Mahogany - Filling Pores and Staining - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-17-2010, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Mahogany - Filling Pores and Staining

I have been experimenting with mahogany and am having trouble. My reference has been an article in Fine Woodworking.

My first process was: dying with transtint (dark), sealing with a 1# cut of shelac, then filling pore with a natural filler (Behlen). When I saw the filler left the pores white, I started over but used the transtint dye to color the fillers as well.

In both cases, sanding (220 or 320) after the fillers left me back at the natural color of the mahogany in terms of color; pores very dark on one, white on the other. So I stained again with transtint and noticed the white pores turned dark. From there, I applied a 2# coat of shellac. It seems as if I've arrived in the same place via two slightly different processes.

So my question is: why bother with the first steps of dying and a sealer coat of shellac? It seems much easier to just use fillers as step 1, then dye, then apply a 2# cut of shellac, then go for the top coat(s). Any thoughts / opinions?
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-17-2010, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tquinci View Post

So my question is: why bother with the first steps of dying and a sealer coat of shellac? It seems much easier to just use fillers as step 1, then dye, then apply a 2# cut of shellac, then go for the top coat(s). Any thoughts / opinions?

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You might find that just using the grain filler, and then stain or dye, you could skip the shellac.






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post #3 of 6 Old 01-17-2010, 05:31 PM
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You could use a grain filler from Crystalac that is completely claer and can be applied over stain with out changing the color.

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post #4 of 6 Old 01-17-2010, 06:14 PM
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Dave's idea is a good one with the Crystalac. And I know that Cabinetman doesn't really care for shellac (he must be a youngster compared to me ). Really, once you stain.... and whether you use a dye stain or penetrating oil stain, it won't make a whole lot of difference when it comes to the grain filler.... using a seal coat or sanding sealer of shellac prior to finish coating is simply a preference. I love using a couple of coats of a 2# cut of de-waxed shellac and denatured alcohol as a sealer prior to my finish coats. I find that it makes my staining job look a lot nicer, gives depth to the grain and is a nice "quick" build (I can do two coats in less than an hour) prior to any final finish coats. Plus, absolutely anything can be top coated over de-waxed shellac. Oil varnish, polyurethane, polyacrylic, water based finishes, lacquer.... absolutely everything will work just fine as long as it's de-waxed.

However, using shellac isn't for everyone.... it's a learned experience which takes some practice.

Last edited by JW_in_Indy; 01-18-2010 at 09:06 AM.
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-17-2010, 06:57 PM
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Your problem is that you are using a natural filler. What you need is a dark mahogany or even black paste filler. Natural filler is for filling the pores in a light colored wood like oak, ash or birch. It is not intended for use on a dark stained piece unless you really like that contrast.

The reason you use dye stain first and then a wash coat of sealer (it doesn't have to be shellac you can make a wash coat of whatever sealer you are using) is to prevent a problem called "grey pore". This can occur when an oil based paste filler is used on raw wood. The filler dries out and the pores turn grey after a few months. Most manufacturers of coatings will recommend a wash coat of sealer before filler for this reason.

Another good reason to seal first is it makes it MUCH easier to remove the filler from the surface. Anyone who has wiped filler off on a big job will know this. With the sealer method you can use a silk screeners squeegee or a urethane float and remove the excess in seconds. Good luck! I hope this helps.
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-18-2010, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the suggestions.
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