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  • Working with Oak

    I am in the process of making a fireplace cabinet out of Red Oak. I have Oak plywood and solid Oak as well. I read that it is best to apply a filler prior to staining the wood since it is very pourous (open grained). I would like to know if I have to use a filler on the solid wood and the plywood as well or just the solid wood? If only on the solid wood, will there be any difference in color compared to the ply?
    Any help on this would be great.

    The stain will be some sort of golden yellow. Probably miniwax stains or maybe Saman stain.

    Thanks.
    Are you Rapture ready? Know Jesus Christ or know his enemy!

  • #2
    The face of the oak ply IS oak. Whatever you do to the solid you will need to do to the ply to make them match. I personnaly think it is a crime to stain wood. Whatever finished color you want, there is a wood that will give it to you with just a clear coat from the lightest Birch to Ebony. MHO
    info for all: http://www.hoistman.com http://www.freeyabb.com/phpbb/index....wwtoolinfoforu --- "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."

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    • #3
      Thanks. Before I will decide to stain the wood I will find out for sure if their existing custom made furniture made of oak is stained or varnished, then I will match my mantels to their furniture.

      Have you worked with Oak before? Is it best that I get a filler or simply varnish the wood?
      Are you Rapture ready? Know Jesus Christ or know his enemy!

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      • #4
        I work a lot with Oak. I have a bunch of roughsawn oak i got at a great price. In addition, my windowsills are oak. We just got new replacement windows and as we go room by room to decorate I am refinishing all of the trim. Stripping it down and getting it nice and smooth and ready to go. If their are any nail holes that i can not get around, i drill them out with a small forstner bit and cut a plug out of oak to match the color grain pattern. Once flush sometimes you see small gaps etc. the technique i use and it is something i am experimenting with that seems to be working very well. There are many companies out there minwax included that claim to have a "stainable putty" have not found one that holds true to its title. yeah it accepts some stain, but it is always lighter than the rest of the piece and somewhat noticable.

        I do not know if you are familiar with Durham's Water Putty or not but this stuff is the wonder putty. It comes in a container and it is a powder. you mix it with water until it turns into a "putty" and use it as such. The beauty behind it is it is 100% sandable/scrapeable, etc. And it accepts stain much better than any other "stainable" puttty on the market. I swear by pratt and lambert's oil based stains, but for these applications i use Minwax Water based stain.

        I just did an experiment with a scrap piece of red oak. I took a chisel and put a pretty good gouge in it. then i mixed up a small batch of durham's using primarily water but once it got "too thick" i took an eye dropper and added some of the water based stain to the mix. it changed the color of the putty to that of the stain and i filled the gouge. matched perfectly. put a couple of coats on afterwards and it did absorb it so it is the same color. well naturally this was a gouge so their was no grain pattern and it is noticebale for that reason only. But if you do this to to the wood for the small holes/around the plugs BEFORE staining the wood and before you apply the pre stain conditioner for the water base, this ensures an even absorption of the stain. let dry and give it a final hit with the hand scraper or the 220/steel wool/etc whatever your preference. prior to the first coat the small areas are already the color you are going to stain the wood so the first coat blends. You can then go with as many coats as you like and your putty will absorb more of the stain and the color will appear near seamless.

        i am not saying it is 100% but 95-98% has been my experience. Much better than ANY of the other "stainable" putty's on the market today, and less expensive. Put the polycrylic water based sealent on and she looks beautiful.

        One thing I have yet to try is Mixing the putty completely with the stain. Even though it is water based, my fear is that it will end up too dark, and will not harden. I am going to try it on another scrap though.

        The cool thing about this putty is that it dries HARD and is totally sandable, shapable, etc.

        This is the technique i use, still experimenting a bit, but when i need it perfect, i use the above method until i find out the effect of merely using stain to mix with it.

        Hope this makes sense to you. Good Luck!
        \"A SHIP OF WAR IS THE BEST AMBASSADOR\"<br /><br />OLIVER CROMWELL

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        • #5
          I do use quite a bit of Red Oak, the only finish I use is wipe on poly. I have never used any kind of sealer.
          info for all: http://www.hoistman.com http://www.freeyabb.com/phpbb/index....wwtoolinfoforu --- "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."

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          • #6
            I usually like to stain it first, then use a color matching filler before final finish of poly or varnish. I like the Elmer's wood filler that comes in tubes. It says "stainable", but I buy the color that matches the wood after staining.

            No "stainable" filler is ever going to match correctly since all woods take stain differently. Sure it takes stain. But like what kind of wood? Pine? Oak? Maple?

            Jim

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            • #7
              I've used shellac on my last few oak projects to seal it. I've tried conditioner and it didn't do nearly as well as shellac. I used super blonde shellac at a 2lb cut.
              www.TheWoodCellar.com

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              • #8
                jim says

                No "stainable" filler is ever going to match correctly since all woods take stain differently. Sure it takes stain. But like what kind of wood? Pine? Oak? Maple?

                I agree 110%. The absolute best method I have discovered is to mix some of the minwax waterbased stain in to the durham's ti fill in the small gaps around plugs, repairs, etc. for larger repairs i mix sawdust in the mixture. this ensures a perfect match with the wood type and provides a solid workable material when dry. that allows me the ability to build it up a little higher and then with the old hand scraper/light sanding to blend in with the grain prior to the final coat!
                \"A SHIP OF WAR IS THE BEST AMBASSADOR\"<br /><br />OLIVER CROMWELL

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                • #9
                  space's way works well. I have also mixed some sawdust with woodworking glue to use as filler. Works better than any filler you can buy and is essentially free.
                  www.TheWoodCellar.com

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                  • #10
                    Now what about the fact that since Oak is a pourous wood, do I need to lay on some sort of primer? If so do I have to do it only if I stain the Oak or also if I only varnish it with a clear coat?
                    Are you Rapture ready? Know Jesus Christ or know his enemy!

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                    • #11
                      Mix sawdust with WW glue?

                      I have of that, but the glue part does not take stain the way normal wood does. In fact, the glue often is a completely different color.

                      What I have done is apply all my stains and then a few coats of finish. a light sanding and then a few more coats normally fills in quite a bit of the low stuff.

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                      • #12
                        Minwax makes a pre stain conditioner specifically for their water based stains. and NO i don't mix the sawdust with glue.....i mix it with the durhams water putty and the color of the water based stain i am using. best way i have encountered to fill those bigger patches with putty and have them least noticable!
                        \"A SHIP OF WAR IS THE BEST AMBASSADOR\"<br /><br />OLIVER CROMWELL

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                        • #13
                          Sawdust with glue, then shellac. Then stain. It works.
                          www.TheWoodCellar.com

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                          • #14
                            Spaceblues' Durhams is great stuff though it never worked well with oil stains---I'll have to try it with water based.

                            But back to the original question----I also work a lot with red oak and for a recent change switch to white oak---yeah, I know---Mr. Plain Vannila.

                            Anyway, I've never understood this grain filling desire. After all, you're working with wood---not plastic, so you're going to get little imperfections in the surface, though rubbing my fingers over my red oak office furniture, you can't feel many.

                            If you're going to use a stain, stay light unless you have a strong need for a dark stain. I've really liked the look of Minwax's Golden Oak stain. Doesn't mask the grain and is very warm looking.
                            Dave

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                            • #15
                              On a side note....and i have never seen this before...but yesterday i was at the bob picking up a few other items one of which just happened to be down the glue aisle. Elmers has a glue out there i guess that claims to be stainable.
                              \"A SHIP OF WAR IS THE BEST AMBASSADOR\"<br /><br />OLIVER CROMWELL

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