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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really like the "cappuccino finish" that I see in a lot of contemporary Asian furniture. I would like to tackle this on a few small projects, however I cannot find any information about what it actually is. Is it paint, stain lacquer? I have come upon this wall, and cannot research any further without knowing what that finish is actually made of. Any help is appreciated :) Thanks.
 

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You mean a Japan finish?

I was stumped, thinking of Cappuccino as a light brown or tan color. The black laquer finish, or Japan finish as it's called, is traditionally applied by brush and takes years to master the technique. They have to apply just the right amount of laquer in just the right pattern to keep from disturbing the coats previously applied. As you may know, laquer disolves itself and will crinkle the underlying coats if applied a little to heavy.

I'm sure the piece in the photo is sprayed, and not the traditional Japan finish, but that's the look they're after.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks for the reply. I have read about the mastery of japanese lacquer, and I think you are right about it being sprayed. A lot of the imported stuff I see at places like pier1 could not have been too difficult to finish, or done by overly skilled people. So the black lacquer makes that dark brown finish? That would explain why I cannot find lacquer in that dark brown color. Does it just get darker depending on how many coats are applied? Would I be able to get a similar look by using something like a very dark gel stain? Thanks for helping out with my wood finishing ignorance.
 

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Dark brown? It looks black to me.

But okay, dark brown it is. I think jel stain is a good way to go. If you can't find it dark enough you could use a little black universal tint to get it darker. Of course, you should experiment on some scrap pieces till you get it the way you want. Just a tiny dab of tint will darken it a lot.

I'm hoping someone else will jump in here with more experience, as I share your wood finishing ignorance. I just experiment until I find a suitable formula. The color may be in the laquer for all I know, so don't take my word for anythign. Just offering my observations and limited experience. I only know about the Japan finish because I read about it somewhere a long time ago, but the closest I've ever come to working with laquer was from a spray can.

Oh and also, that's how I know it will crinkle. :whistling2:
 

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Harlanm,

I did this built in a few years ago in that finish and it had it's hidden problems for sure. I can only say it's no different than trying to keep the scratches or scuffs on a brand new black car from showing up..

The customer wanted the job done in mahogany so that's what I used (red) After a number of other type stains the one that finally came through with a beautiful deep dark brown tone was an Olympic stain called dark ebony. There was so much pigment in the bottom of those cans it actually looked like watered down dark brown paint. The plus side of that was that it was a one coat and done finish.

I top coated it with a satin poly and that's where the problems began. You see the large triple window in the picture? That light brought out every little flaw in the finish that couldn't be seen in the shop as I was building it. We're not talking huge flaws, but ones that would bother me. It took me a more time than I'd like to admit to touch-up that finish but it was a lesson learned.

The only other thing that would have given it that rich of a tone would be the dyes that cabinetman mentioned. Some times you luck out with the cheapo homecenter brands..:yes:

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the response guys. I think Ill get some scrap and try a few different methods. Happy New Year to you.
 

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Harlanm,

I did this built in a few years ago in that finish and it had it's hidden problems for sure. I can only say it's no different than trying to keep the scratches or scuffs on a brand new black car from showing up..

The customer wanted the job done in mahogany so that's what I used (red) After a number of other type stains the one that finally came through with a beautiful deep dark brown tone was an Olympic stain called dark ebony. There was so much pigment in the bottom of those cans it actually looked like watered down dark brown paint. The plus side of that was that it was a one coat and done finish.

I top coated it with a satin poly and that's where the problems began. You see the large triple window in the picture? That light brought out every little flaw in the finish that couldn't be seen in the shop as I was building it. We're not talking huge flaws, but ones that would bother me. It took me a more time than I'd like to admit to touch-up that finish but it was a lesson learned.

The only other thing that would have given it that rich of a tone would be the dyes that cabinetman mentioned. Some times you luck out with the cheapo homecenter brands..:yes:

That is a big problem if your shop doesn't have very much in the way of natural daylight. Artificial light just doesn't show things right, especially fluorescent lighting.

Gerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I got the look I was going for with 4 coats of dark red mahogany stain and one coat of black stain on top. Thanks for all the help.
 

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Harlanm,

Woodcraft.com carries a line of stains from General Finishes. They have the cappuccino finish. I used it recently on a project for a friend and it turned out nice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Harlanm,

Woodcraft.com carries a line of stains from General Finishes. They have the cappuccino finish. I used it recently on a project for a friend and it turned out nice.
I looked on there, but could not find it, do you have a link? also, is it the dark color like I posted, or is it the light tan color? Cappuccino seems to be either of those, depending on how much cream is added I guess ;) thanks.
 

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I really like the "cappuccino finish" that I see in a lot of contemporary Asian furniture. I would like to tackle this on a few small projects, however I cannot find any information about what it actually is. Is it paint, stain lacquer? I have come upon this wall, and cannot research any further without knowing what that finish is actually made of. Any help is appreciated :) Thanks.
I know the finish you are looking for, it is not black but a deep as you say cappuccino color. The easiest can be done with paint on clear coats, but dyes and deep pegmented stains can be purchased and custom mixed. I just finished a kitchen and fireplace with the same color, it could be on the red side but the same results. It is very hard to ger a consistant color.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks the the help everyone. Great community here. Ill post photos of my projects as they get going in about 2 months. I plan to use oak ply and oak board. I just cant bring myself to furnish my new house with MDF furniture, and it seems like thats all I can find. I am an artist, and pretty handy so I am going to tackle my new desk first, then move on to a platform bed, and (god help me) a chest of drawers. I like plain simple furniture, so I think my only issue is going to be the finishing. I think my best bet is to use that water based stain. I am sure the lessons will come hard and fast :)
 

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Something you should know about water base finishes is that they raise the grain. I have found that you need to do two coats of stains; the first coat raises the grain so sanding the raised grain smooth then removes stain exposing the bare wood. Water base stain does not really penetrate the wood, it sits on the surface. Water base and solvent based penetrating stains or two different cats to skin.
 

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Hi,
Just joined hoping I will find someone who had finished wood in the color that I saw in your photo.
Your work looks great!
Can you explain exactly how you got it, what products did you use and on what type of wood?
 
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