Dye Coverage and Oak Pores

Oak pores sometimes do not take stain or dye well. Here's some advice. December 6, 2011

I have been using Lockwood's brand water soluble dyes for about eight months. We have a standard set of stain colors and we also do some custom work as needed. The stain looks great when it is stained across a large panel, but when you look very closely at a small section you can see pores of the wood that did not take the stain. Does anyone have any recommendations on another brand? I would like to stay with water.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor R:
How are you applying the water stains? Oak especially can show the lack of stain in the pores but I find that moving the stain around with a sponge usually gets some color into them. Iíve had pretty good results by spraying and or rolling the stain on and then sponging it, and finally removing the excess with paper towels.

From the original questioner:
I have been spraying the stain. We do mainly very large conference tables. This is the main reason I don't wet and wipe the stain as you may with some other jobs. I simply spray the stain and let it dry. The problems also only exist in the darker stain colors that I have mixed up.

From contributor K:
Oak does often present the problem you mention. Ideally, water-based dyes should be applied heavily, and kept wet for a long enough time to soak in well, then wiped to remove the excess. A tinted coating could be used to kill the bright spots.