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need help with staining an oak desk

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  • need help with staining an oak desk

    Hi. I am refinishing an oak desk. I've done all the preliminary steps (stripping, sanding, wood filler, and sanding sealant) and am having trouble with staining. I want a nice rich brown, but the desk doesn't seem to be absorbing any more color... Two coats of Mahogony gel stain, and one of Walnut gel stain. The only one that seemed to do anything was the first stain application. Is there something I should do? Leave the stain on longer than the recommended 3 minutes? (I am worried it might dry up). Or maybe try sanding inbetween applications? Even though the can says to just buff between applications with a rag?

    Or do I just need to be patient and keep applying stain? How many coats should it take? Should I be noticing a slight color change each time?

    Thank you for your help!!!

  • #2
    Re: need help with staining an oak desk

    Gel stain is a surface treatment, if you sand between coats you will be down to bare wood on the first swipe. Adding more coats will also obscure the grain. Pick a stain that gives you the colour you want on the first coat. I don't generally use a sanding sealer before gel stain as it is formulated to produce even coverage without a sealer. Oak is usually easy to stain evenly. The sealer may be causing the stain to go on lighter than normal.
    Also your seal coat (poly?) will deepen the colour

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    • #3
      Re: need help with staining an oak desk

      Since this is a refinish there's no telling how much sealer you actually have in the wood. You may have too much and that is why the oak is not taking the stain. I would resand using 150 grit as a max. Try some stain in a non visible area and see what happens. Being a refinish you may have to experiment as to darkness of stain and time left on. As was previously mentioned gel stain is a surface application and should not be sanded in between coats. Good luck on the refinish and let us know how it goes.

      Terry

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      • #4
        Re: need help with staining an oak desk

        Thank you! I will resand and try a dark stain to begin with and leave it on long. Also, how much will the poly deepen the color?

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        • #5
          Re: need help with staining an oak desk

          Depends on what you use as a top coat, best way to know for sure is test a spot

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          • #6
            Re: need help with staining an oak desk

            If it is an old desk with white OAK it was probly never stained in the first place it was probly fumed, with ammonina the ammonia works with the tannic acid in the wood, and turned it the golden brown that the arts and crafts furniture is noted for, the wood will have to free of varnishes and shellacs.

            http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworki....aspx?id=26969

            http://www.biochemj.org/bj/015/0477/0150477.pdf
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