is it possible to stain douglas fir dark? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 18 Old 11-20-2010, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy is it possible to stain douglas fir dark?

i recently hired a professional floor refinisher to sand and refinish the douglas fir floors in my 100+ year old house. i wanted them to be very dark so that they would match the downstairs as well as possible(oak with aniline dye)...he sanded, then wiped on an oil-based stain of some kind, which looked perfect. then he applied several coats of a high-gloss polyurethane, because he said hi-gloss would hold up better. he claims he sanded between coats, but almost immediately the polyurethane began peeling off in high traffic areas (within days). he did wait several days for the stain to dry first... he says that it isn't possible to stain doug fir very dark, and that the thick layer of stain is what made the poly peel. he also suggested that maybe it peeled because we later washed the floors with water, but it peeled right away, before any washing ever happened. i don't see any stain coming up at all, only the poly. i'm going to try and redo it with my dad, but he's never worked with fir, only harder woods, and i don't want the same thing to happen again. so my question is-is it possible to stain douglas fir very dark, and if so, how? what products/method? sorry for the long post! thanks!
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post #2 of 18 Old 11-20-2010, 01:17 PM
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Heff,
I think you answered your own question. If the old floor was stained with an aniline dye, why did the fellow you hired use an oil base stain? I would sand the floors again, making sure you get rid of the poly that's left, and cut through the stain. After vac'ing up everything, wipe the floor down with some thinner to make sure the wood is clean, and then use the aniline dye. Aniline dyes penetrate the wood and will make it dark. Practice somewhere where it doesn't show if you can, closet maybe?. After the dye dries, you can put whatever finish you want on. Just make sure you follow the directions to a T. I would find a knowledgeable paint store to get your products from, stay away from the big box help. Most don't know much. Good luck,
Mike Hawkins
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post #3 of 18 Old 11-20-2010, 01:51 PM
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Heff,
I think you answered your own question. If the old floor was stained with an aniline dye, why did the fellow you hired use an oil base stain? I would sand the floors again, making sure you get rid of the poly that's left, and cut through the stain. After vac'ing up everything, wipe the floor down with some thinner to make sure the wood is clean, and then use the aniline dye. Aniline dyes penetrate the wood and will make it dark. Practice somewhere where it doesn't show if you can, closet maybe?. After the dye dries, you can put whatever finish you want on. Just make sure you follow the directions to a T. I would find a knowledgeable paint store to get your products from, stay away from the big box help. Most don't know much. Good luck,
Mike Hawkins
As I read his post it was the downstairs, oak floor on which the aniline dye was used.

However, I think your suggestion is very good.

First however, I would pressure the "professional floor refinisher" to correct his bad job.

George
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post #4 of 18 Old 11-20-2010, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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thank you! the oak floor downstairs that i was trying to match was done with aniline. the doug fir had never been done at all as far as i know. before i put the color on, should i use a conditioner first to try and compensate for the porousness of the wood, so it doesn't look too uneven? sorry, i don't know much about this, so i hope i don't sound too dumb.
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post #5 of 18 Old 11-20-2010, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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yes, george c, the "professional" should redo it, and said he would, but frankly i'm a little scared that he's clueless. maybe if i could tell him exactly how i want it to be done, and what to use, it would be okay. thanks for your input!
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post #6 of 18 Old 11-20-2010, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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also, i have no attachment in particular to using an aniline, just want it to be dark and basically match the other floor, so if you guys think something else would be better, i'm open to those suggestions too.
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post #7 of 18 Old 11-20-2010, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by theheff View Post
yes, george c, the "professional" should redo it, and said he would, but frankly i'm a little scared that he's clueless. maybe if i could tell him exactly how i want it to be done, and what to use, it would be okay. thanks for your input!

A clueless "professional". Something about that doesn't make sense. Telling him what to use gets him off the hook. If there's a further problem, he could just say..."This is what you asked for".

I don't know how dark you want it, but properly prepared, the floor should not need a conditioner prior to the dye.










