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Thread: Help Make Walnut Darker!

  1. #1

    Help Make Walnut Darker!

    I am refinishing a set of 4 dining chairs which I believe are made from walnut. I am using a Minwax Dark Walnut stain on them. 2 of the chairs I was able to get to the desired color, basically what is shown on the can of stain. The other 2 chairs I cannot get to go as dark. I did all of the same prep work on the chairs. I have even tried sanding the other 2 chairs again with a lower grit paper hoping it might absorb more stain but to no avail. I've put so many layers of stain on them and obviously they can no longer absorb anymore. I have also tried tinting some polyurethane with the stain and it really didn't do much of anything to darken it (I messed with the ratios of stain to poly, also didn't give any results). I went out and bought some of that polytint stuff, also really hasn't darkened it quite that much.

    I'm not sure what to do at this point. Maybe I should have used a dye instead of a stain to begin with? I know there are gel stains but I have also tried that and thought it looked awful. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 01-10-2019 at 9:58 AM. Reason: Changed to default font for readability.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Wayland, MA
    I find generally much greater success with dyes than oil stains, you can make them arbitrarily intense and add coats as needed while oil stains seem to be self-limiting in their absorption. Others here will have better advice as to what to do in your case, as I try to avoid stains whenever possible. It might be that spraying a shellac undercoat colored very dark with black and vey dark brown dyes will accomplish what you need.

    Something else you'll need to plan for is that walnut lightens, sometimes significantly, with exposure to light. I'm sitting next to a walnut trim strip I put into my floor as part of a picture frame border. Where it passes in front of a full wall window the walnut is now (6 years later) almost indistinguishable in tone from the maple on each side of it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    I would strip the two that you aren't satisfied with and then dye them close the desired color. Then apply your stain and finish as you did the two you like. This should give you something close to the look of the two already done.


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