Do I need a washcoat if I am using dye stain/and or toner to achieve a dark/medium brown color on maple? If so, what? The toner idea seems to be what I need to do. I would appreciate any help.
If you spray the dye only on the wood, you should not use a washcoat. If you mix the dye with some reduced finish to make a toner, I prefer to spray over a sealer coat. I think you get a more uniform color as there is no opportunity for the dye to get absorbed into the latewood or other endgrain fibers.
This works well on cherry, maple and birch. Do this to your samples, then work up your color. Let it dry for an hour before you move forward with dye, stain, etc. This method will minimize shading, making for a crisper, cleaner finish. Works for me every time.
Is there no color in the grain? If not, this is how I would finish it. Step 1: Sand panel with 180 grit sandpaper. Step 2 : Spray a light coat of vinyl sealer cut 50% with acetone or lacquer thinner. Step 3: Lightly scuff with 220 grit after drying . Step 4: Spray toner with a mixture of 1 part color, 1 part vinyl, and 1 part lacquer thinner.