I have some maple veneer that I would like to stain a deep cherry red color. Can I do this with boxstore/minwax stains? Also, I want to give it a glossy look like drum sets have, can I do this with boxstore products?
Ah, Knight, you are setting forth on a perilous journey. I can tell you have little experience with this path. I recently took the same journey and learned A LOT. Here's what I recommend if you want to achieve a highly polished, mirror-like finish.
1. If the wood has a lot of open pores, use a paste wood filler to fill the pores.
2. After the paste wood filler, sand to 220 grit, moisten the surface, let it dry and sand again with 220 or 320 grit.
3. Apply spit coat, aka wash coat, to the surface if you suspect uneven absorption of the stain, e.g. cherry. You shouldn't need a spit coat with maple, but you need to make that evaluation before staining. Do a google or buy a book on staining/finishing to learn about wash coats. A spit/wash coat is about a 1/2 to 1 lb cut shellac. Easy to make.
4. Apply your stain. Dye? Pigment? Gel? Oil v water? Again, a book will help you decided, but Minwax should do fine. Wipe off excess, let dry, buff lightly with a cotton t-shirt. Additional applications to get the color density you want.
5. Apply 6-8 coats polyurethane. Oil based is more durable. Let each coat dry thoroughly, preferable overnight. Scuff lightly between each coat with 320 grit.
6. Make sure you have a good thick build up of polyurethane top-coat so you can 'level' it. Sand with 220 or 320 on a sanding block until the poly top-coat is fairly flat and 'level.' Be careful not to sand through to the wood.
7. After leveling, begin sanding progressively to 1500 grit, sanding just enough to remove all the scratches from the previous grit. From 800 to 1500 grit, use a lubricant: water or parafin oil or mineral oil.
8. After 1500 grit, use pumice and a felt pad with oil lubricant. Hand rub. An electric polisher will leave swirl marks.
9. After pumice, use rottenstone and a felt pad with oil lubricant. Hand rub.
There! You're done. You have a nice mirror-finish. It takes a lot of work. You can't just brush on a mirror finish right out of the can (maybe with epoxy.)
Thanks for the replies everybody, I've learned alot this past week.
What I've learned over the past week in addition to your suggestions is that I will need to apply a dark wood filler to the maple to make the dark grain areas pop more. Than I should apply a red mahogany water based aniline dye to complete the coloring. After that I should use a gloss(something that won't turn yellow) like an oil based lacquer that crosslinks so when I sand and buff I don't go through layers which will show lines in the gloss finish. Do they carry spray cans of oil based lacquer as opposed to brushing it on?
Kevin, I live in Huntsville(Madison to be exact), maybe we could get together so I can show you my progress as I get closer to gettting started with this project.
I build a lot of guitars, and the only way to get a pure glass like appearence is sand your butt off.
A maple verneer wont need any grain filler so that is good. Maple verneer takes dye extremely well, but you can use stain as well.
2. Sanding sealer
4. light sanding
5. repeat sanding sealer steps
6. Spray on Lacquer/polyurethane - Lacquer IMHO will buff out to higher luster than poly.
8. light sanding
9. repeat numerous times. probably four more coats than what you think is good
10. Wet sand using 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 2000.
11. Apply rubbing compound. I like 3M
12. Apply swirl mark remover
13. Apply GLaze - again, I like 3M.
That will produce a genuine mirror like polish. You will be able to see yourself, and it will be perfectly flat. Its a lot of work to get that amazingly brilliant flat mirror finish.
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