Maple Veneer


From original questioner:

Having some troubles when staining maple veneer. Drastic differences in color between the different leafs of wood used to make the veneer. Very stripped look. Is this a common maple veneer issue or is it a veneer quality issue, etc.?

From contributor Ro

Its not the quality of the veneer but the quality in the way the finish is being applied.

From contributor ru

Robert, care to explain a little more? Everything is sanded to 150# then stained with a wiping stain. To combat the different leaf colors I would have to tone each individual leaf in order to make it blend better.

From contributor Ro

If you proceeded in making your color sample with a wiping stain, and the project is coming out the same way as your sample looks I don't understand your question. Can you be more specific as to the difference between your approved sample and the project your now working on.

From contributor ru

An example is the side of a cabinet is cut from one piece of material. That one piece of veneer is made up of several slices or leafs of maple put together to make a complete sheet of veneer. Each of those slices/leafs turn a different shade when they are stained. One leaf matches the sample perfectly while the adjacent one is two shades lighter.

From contributor Ro

Well then...tone the leafs that are two shades lighter. Welcome to staining Maple with a wiping stain ;-).

From contributor ru

True but an entire kitchen like this? I don't think it is the budget to sit and tone every piece. Would a spray stain be better? Does all maple veneer do this? Some of the pieces look great, so I tend to believe it's a veneer issue.

From contributor Ro

You have book matched veneer. Perhaps a rotary cut veneer would have been better ( maybe). With that said, the way to get all leafs to match each other is to tone them.

You didn't mention exactly what brand/type/ of wiping stain you used. It is possible to make a toning stain out of your wiping stain so you can spray the lighter leaves to match the darker ones.

You can also get a dye stain that matches your wiping stain and it can also be sprayed on.

What sealers and topcoats are you using, water based or solvent?

Regardless of the " budget" factor if you want everything to match it will take time ( labor ) and money ( material + labor ).
When I make a sample, I make one out of the same material as will be used on the job and I usually make a LARGE sample so it gives me a clearer perception of what to expect as I proceed with the entire project.

This also gives the person paying for the job an idea on what to expect when all is said and done.

From contributor ru

I completely agree with you Robert, and I can make a toner with this stain(lacquer based). However since it would be sprayed then I would have to mask off every other leaf on a sheet of veneer so as not to over spray and darken the ones that are already correct. A couple of doors would be fine but on 75% of a kitchen this would take way too long.
The issue I have is that I complain to management about these issues when we start the job and they say don't worry too much about it.Then when it is finished they get upset at me that I didn't fix it.

From contributor Ke

ive had to fight with this in the past. a couple of things worked well for me. First thhing i always try is to use a clear stain base on all the wood first. sherwin williams S64 T8 is what i used to use. After sanding, wipe it with the clear. Allow that to dry. Then wipe on your stain. It will be much more uniform. But it will be a little lighter. Therefore you need to either intensify the color a bit or tone using dye stain. This has worked very well for me. The other option is to pis coat it with diluted sealer. Again you will have to tone, but you will get a much more uniform color.

From contributor Ke

if youve already got the items stained, you can tone without masking off... or atleast i can.. . a little finese and a quality gun goes a long way

From contributor Le

It's not necessarily the problem with the staining, more of the problem the way the flitches were laid. It is likely bookmatched which means you have the front and the back of the flitches next to one another. They absorb stain differently.

Conditioning and toning is the usual remedy to alleviate this issue.

From contributor Ro

Instead of taping off every other leaf, you can use a shield. Get yourself a piece of p-lam and cover up the leaf you don't want to tone. Proceed with toning.

I know its a pain in the buttocks but since management specifically told you not to worry about it too yourself a favor and DONT.

As far as what you could have done or should have done or might have done...its all in past. Your faced with an issue, a current issue, so adapt and overcome.

You expressed your concerns to management prior to proceeding with the project and they choose to ignore your concerns. That's managements problem Rusty..not yours.

From contributor D

Rusty ,What grade of Maple plywood you start out with will dictate the outcome as far as color and looks .
You can use whole piece face and there are no seams rotary cut one piece .
Sounds like you have multi piece face almost camp run not select could be plain sliced or book matched but even with the sliced faces you may notice some chaytoyance or the way the light is reflected in the reversing slices makes for a barber pole effect .

From contributor Jo

That effect is called "barber-pole" and is inherent (although not consistent) in plain-sliced Maple veneer. When you "book-match" veneer leaves, turning one up and the next over, you expose the "tight-side" of one leaf of veneer and the "loose-side" of the next. (Tight-side and loose-side are made as the knife slices through the log during the veneer manufacturing process and can't be eliminated.) The tight-side takes stain differently than the loose-side. As you would expect, the loose-side absorbs more stain and thus comes out darker.

The best way to eliminate barber pole is going with "slip-matched" veneer instead of "book-matched". Other issues might arise (sharp color contrasts at the veneer joints) but it will get rid of the barber pole.

Just so you know, rotary Maple also has a tight-side and loose-side and will have the same issue unless you use "whole piece face" which has no splicing joint lines.

From contributor Ji

John S has got it right as to the why.

From contributor To

John S. is correct and I have also heard is call 'back knife checking' which is prone in lighter colored book matched lay-ups in any type of cut, rift through rotary. That is why you will find cherry slip match as previously stated about maple. Toning only way out, but have seen in production where there is multi sequence toner steps samples to mud out everything instead of wiping stain. Best of luck.