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Thread: Request advice on stain color to use on maple boards with dark and light areas

  1. #1

    Request advice on stain color to use on maple boards with dark and light areas

    Iím posting this on behalf of a friend who canít seem to get signed up for this forum. You folks are my best resource for finishing questions, so I / we are counting on you!

    She has bought two large and wide maple boards. She wants to build 2 console tables with pin legs and stain the wood in the lightest color, just to bring up the beauty of the variegation and the grain.

    Pictured also is a dining table she is already using; she would like the stain for the new pieces to coordinate. The fact that the wood is two different colors may affect the stain choice. It stumps me. I don't know what to suggest with that dark area of heartwood that comprises most of the board.

    She has bought Enduro var urethane for the top coat, as was recommended by the place where she bought the wood. I have not used that myself, so don't know how it would affect any stain chosen.

    Thanks for your suggestions!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Fairbanks AK
    How much extra wood is available to try finishes on? The easy option would be to try the dining table finish on a piece of the new stuff that spans heart and sap wood to see how it looks.

    Thank heavens you said “coordinate” and not “match.” Wise to ask this early in the process. Good luck and best wishes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    SE Michigan
    Iím far from a finishing expert, but recently worked with maple for a table top. IMO maple doesnít take stain well. Iíd look at dyes instead.
    As Scott mentioned, hopefully you have plenty of extra to experiment. Iíd probably first look at burnt sienna, raw sienna and raw umber. Mix it light at first and go darker if needed. You may even need to mix the dyes to get the color you like.

    And, as you may know, to get a true color test, the sample needs to be sanded, dyed, and top coated - just like you would with the finished piece. Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Those maple boards are never going to look like the table unless you bleach them first. Otherwise, the lightest it will be is with clearcoat, and that's going to be darker than the table. Ok, I'm wrong. You can create lighter colors by using what's known as the bleach tone process. It involves spraying a colored translucent product to simulate the effect of bleaching, then a glaze. Mohawk finishing makes the products. Never tried it.

    If I wanted it to look like the table, I'd get some white maple first. Then you can dye it to match, best done by spraying. Hand applied dyes tend to blotch on maple, as do stains. Spraying is really the only good option if you want uniform color.


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