Maple Toners and Finishing

Techniques and options. February 26, 2005

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.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
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.

Explain what product is in washcoat and how it's applied. I'm having problems with blotching on bare wood and need some help.

I use a 50/50 sprayed on wash coat of fast dry reducer/clear stain solvent base. Wipe any puddles but try to spray it in the same manner you would spray a flash coat of sealer, spraying a 10% overlapping pattern.

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.

To the original questioner: Is the grain colored on the maple? If so, this is how I would finish it. Step 1: Sand with 180 grit sandpaper. Step 2: Spray with a mixture of 50% water and 50% methanol. Step 3: Let dry. Step 4: You can use a dye stain via spray or a wiping stain.

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.

Step 5: Lightly apply top coat of desired sheen.

I would substitute denatured alcohol for the methanol in the 50/50 water/alcohol mix. The reason is that methanol is the most toxic of the alcohols and limiting its use by substitution is a good thing. The substitution works because the alcohol type is not critical except that methanol has a different flash time than denatured alcohol.