Achieving an "Espresso" Finish

Tips on sneaking up on a dark brown "black coffee" look. December 2, 2009

Iím looking for advice on a schedule to replicate the popular deep brown - almost black "Espresso" finish. The finish I'll be topcoating with will be MLC's Duravar or MagaMax. The piece will be an old kitchen table of birch Ė non-descript grain. Can anyone advise?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor T:
Don't know where you are but Wurth Wood Group has several examples of this finish with steps included.

From contributor X:
I use cherry because it gets dark pretty quick. I first dye the wood with dark walnut microtone, and then spray and wipe with American walnut. Then I finish darkening to the desired shade with dark walnut microtone (mixed with thinner and vinyl sealer).After that, I begin sealing with whatever clears I am using on the job at the time. This is probably the quickest and simplest system I have used for a dark expresso color. All the products I was referring to were ML Campbell products.

From contributor W:
To contributor X: my plans werenít too far from your suggestion. Seal, dye dark with reddish brown, seal, glaze with Van Dyke, top coat with a touch of black dye added if needed. Thanks for your suggestion - I'll use all the advice I can get!

From contributor F:
I believe that General Finishes makes a waterbased stain called "Espresso". It may be possible to get the desired color in one step.

From contributor P:
I wouldnít seal the wood first. Stain, mist coat, seal and top coat.

From contributor T:
I have done exactly what contributor X has suggested many times and it is a really good look.

From the original questioner:
I ended up going with the MLC microtone and stain as suggested. Iím finishing up fairly extensive repair and prep work this week. Hopefully I will be able to present samples by the end of week and complete next week. Thanks for all of the help and advice - much appreciated.