base stains on figured maple- best?

Greg Aanes  Member


We have some figured soft maple barstools to stain in a typical maple stain color, not used to staining can anyone recommend the best looking stain? We want the figuring to pop out crisply and I have heard water based stain is best

12/8/14       #2: water base stains on figured maple- ...
Leo G

Use dyes. What I like to do is to dye it, then sand to remove the dye in the harder parts of the wood. Dye it again. You can do this several times and the softer grain will absorb more of the dye.

Stain with pigments will block the nice graining effects.

12/8/14       #3: water base stains on figured maple- ...
rich c.

Yup, dyes. Too many folks complain about blotching with stains, buy a lot of them are using Minwax too!

12/9/14       #4: water base stains on figured maple- ...
Bill Richardson  Member


I agree with dyes, its the only way I've found to accentuate the subtle grain of maple without the blotching.

Water based dyes will raise the grain. Either wet the maple first and sand the fuzz or use the dye and then sand. Alcohol based dyes will raise the grain less and give a deeper color.

We use spray on no wipe dyes from Valspar. You can spay the finish in 20 minutes.

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12/9/14       #5: water base stains on figured maple- ...
Greg Aanes

We would want to use a wipe on wipe off dye, barstools are difficult to spray stain because of all the parts, so any ideas on a wipe on dye?

12/10/14       #6: water base stains on figured maple- ...
rich c.

You could look at Solar-Lux and their retarder. It will give you more time before drying. Flood it on with a lambs wool pad, or pad painter, then wipe like CRAZY!

12/10/14       #7: water base stains on figured maple- ...
Leo G

Get a clear stain base and pour the dye into it. Remember most dyes are mixed with a fast evaporative. Maybe your supplier can mix it up for you. The main thin is to not use pigments in your mixture.

12/10/14       #8: water base stains on figured maple- ...
Jim Conklin  Member


Lockwood is making metalized water soluble dyes in addition to their standard line of water aniline dyes - plenty of working time.

Thin to desired intensity, spray on and rag wipe the drool.

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12/12/14       #9: water base stains on figured maple- ...

It isn't that you can't use pigments it's just that you need to use the right pigments. Stay away from the earth tones like burnt umber, raw sienna and such. These pigments aren't ground very fine and have a muddy look to them especially if they are not wiped. There are some pigments that are ground more and have SOME dye properties. You will need to ask your finishing supplier which ones. It will help if the color isn't dark also.

12/16/14       #10: water base stains on figured maple- ...

Try using/spraying aniline dyes with acetone instead of water. Doesn't raise the grain and if using dilute stain can repeat instantly to build precise color desired as acetone flashes off immediately.

12/16/14       #11: water base stains on figured maple- ...
Greg Aanes

Excellent info Scott. Do you have a favorite supplier for aniline colors?

Acetone, can we use alchohol? The acetone scares me because of the speed of evaporation, these are barstools and there are lots of details, legs meeting seat, four stretchers, etc.

12/16/14       #12: water base stains on figured maple- ...
Bill Richardson  Member


Transtint dyes can be mixed with alcohol. Denatured alcohol is a good choice that doesn't raise the grain.

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