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Thread: Creating an aged maple finish

  1. #1
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    Creating an aged maple finish

    This is a follow up to an earlier post about how to create an aged maple finish on a table I'm making of maple and mahogany. Based on the input I got in that post I tried several approaches.

    - Waterlox OSF by itself does a pretty good job of giving maple an aged look. The think I didn't like about it is how thin it is and how shiny it is. I applied 4 coats and it would benefit from more. I know it's supposed to get less glossy as it fully cures, but I can't wait months until I ship it to the customer, and I don't want to rub out the entire table. So it's out.

    - Arm-R-Seal over amber shellac is lighter than Waterlox and falls a little short of being "aged" maple. Of course, I could add some Transtint dye to the shellac to give it more of an aged look, and that may be an option, but if I'm going to use dye I'd rather just use it separately and spray a WB topcoat.

    - Several dye options that give degrees of an aged maple look, both on yellow side and on the more neutral or reddish side of the spectrum. Of course, the finish you put on top has a major impact on the final color. I discounted Waterlox because of the reasons cited above. I also eliminated ARS, for now, and also EM-8000CV because of how yellow it made everything look. I suspect the EM-8000 I have might have been a bad batch, since others report it's milky in the can and clear after drying. Mine's not, and I'm not going to buy another gallon just to find out. So I focused on EnduroVar and Minwax Oil Modified Poly. EnduroVar pushes the final color towards red. Minwax has a more neutral effect, just slightly towards red.

    Here are photos of some of the more than 50 samples I made. All were sanded to 220 grit. I used DNA with the TT dye. I did not raise the grain first. I scuff sanded with 325 grit between finish coats. I applied the Waterlox and ARS with a rag, and the WB's with a foam brush. Everything got three finish coats except the Waterlox which got 4.

    On the yellow side:


    Waterlox, rubbed out at the bottom:



    ARS over amber shellac:



    TT Golden Brown + Honey Amber, Minwax topcoat:



    TT higher Golden Brown + Honey Amber - Minwax:



    TT Dark Vintage Maple - Minwax:




    On the neutral to red side:

    Less TT Dark Vintage Maple - Minwax:




    TT Brown Mahogany - Minwax:



    TT Dark Vintage Maple - EnduroVar gloss, bottom rubbed out:




    TT Golden Brown - Minwax:




    I will send most of these samples to my customer for her to choose from.

    John
    Last edited by John TenEyck; 04-02-2024 at 9:16 PM.

  2. #2
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    I did some additional work to try to make the maple darker while having minimal impact on the mahogany. Dye alone didn't work, but I found that using a toner over the dye did. For example, here is a sample made with dye followed by 3 coats of my topcoat:



    Here is a sample that started the same as above, but I added a toner after the first finish coat, followed by a second clearcoat, for the same total of three.



    The mahogany hardly changed while the maple got a lot deeper in color.

    John

  3. #3
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    Natural MinWax wood stain has a very similar affect. A little raw umber or burnt umber artists oil color mixed in amplifies the effect.
    Last edited by Maurice Mcmurry; 04-05-2024 at 8:32 PM.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  4. #4
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    How big of a board will you need in the end? Does it for in your oven?

    I "accidentally" torrefied some maple in my oven while drying it at 350f overnight wrapped tight in foil and it looks amazing. If your pieces will fit it might be worth a shot.

    Careful about that whole burning the house down thing though

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maurice Mcmurry View Post
    Natural MinWax wood stain has a very similar affect. A little raw umber or burnt umber artists oil color mixed in amplifies the effect.
    With the close grained maple John is using, pigments are not the best thing because they can get no grip. Hence, using dye. Minwax stains are pigment focused...great in open pore woods, but often disappointing in close grain species. The dye is also fine with open grain like the mahogany that is the majority of the wood in John's project.
    --

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

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    This is what I'll be finishing:



    I sent the 5 following sample sets off to my customer yesterday. Hopefully, she'll like one of them or at least give me some direction to pursue.







    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    With the close grained maple John is using, pigments are not the best thing because they can get no grip. Hence, using dye. Minwax stains are pigment focused...great in open pore woods, but often disappointing in close grain species. The dye is also fine with open grain like the mahogany that is the majority of the wood in John's project.
    I will post some images of my vintage amber maple done with plain old wood stain.
    Best Regards, Maurice

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maurice Mcmurry View Post
    I will post some images of my vintage amber maple done with plain old wood stain.
    I look forward to seeing them Maurice. I'm always interested in learning new things.

    I've used glazes before and I'm wondering if that's how you are using the neutral base and added pigments.

    Thanks.

    John

  9. #9
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    You are certainly going the extra mile to get the colors just right. That is a beautiful table so the stakes are high. The maple and mahogany items I have made are maple on the front and mahogany on the back. My technique may be a bust.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  10. #10
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    Left to right, 1= Golden Oak + artists paint not wiped, 2= natural minwax + oil paint, 3= G.O. home-brew wiped, 4= 2 coats natural minx not wiped, 5= 1 coat N.M. not wiped, 6= 1x N.M. slow wipe, 7=1x N.M. quick wipe. No varnish on any yet. When I stain Maple I sand no finer Than 180.

    IMG_1944.jpg
    --1---2-----3----4---5---6---7

    IMG_1945.jpg
    Last edited by Maurice Mcmurry; 04-07-2024 at 1:25 PM. Reason: natural light image

  11. #11
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    That was very thoughtful of you, Maurice, to actual show those on both mahogany and maple. I really appreciate your efforts. Were those photos taken right after you did the testing or after they were thoroughly dry? Would you be willing to put some varnish on them to see how they change?

    John

  12. #12
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    They were not thoroughly dry. They are after 3 hours near a fan. I will try some varnishes later.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  13. #13
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    Lot of useful information here. Maybe think about making this thread a sticky.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    some varnish

    John
    Here are image of a very poorly applied coat of polycrylic down the middle of the maple and along the edge of the mahogany, then side by side. I will add oil varnish and natural light later in the week.

    IMG_1946.jpg IMG_1950.jpg
    Last edited by Maurice Mcmurry; 04-08-2024 at 10:13 PM.

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