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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have sealed the edge pieces of an antique waterfall style vanity with Zinsser Sealcoat diluted 50/50 with denatured alcohol. Even after this sealing when I apply some MinWax oil based stain I end up with dark specs in the grain of the wood.

Is there a way to lessen these dark specs beyond the sealing that I am doing?

Thanks.

Gary
 

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Since this is a piece you are refinishing there may be little you can do because the wood was previously stained and the pigment is already in the grain. It would take bleaching with a two part wood bleach to rid the wood of the old stain. Then after sanding stain the wood with a water based stain. It would stain more mellow than a dye.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Since this is a piece you are refinishing there may be little you can do because the wood was previously stained and the pigment is already in the grain. It would take bleaching with a two part wood bleach to rid the wood of the old stain. Then after sanding stain the wood with a water based stain. It would stain more mellow than a dye.

Steve thanks for the additional feedback. The water based stain approach adds another option to how I will tackle this in the future (it is in fact too late to solve this issue with the piece that I am currently working on).

Gary
 

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Your problem is that you are using a pigment stain. Pigment is powder suspended in oil. It settles into the pores of the wood causing the dark specks you see. As some have suggested, if you use a dye stain, your coloring will be more even as the pores will not fill up with color.

You don't want to use a water based pigment stain. You'll have the same problem. Avoid pigments stain whether oil or water based.

Finally, from the picture, it appears that the top of the item is plain sawn while the skirt is quarter sawn. Because of the two different cuts, pore structure is different and stains will look different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Your problem is that you are using a pigment stain. Pigment is powder suspended in oil. It settles into the pores of the wood causing the dark specks you see. As some have suggested, if you use a dye stain, your coloring will be more even as the pores will not fill up with color.

You don't want to use a water based pigment stain. You'll have the same problem. Avoid pigments stain whether oil or water based.

Finally, from the picture, it appears that the top of the item is plain sawn while the skirt is quarter sawn. Because of the two different cuts, pore structure is different and stains will look different.
Howie thanks for the additional clarification. Understanding better how stain operates is useful to know.

The top of the piece is mahogany veneer and was stained but only very lightly. I was trying to get the edge wood darker to blend in better. The darker stained caused the fleck problem.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The color still seems light in the picture. I think you could mix a toner and blend that edge in nicely to match the top and hide the dark grain. Can you spray? If not Mohawk makes toner in aerosol cans that can work in a pinch.
Rick, unfortunately I do not have spray capability. I have seen the Mohawk spray toners but have never tried them. Thanks.

Gary
 

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Rick Mosher
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It is difficult to tell the color from a photo but I think either Mohawk Ultra Classic Toner in either Cherry or Dark Red Mahogany would get you a better match. Sometimes I like to do the edges darker as an accent and in that case Extra Dark Walnut would be the way to go. Apply in very light passes and allow the color to build slowly. (These toners are dye based, they also make a pigment based toner as well) After you are happy with the color seal with another coat of your shellac and finish however you want.
 

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The hardwoods contain several principal types of wood cells:
wood fibers = small diameter, elongate cells
wood vessels = composed of a stack of 'vessel elements,' these cells are the main water/nutrient carriers. In the wood trade, commonly called 'pores.'
ray cells in rays: horizontal bands of living cells which extend in a radial direction in the wood.

The deal with many stains and finishes is the ability that they have to penetrate the wood, mostly following the vessels (like soda straws.) To stop this, there is/are a paste wood sealer which will block the large open vessels in woods such as the oaks, hickory and the ashes. After doing a couple thou' of oak flooring, there's no fun in this for me.

Once dried, you sand that back to expose the natural wood surface except for the vessels which are now plugged. Now, you have a far more uniform surface for finishing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It is difficult to tell the color from a photo but I think either Mohawk Ultra Classic Toner in either Cherry or Dark Red Mahogany would get you a better match. Sometimes I like to do the edges darker as an accent and in that case Extra Dark Walnut would be the way to go. Apply in very light passes and allow the color to build slowly. (These toners are dye based, they also make a pigment based toner as well) After you are happy with the color seal with another coat of your shellac and finish however you want.
Rick, thanks for the additional useful advice.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The hardwoods contain several principal types of wood cells:
wood fibers = small diameter, elongate cells
wood vessels = composed of a stack of 'vessel elements,' these cells are the main water/nutrient carriers. In the wood trade, commonly called 'pores.'
ray cells in rays: horizontal bands of living cells which extend in a radial direction in the wood.

The deal with many stains and finishes is the ability that they have to penetrate the wood, mostly following the vessels (like soda straws.) To stop this, there is/are a paste wood sealer which will block the large open vessels in woods such as the oaks, hickory and the ashes. After doing a couple thou' of oak flooring, there's no fun in this for me.

Once dried, you sand that back to expose the natural wood surface except for the vessels which are now plugged. Now, you have a far more uniform surface for finishing.
Robson, thanks for the wood cells explanation. There is so much to learn. I was aware of grain filling but have never done it. It's too late for this project but certainly useful to know for the future.

Gary
 

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Learning how to use a grain filler will move your finishing skill up several notches----Mahogany was traditionaly filled---often with color added to the filler--

The befits are -- a smooth glass like finish
The ability to accentuate the figure and grain of the wood---
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Learning how to use a grain filler will move your finishing skill up several notches----Mahogany was traditionaly filled---often with color added to the filler--

The befits are -- a smooth glass like finish
The ability to accentuate the figure and grain of the wood---
Mike thanks for the encouragement. I have never done grain filling but the benefits sure appeal to me.

Gary
 

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Mike thanks for the encouragement. I have never done grain filling but the benefits sure appeal to me.

Gary
Grain filling on Mahogany is a matter of taste on what you want the finish to look and feel like. Grain filling for the slick look works better than trying to fill the grain with a sealer, if that's what you are after.

If you finish without the grain filler, and just use a few applications of a sealer, the finish will have a wood look and feel. For some that appearance is more natural. The finish will still turn out with a smooth desired sheen. Grain filler was not used on the Mahogany on this bar system.
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Furniture Wood stain Cabinetry Room Table








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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Grain filling on Mahogany is a matter of taste on what you want the finish to look and feel like. Grain filling for the slick look works better than trying to fill the grain with a sealer, if that's what you are after.

If you finish without the grain filler, and just use a few applications of a sealer, the finish will have a wood look and feel. For some that appearance is more natural. The finish will still turn out with a smooth desired sheen. Grain filler was not used on the Mahogany on this bar system.
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View attachment 85956












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Cabinetman, very impressive. I plan to try this multiple sealer coat approach on a future project.

Gary
 
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