A "Mahogany" Stain for Oak

You can match the color, but not the grain. October 2, 2005

We have made a 12 ft. long, 18 in. deep, 42 in. high oak bar for a client. We are ready to start finishing. The problem is the client wants the oak to look like red mahogany! Does anyone out there know how we can accomplish this in a fairly easy manner?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
ML Campbell traditional mahogany ws2 s120. Get their stain studio selection chart. It will give you real wood color chips with item numbers and also explain exactly how to blend their stains and finishes if a particular color (also supplied) requires it.

I just built a mahogany table and I used their chart to get the color the client wanted. I would never have guessed to use Rich Cherry ws2 s128 to bring the mahogany to the color the client thought mahogany should be. So, you can take the chart with you and get him to pick the color off the chart. Then stain it to his liking. There are just too many different opinions as to what color mahogany is or should be.

What are you putting over the stain?

From Paul Snyder, forum technical advisor:
You can stain oak using a "red mahogany" color and it'll work just fine... but it won't look like mahogany wood. The grain is very different between the woods.

Oak stains well and there are many brands to choose from. For highlights in the wood, you can first use a dye on the oak and then use a pigmented wiping stain over it. Depending on the color dye you use and the brand of stain, there are an unlimited number of shades you can get in the mahogany color range.

Do a sample or three, the larger the better, and see what the customer likes. The picture below is of some "mahogany" color samples I made for a customer. They range from very dark to pretty light. I used an orange dye under one of the stains and toner over the last two (top section), which gave the customer extra choices.

The stains I used came from Chemcraft, Behlen, Minwax, and ML Campbell. Behlen has a couple different "mahogany" pigmented wiping stains.

Click here for full size image

A red dye followed by a red wiping stain will give you a consistent reddish look, or yellow dye followed by red or brown with feathered in crotch grain, or heart.