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Thread: first time using sapele

  1. #1
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    first time using sapele

    I have some QS sapele that I would like to darken up without effecting the rays / shimmer / ribbons, and I've never worked with it before. Any particular finishing techniques or suggestions I could benefit from?

    TIA
    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

  2. #2
    Treat it as you would mahogany.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  3. #3
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    Bill, how dark? Wipe a piece of scrap with mineral spirits; that's approximately what it will look like with clear coat. If that's not dark enough, then Transtint dye is your friend and works really well with Sapele. You can push the color any way you want. I've never used stain with Sapele and have no plans to do so for risk of masking the ribbon grain. I've used QS Sapele for several passage door projects. This is the inside of a house door where I had to match the color to the existing trim; Transtint and then GF's PreCat lacquer:



    The outside is a lot prettier IMO:



    That finish is Cetol Door and Window finish, mahogany.



    This might surprise you, but sometimes you have to start with a Transtint dye to match the underlying color of the wood you are trying to match. I know that's not the case, this time for you, but the principle is the same.



    Which gives you this on QS Sapele:



    After a coat of Sealcoat shellac and GF's EnduroVar it matched the aged mahogany in the house pretty well:







    Anyway, Transtint dye is my way of adjusting the color of Sapele.

    John

  4. #4
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    Sapele is wonderful to work with and I agree with the statement to work it like true mahogany for which it's a common substitute.

    This is sapele with Z-Poxy for grain fill and then untinted clear. (EM6000)



    This side is the same regimen except the clear was tinted darker and used like a toner. The grain is still very visible, but certainly doesn't stand out as much.



    You can see the contrast between the two here. (Note that these photos are just post-spraying and have not been leveled and rubbed out)

    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Carey View Post
    I have some QS sapele that I would like to darken up without effecting the rays / shimmer / ribbons, and I've never worked with it before. Any particular finishing techniques or suggestions I could benefit from?

    TIA
    I like to use an oil finish on sapele. This platter was finished with a BLO/poly/mineral spirits blend (home-made "danish" oil). It brought out the chatoyance nicely, but of course not possible to show effectively in a photograph. I've finished other sapele platters with different oil with similar satisfying results.

    platter_sapele_PC012791.jpg platterB_front.jpg

  6. #6
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    Well. no surprise here. Great advice (and some great looking woodwork). I'm making a box for the ashes of my daughters Chessie, who certainly had some chatoyance (thanks for the word John) if any dog ever did. Seems that transtint might be the way to go. Time to put on the white coat and funny glasses and do some experimenting.
    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

  7. #7
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    Not sure how dark you want to go, but as another point of reference, this is a guitar stand I did years ago finished with amber shellac. Itís a little washed out in the picture...the vertical piece is truer to the real color throughout. Sort of a carmel brown. Good luck and have fun experimenting.


    9CAE9921-BF30-45DB-8658-CFB35F429002.jpg

  8. #8
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    The Sapele is a great choice for your application, Bill...it just glows when the finish is complete!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #9
    on the right the customers 40 year old piece i had to match. On the left my match. Not much of a fan of sprayed on stains from some of what ive seen. Often I see its sprayed on and its also obscuring the grain and almost muddy looking.

    NGR stain, two seal coats sprayed, sanded one final coat, all 15 degree sheen just a pre cat as no wear application.


    P1330047.jpg
    Last edited by Warren Lake; 03-26-2020 at 1:50 AM.

  10. #10
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    That's a really good match, Warren!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
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    Which NGR stain (brand and color) did you use Warren?

    JOhn

  12. #12
    Toronto company called Goudey. I use Becker top coats, Years back when I looked at others wiping stains Goudeys stains were the best. It probably cost a bit more more but it was richer. I remember taking stir sticks out after stirring the wiping stains and there was some kind of colour stuff stuck on the sticks (chrome plated auto mixing sticks) on several of their different stains, whatever that was it was part of what made their stains richer. That Sapele was a Goudey NGR and it was sprayed two coats or three coats and likely reduced in half from memory. In that case there was no real build up to make it more opaque plus im way far back on NGR's (3-4 feet or more) with a reduced fan which gets wider as im far away.

    There is more orange peel in their finish than mine but in mine in that lower level light reflection I can see the flattening paste a bit, in the old days in Nitro would have been more clear.
    Last edited by Warren Lake; 03-27-2020 at 4:51 AM.

  13. #13
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    Thanks Warren. Never heard of Goudey, but I'm ignorant of many things according to my wife. That stuff must have a really slow flash rate if you can stand back 3 ft.

    By golly, here's Goudey: https://www.goudeymfg.com/goudey-stain-colours.html

    John

  14. #14
    they are not big like ML Cambell, Becker (which is Sherwin they own half the world) or Chemcraft or or. Around for a long time and one of the employees bought it and think still owns it. Not it flashes very fast.

    I have hand wiped it before and its a nightmare. I put something in to slow it down when i hand wiped or you will see a streak from every stroke. That finished part was sprayed. I learned NGR spray from an old guy and he was further back than that. Ive been up to six feet away with a pointed fan. Its more to do with getting it on very even. Have you noticed NGR is so so thin it almost pulses out of the gun. Im sure im usually abouit 4 feet more like you are misting it on to bring up the colour. Too close too much and its getting more opaque or you are seeing through it only not seeing through it. Ive seen enough jobs where final spray stains are there and its muddy and uneven. I know in the past ive done some many layer steps. It can drive you nuts as you need to do all the steps to know where you end up. If i did my layers to get a direction in NGR then did a wiping stain I liked that best and got most clarity, I just saw a differnt colour from the wiping stain but not cloudyness.

    The other old guy the one I knew the best said NGR stains are brash. It was a good comment, he was telling me to be careful with them in his way. He would have used the same brand the goudey stuff as there were known and well located for lots of shops in the toronto area. I was at a trade show and talked to a guy who was in finishing all his life. I had one of those conversations you have at a show where you get a guy who really knows his stuff. I switched to ML to work with him but stayed with Goudey stains. He got dicked around so he switched to Becker and I just followed him. Sadly he retired. I got in argument with a salesman owners asking questions, just repeating stuff who repeat stuff like a Parrot till finally I say how many pieces of furniture have you sprayed and get the non answer.

    Dont worry about the wife thing. Thats a whole big topic and likely no one who fully understands not even them. ILl take a look at the site. IM due for a drive down when the world returns to how it was.

  15. #15
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    I built some drawers for a cabinet at home out of Sapele a couple of years ago. I also wanted to darken them, so I padded on a couple of 2# shellac coats - using dark ruby shellac. As with mahogany, this pumped up the warmth of the wood while darkening it some. I ended up sanding/leveling the shellac, then rubbed out a couple of applications of wax using steel wool.

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