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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Didn't know if this should be in the Joinery or Finishing section, so I'll put it here in the General...lol...Doing this quick project for my neighbor's xmas present. Wouldn't you know it I don't have any Walnut strips I need (1x3 stuff) and of course no one has any nearby, don't have time to order...so, just going to use some poplar, stain it dark walnut and fake it. It just needs to be dark to frame out a piece of tigerwood which I have, and will be poly only, but here is the problem..I still want to use splines in the joint, but how am going to do that and not sand off the stain. Anyone ever use 1/8" white plastic for the spline or something similar that won't take stain, then I would be able to stain after the splines are in and sanded down flush....I don't want the splines dark, I want them to be a light color to stand out against the dark walnut.
 

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I think the idea of using plastic will give you a lot of trouble. Plastic doesn't glue very well. If you have the means of spraying you could mask off the poplar and spray a dye on it to give it the walnut color. You would have to make light coats as even a dye will wick over to the surrounding wood if you put a juicy coat on it.
 

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My post was typed while Steve posted his answer... Note we both agree on the plastic. In any future posts... pay attention to Steve... we've had our minor disagreements, but I pay attention to him.

Why can't you just assemble the project, stain it, and add the splines after the staining? That's what you plan with the plastic... but don't use plastic. It will not add any strength to your project because it will not glue to the wood. For your spline, use ash... or white oak... or pine... don't use plastic.

Another trick to resolve your problem is use a wax on the spline. Assemble your project and insert the spline... shave it and sand it to the surface. Now... very carefully apply a wax to the spline surface only being careful not to get any wax on the body of the project. Glue, stains, paints etc will not adhere to wood that has been waxed.

When assembling my projects, I dry assemble and apply a beeswax around the assembled joints. Because this process is done prior to staining, I use bees wax because it contains no silica that would leave a residue inside the wood that would hinder future stains. The bees wax around the joints (not in the joints) prohibit any glue squeeze out from penetrating and sinking into the wood which would ruin a uniform staining around the joints. I clean off the bees wax with denatured alcohol.

Since you simply prefer to avoid the spline any stain - you can use any wax. Be very careful applying this wax as to not get any on the surrounding wood. Lots of folks use small brushes designed for applying a paste onto metal prior to soldering or welding. I have an old dedicated old tooth brush for applying my beeswax.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I wasn't real worried about it adding strength, this project doesn't need it, just doing for visual effect. If I stain it first, then put in the splines, I will have to get the splines flush with the rest of it, and would probably upset the stain area around it. Usually this isn't a problem because if I had some walnut, don't need to stain it, just poly and the splines are already installed and a light color. The plastic was just a shot in the dark, wondering if anyone had tried it. Plastic will stay I could drill some tiny holes and the glue would travel from one side to the other and hold them in well enough, but I have also never sanded down plastic inlay'd in wood, so wasn't sure about that either...lol...kinda why I was asking if anyone had done that before. May have to come up with a different plan, maybe make the splines out of soft wood and go the other way, let them really take some stain and get darker...lol...they would stand out, but not as good, since I am not worried about them for strength the softwood will be ok.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It sounds as though you usually fit oversize splines and then sand them flush - I do the same, but you could cut your splines very accurately and fit them flush after finishing. Tricky, but possible.

Ya may have to give that a try, was never real good at doing that method in the past, just never could get it to come out right. I may still be able to use normal wood splines. I was thinking I did another project, a cat thingy...lol...still don't have a name for it, but I screwed up and left stain on it too long and had to sand it back down, but the grain really retained the stain and had a unique look, so I just poly over the sanded down piece and it looked great. I may give that a try should darker up the wood just a hint, then put the splines in with the virgin wood against the previously stained wood after sanding they should have a good contrast. This way I can sand down the entire frame and hopefully come out looking like the cat thingy. I hope, cat thingy was red oak, will have to do a test piece with poplar to see if it comes out the same.

or, I could just start over and do it the woodwhisper way, and dimension, that would solve all my problems...lol....but it's much more fun to muddle along and try new things, I learn much more then doing it the same way everyone else does it.
 

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Even if the spline a tad oversized, it can be shaved with flat with a sharp chisel and you don't need to scratch the finish. To correct my stupid little mistakes, I often turn to the chisel. Lay it flat and slice the oversize at about a 45' angle from front to back. By attacking the spline with this sliding angle attack, you should be able to avoid damaging the piece.
 

