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Perry Schmidt
07-11-2003, 1:23 AM
Past projects I've made have been pretty much pine or oak. I never had a jointer/planer til the last year or so, so I was at the mercy of the orange box for wood selection. But now, I can expland. So figured I'd try maple - I like the looks, never worked w/ it before. So I pick up some hard maple rough lumber and make a cabinet for our utility room.

Construction turned out very nice - was very happy w/ it. And w/ the exception of some dark spots in a couple boards it looked very good. Finished it w/ a medium stain - Minwax Golden Oak - to match a store bought sink cabinet. It stained and finished rather poorly IMHO. The stain soaked in almost like a soft wood in places giving it a blochiness that I didn't care for. So what did I do wrong??

This was my first hard maple project, and after thinking about it it occured to me that I've never seen maple finished w/ a medium stain. I've only seen really light to no stain, or a very dark stain.

So was that the problem - you just don't finish maple w/ a medium stain? Or should I have used a sealer first?? I thought that you didn't need a sealer w/ hard-woods. I've never needed one with oak, and never had this problem.

Any clues or help for future maple projects would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Perry

Bob Lasley
07-11-2003, 9:48 AM
Perry,

Because maple has such tight grain, pigment type stains don't soak into the wood, except where there is a spot with more open grain, as you found out. Try using dyes, such as TransTint or Transfast. There are other brands as well often marketed as aniline dyes. You should always make a habit of trying finishes on scrap left over from your project before tackling your project.

Good luck,
Bob

Bill Sampson
07-11-2003, 10:39 AM
Perry, I certainly am not a pro in finishing, but have found a way to finish maple to highlight the grain without blotching. Bob is correct that dye is effective with this wood. Prepping in my opinion is extremely important. When maple is prepared for finish, I wet the piece with distilled water, ( tap water will discolor the wood sometimes, I know,), lightly sand the raised grain and wet again, sanding again. Apply the dye; I prefer water base, but that may not be important. At that point the piece looks pretty bad, but it gets better. When the dye is completely dry, I sand lightly again. Then I apply two or three coats of oil,(General Finish or other quality oils). I have tried rubbing poly, gel varnish, but to really get the grain to POP, I french polish the piece. The grain comes alive with this process for me. There are many ways to finish wood and I make no claim to have the right answer, but this process works for me . Listen to the pros on this board, they can help you al lot. All the best in finishing your project. Bill Sampson, Richmond

Perry Schmidt
07-11-2003, 12:18 PM
Perry,

Because maple has such tight grain, pigment type stains don't soak into the wood, except where there is a spot with more open grain, as you found out. Try using dyes, such as TransTint or Transfast. There are other brands as well often marketed as aniline dyes. You should always make a habit of trying finishes on scrap left over from your project before tackling your project.

Good luck,
Bob

Thanks for all the suggestions so far. I've never used dyes before...guess I get to learn something new.

And actually I did try the stain on a small piece - turned out really nice! Guess it wasn't a big enough test piece. There aren't a lot of 'blotches' on the cabinet, but enough to at least irritate me. :(

Thanks again.

Perry

Lee Schierer
07-11-2003, 12:36 PM
If you use oil based stains, you can't beat MinWax Wood Conditioner on Maple. It totally eliminates the blotchyness and makes the color very even.

Joe Stallard
01-25-2006, 2:28 PM
I have made several projects with wormy chestnut and wormy oak. All but one table top were projects that would not be effected by food. I didn't see a need to fill the worm holes. The table top was different in that the open worm holes could become filled with food particles. The holes were dark, as was sap lines, white flour from a hole is really noticable.:eek: For the table top, I made filler from the sanding dust from the top...mixed with pine hardwood floor sealer (from Home Depot). I took a spatula and forced it into the holes. When the filler dried it sank into the holes, enough to still have the dark colors showing on the top of the worm holes. I used 3 layers of MinWax Honey pine finish, fine steel wooling between coats. My customer and I were satisfied with the finish. If your maple has a section of open pores and you can live with the color, you may want to build up the finish in that section prior to applying finish to the complete top. Your other option is to stain (dye) the top as the other craftsman have suggested. It depends on what finish you want to end up with. When in doubt, try the finishing method on cutoffs and scraps. Best of luck;)

Jerry Olexa
01-25-2006, 2:34 PM
IMHO, you'll have to use a dye. Stain does not work well on Maple. Worth switching...