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Discussion Starter #1
Hello again.

I am refinishing an antique shaving mirror and I have been advised that the wood is chestnut. The wood stripped and sanded well but when I applied the stain this morning I was not pleased with the results. It looks too blotchy to me. I had not applied wood conditioner so I am planning to sand and apply wood conditioner and then stain again.

Did I simply not understand that chestnut wood should as a rule be conditioned first?

Thank you.

Gary
 

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I haven't worked with chestnut before but it is suppose to work more like oak and not need a conditioner. On the other hand if you are having problems with it blotching there is no reason you can't use a wood conditioner on it. You just might have to use some dyes to achieve the color you want using a conditioner. It seals the wood a little so it won't take the stain as well.

The pictures loaded after I posted the reply. To me the wood looks more like maple. That would need a conditioner.
 

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Not to split hairs, but I don't think it's necessarily "blotched." That's 4 board glued up, and it appears each board took the color evenly. (second board from the left, for example.) What I see the problem as being is each board is a different color to begin with, so each board is going to look different once a stain is applied.

If you can't live with it (i think it looks good) then maybe a 1/2lb cut of shellac or something to equalize your surface.

Bobby
 

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I haven't worked with chestnut before but it is suppose to work more like oak and not need a conditioner. On the other hand if you are having problems with it blotching there is no reason you can't use a wood conditioner on it. You just might have to use some dyes to achieve the color you want using a conditioner. It seals the wood a little so it won't take the stain as well.

The pictures loaded after I posted the reply. To me the wood looks more like maple. That would need a conditioner.
Steve, thanks for the input. The piece is not maple in my opinion because the grain is very open. Hopefully I can avoid getting into using dyes if I decide to rework this piece.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Not to split hairs, but I don't think it's necessarily "blotched." That's 4 board glued up, and it appears each board took the color evenly. (second board from the left, for example.) What I see the problem as being is each board is a different color to begin with, so each board is going to look different once a stain is applied.

If you can't live with it (i think it looks good) then maybe a 1/2lb cut of shellac or something to equalize your surface.

Bobby
Bobby, thank you for your comments. You are not splitting hairs because there really is different coloration in each of the boards. In fact the piece also has a small mirror and shelf that attach to the front. They may make any blotch concerns that I have disappear.

Gary
 

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Bobby, thank you for your comments. You are not splitting hairs because there really is different coloration in each of the boards. In fact the piece also has a small mirror and shelf that attach to the front. They may make any blotch concerns that I have disappear.

Gary
Like I said, it certainly isn't ugly at all. Good luck to you!
 

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Steve, thanks for the input. The piece is not maple in my opinion because the grain is very open. Hopefully I can avoid getting into using dyes if I decide to rework this piece.

Gary
Sometimes its hard to tell from a picture. If it has a open grain then it's not maple.

I think you would like dyes. I haven't gotten into using water based dye's but I use alcohol based dyes. I use Mohawk Ultra Penetrating Dyes. Furniture companies stain their furniture first with the dye to get the majority of the color and then use an oil stain to give it some warmth. A lot of times especially if you are working with a wood that is bad to blotch and using a wood conditioner it's difficult to stain. On some darker colors it resists taking the stain because of the conditioner. The dye will color it anyway and you can keep applying it where an oil stain is one shot. Another thing you can do is if you get the color wrong staining and it's too red you can apply a green dye to counteract the red or add red if it needs it. The dye remains clear so it doesn't muddy the appearance. I haven't tried it yet but I've heard good things about Transtint. The Mohawk dyes I use are also available in powder form so there isn't the hasmat fees on mail order. The powders can be mixed with alcohol which you could get locally.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sometimes its hard to tell from a picture. If it has a open grain then it's not maple.

I think you would like dyes. I haven't gotten into using water based dye's but I use alcohol based dyes. I use Mohawk Ultra Penetrating Dyes. Furniture companies stain their furniture first with the dye to get the majority of the color and then use an oil stain to give it some warmth. A lot of times especially if you are working with a wood that is bad to blotch and using a wood conditioner it's difficult to stain. On some darker colors it resists taking the stain because of the conditioner. The dye will color it anyway and you can keep applying it where an oil stain is one shot. Another thing you can do is if you get the color wrong staining and it's too red you can apply a green dye to counteract the red or add red if it needs it. The dye remains clear so it doesn't muddy the appearance. I haven't tried it yet but I've heard good things about Transtint. The Mohawk dyes I use are also available in powder form so there isn't the hasmat fees on mail order. The powders can be mixed with alcohol which you could get locally.

Steve, it looks like I may have an opportunity to learn more. I have limited experience with dyes. It was aproblematic learning process but the end result was good. Thanks for the advice.

Gary
 

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here are somepics of a chestnut vestibule i stripped, sealed stained and finished. the original finish was exposed to 100 yrs of sunlight, black and alligatored. after stripping and sanding, i sealed with a few thin coats of 1 lb cut shellac, stained with plain old minwax chestnut, and coated with a couple of coats of 2 lb coat of shellac.

chestnut is way too porous to stain raw.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
here are somepics of a chestnut vestibule i stripped, sealed stained and finished. the original finish was exposed to 100 yrs of sunlight, black and alligatored. after stripping and sanding, i sealed with a few thin coats of 1 lb cut shellac, stained with plain old minwax chestnut, and coated with a couple of coats of 2 lb coat of shellac.

chestnut is way too porous to stain raw.
Thanks Larry - the comment about chestnut being porous is helpful.

Gary
 
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