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Like Bernie said, don't sand, just shave them off with chisel or a flush trim router bit on a router table would take them off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Even if the spline a tad oversized, it can be shaved with flat with a sharp chisel and you don't need to scratch the finish. To correct my stupid little mistakes, I often turn to the chisel. Lay it flat and slice the oversize at about a 45' angle from front to back. By attacking the spline with this sliding angle attack, you should be able to avoid damaging the piece.
Just spent the day out in the shop and I did a test piece, stained it and then cut a spline cut and put in a piece then used a block plane, but I was real careful. I was surprised that I was able to plane it flush being real careful and checking after every pass and I got it it flush without doing very much damage to the stained piece. Put a coat of poly on it to see what it would look like, not bad, this might be doable. Thanks for all the help guys, I'll post a pic after I get done in the project threads.
 

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Forget the plastic. Try this. After assembly, add your spline as a dry fit, and sand it flat to fit. Then tap out the spline, and stain the wood. Then reinstall the spline.






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+1 on cabinetman's idea. If you get a nice dry fit, perhaps you could clamp perpendicular to the splines to keep them from moving while sanding if that becomes an issue. Haven't tried it, but I think this would work.
 

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Didn't know if this should be in the Joinery or Finishing section, so I'll put it here in the General...lol...Doing this quick project for my neighbor's xmas present. Wouldn't you know it I don't have any Walnut strips I need (1x3 stuff) and of course no one has any nearby, don't have time to order...so, just going to use some poplar, stain it dark walnut and fake it. It just needs to be dark to frame out a piece of tigerwood which I have, and will be poly only, but here is the problem..I still want to use splines in the joint, but how am going to do that and not sand off the stain. Anyone ever use 1/8" white plastic for the spline or something similar that won't take stain, then I would be able to stain after the splines are in and sanded down flush....I don't want the splines dark, I want them to be a light color to stand out against the dark walnut.
Can you not cut your own strips?

G
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Can you not cut your own strips?

G

hhmm...Gotta have some dark wood to cut strips from, if you read the question, thats the problem, I don't have any, but to answer your question, sure I know how to cut strips, been doing woodwork for over 40 yrs. I have cut a few strips before.

edit: maybe explained better. Here is what I am making, a WoodWhisper design. Needs dark wood frame, I don't have any dark wood. Usually you just put contrast wood splines in dark wood no stain just finish, spline show up great. I have to stain some light wood, hence the problem.
 

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Kind of with George here, there's got to be a way to find a dark wood to use. The poplar with a stain is not going to look anything like walnut, it's gonna look like stained poplar. If you had to stain, even maple would be way better than poplar. It just seems like a huge waste of the tigerwood to put it next to stained poplar. For the amount you need you could order online from a retailer or someone on here that has the material laying around. Or you could try baking some of your own maple to make it dark.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
I guess I am still pretty puzzled. Is it not easy to buy the dark wood you need?

George
Nope no where locally, checked every where, probably make the 30 mile drive to Little Rock (City, hate it) but I really don't want to spend the time or money for this tiny project. Same with ordering online, plus the time factor. This is just a quick little project for an xmas present to the neighbor, he gave me the Tiger wood, enough to make about 20 of these deals, just wanted to give him back some....:smile:



.... Or you could try baking some of your own maple to make it dark.
Now that is an interesting idea, I got a ton of Maple lying around, which is the idea, use some of his Tiger he gave me with some scrape I have and make a little do dad that's pretty for them. I have never heard of baking Maple to make it darker. Can I just stick it in the oven, pieces are small, four 1x3 by 9 inch long. I was going to stain Poplar because again I have a lot laying around, thought about the maple, but I hate to stain maple, it's a pretty wood with just some type oil finish or just a poly coating. How dark can I get it, how long do I bake it, and what if any prep do I do....
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
To get very dark colors you need to heat in a vacuum, but the at home version is something like 4 hours @ 360 degrees. I would probably bring the heat up slowly with the wood in the oven.

Thanks all, but I changed my mind, giving up on this idea. Going out today and not coming back until I find some walnut, some one has some. Maybe check with a few friends, there has got to be some walnut 1x3 strips somewhere...:laughing:...jeez I only need about three foot of the stuff, hopefully one my friends will have some scrape.....
 
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