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Staining Oak

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  • Staining Oak

    Alright you woodworking gurus.
    I am building Floor to ceiling Oak Bookcases.
    The cases will be Oak plywood and the faces will be solid red Oak. In the past I've built things with Pine and stained it with an Oak or Walnut stain to resemble the more expensive wood.
    But with this Oak I really don't want to change the color. I just want to bring out the grain and give it that nice rich look. I think will probably finish up with a coat of polyurethane for a semi glossy look. Any suggestions?

  • #2
    Do a test piece on scrap with just finish. No rule says the piece has to be stained at all. Humorously, more than one manufacturer makes a stain called "natural".



    • #3

      Since you want the oak to look like Oak (!) this is the finish I would use.

      I would flood the wood with BLO. After that had dried for @ a week, I would use a blonde of platina shellac. 6 #1 cuts should do it. This will give you a wonderful warm bookcase.
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      • #4
        have to tell you i just finished a dressed using oak ply and red oak frames and am more than a little disapointed in the oil based finish i used it worked great on the solid oak but really "pulled the grain" (for lack of a better term) on the ply Ifinished the inside with waterbased polly and that blended really well but had to use oil on the outside to match a crib I'd built previously.the customer thinks it looks great but i'm just not crazy about it (wife says i'm my own worst critic anyway) bill


        • #5
          Bill, like so many of us, your a perfectionist. Don't let others "that's good enough for me" spoil you drive for your work to be the best it can be. When your work then is compared to others, you will sit at top of the pyramid of quality of workmanship.

          Because the way ply wood is sliced, and made, it's my personal experience that determines nothing short of a at least a thin sealer coat is required. This allows total control over the finished produce.

          I used sanding sealer for years on my model rockets. It adds weight, and shorten flights true. But on the launch pad, when the crowd is around your rocket, you sit with a smile while others have a smug look.
          John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a>


          • #6
            UO thanks for the advice/ encouragement. now I'v heard other people talk about sanding sealers etc. but hav'nt had much experience w/ them ( hardware guys say aw thats a waste of time or this product seals itself) so if i can pick your brain alittle how about a primer on useing them thanks in advance bill


            • #7
              Here is an article on using Shellac. It is also a real good sanding sealer.

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              • #8
                Have made a lot of projects with combo of red oak ply' and solid.

                First, be careful in selecting your plywood---stuff with a lot of cathedral grain really ends up looking like garbage.

                If you do stain, you can also control stain absorbtion (how dark it gets) by sanding with different grits on different materials. For example, if you go down to 220 on the ply' and 150 on the solid, you stand a better chance of matching the two materials, with a light stain.

                Personally, I've found Minwax's Golden Oak give a very warm look to red oak, but have also done several projects with no stain----as was said, do some test strips, but don't forget to sand them with the grits you'd use for your project, as well as other prep alternatives.