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post #8 of 18 Old 11-20-2010, 06:00 PM
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What brand stain?
What brand and type poly did he use, how long bettween coats did he wait to apply another, how many coats, did he screen sand bettween them?

I dont think you have an issue with the stain, I think it's in the poly and how it was applied.
The stain, I believe, can be saved if it's still the color you want. Just have to get the poly off and start over.

I cut it 3 times..... and it's still too short.

Dont go ninja'ing anybody that dont need no ninja'ing...
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post #9 of 18 Old 11-20-2010, 07:28 PM
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As I read his post it was the downstairs, oak floor on which the aniline dye was used.
George
Hi George,
I did understand that the floor he was trying to match was the one stained with the aniline, I probably didn't word the post clearly.

I did a heartland pine floor not too long ago in a house built in the 1800's. The h/pine was new unfinished wood I put down in the kitchen. The owner wanted it as close as possible to the existing pine floors which were 150 years old. I used a water based dye from Transtint. I mixed several colors together and made about a dozen samples and the owner picked one out. The dyes go on easy, penetrate and color the wood a lot more evenly than an oil based stain does. And lastly, they actually highlight the grain instead of clogging it up with pigment. I agree with cabbie, if the floors are sanded properly and cleaned, no conditioner is necessary.
Mike Hawkins
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post #10 of 18 Old 11-20-2010, 08:15 PM
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Mike, I was told dye will fade faster than a pigmented stain. What's your experience been?
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post #11 of 18 Old 11-20-2010, 09:20 PM
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"A clueless "professional". Something about that doesn't make sense. Telling him what to use gets him off the hook. If there's a further problem, he could just say..."This is what you asked for". "

Absolutely. If you tell him how to do the job he is off the hook.

G
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post #12 of 18 Old 11-20-2010, 10:01 PM
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I'm a long ways from being a painter or a refinisher (but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once) and I believe that it was probably not a good idea to put the poly on top of an oil before a very long drying period. Feel free to call me stupid guys.
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post #13 of 18 Old 11-21-2010, 12:56 AM
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Heff,
I've been thinking about the problem for awhile.

And, taking the wildest of WAGs...

Is it possible that the stain was not wiped off? I'm thinking that perhaps the pigment of the stain that didn't penetrate is just sitting on the surface of the floor. When the poly was applied the pigment was not penetrated by the poly and there was almost no adhesion.

As I said just a WAG.

The more that I think about it, a floor is a large area and would be difficult to wipe stain off. We as woodworkers tend to work in much smaller areas and can wipe the stain off much easier.

Use the right tool for the job.

Rich (Tilting right)
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post #14 of 18 Old 11-21-2010, 12:49 PM
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doesnt sound like a pro to me. i never let the customer tell me how to do the job!!
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post #15 of 18 Old 11-21-2010, 11:24 PM
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Sketel,
I have just started using the dyes this last year, so I don't have long term results to tell you about. The floor I did almost a year ago still looks the same. I would think fading would be based on how much direct sunlight hits it. It does penetrate into the wood more so than oil based, so I guess time will tell.

Rich,
I have stained large amounts of wood by hand, and it's not a big deal to wipe it off, just have plenty of rags. The walls in my shop are all knotty pine and I stained them. I just did an area so far, wiped it off and kept going.
Mike Hawkins
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post #16 of 18 Old 11-22-2010, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by firehawkmph View Post
Rich,
I have stained large amounts of wood by hand, and it's not a big deal to wipe it off, just have plenty of rags. The walls in my shop are all knotty pine and I stained them. I just did an area so far, wiped it off and kept going.
Mike Hawkins
But Mike, you knew what you were doing.

Use the right tool for the job.

Rich (Tilting right)
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post #17 of 18 Old 11-22-2010, 08:04 PM
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Is it possible water based poly was used after oil based stain?
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post #18 of 18 Old 11-22-2010, 08:14 PM
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a clueless "professional". Something about that doesn't make sense..
+1



`
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Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
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Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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