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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been dealing with a project for weeks that I simply cannot get right. Below are pictures of the ends of a lowboy dresser from the 1940s. I did the following:

  • Applied MinWax Wood conditioner.
  • Applied TransTint Dark Walnut #6005 dye heavily diluted in DNA.
  • Used aggressive DNA to wipe down to try rom remove blotches and extra dark areas.
  • Applied Minwax Special Walnut #224 stain.
  • Stripped the above off moderately and the result is shown in the pictures.
If this were an antique that I was finishing simply to sell I would scrap it. It has been over challenging for my skill level. But it is for a friend / customer and a family piece. I must somehow recover.

The advice that I need is what is my best path from this point to darken the piece and even out the darker areas?

Thank you.

Gary
 

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I think what I'm seeing that you are calling blotchy is the natural grain of the wood that is going to look like that no matter how you stain it. If you are going to work dye by hand you are just going to have to thin it more than if you were to spray it. It would spray more uniform then you could ever do by hand but instead of wiping the piece down with alcohol you might try applying more dye to the lighter areas with a foam brush. When you use the oil stain and there is some light spots you can still suppliment the color with additional dye. Oil stains you just do once but dyes you can keep adding it even between the coats of the finish however in your case where you are brushing you would have to add dye to the finish to do that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think what I'm seeing that you are calling blotchy is the natural grain of the wood that is going to look like that no matter how you stain it. If you are going to work dye by hand you are just going to have to thin it more than if you were to spray it. It would spray more uniform then you could ever do by hand but instead of wiping the piece down with alcohol you might try applying more dye to the lighter areas with a foam brush. When you use the oil stain and there is some light spots you can still suppliment the color with additional dye. Oil stains you just do once but dyes you can keep adding it even between the coats of the finish however in your case where you are brushing you would have to add dye to the finish to do that.
Steve I think you may be right about the blotchy concern that I am having. One of the mistakes that I make is assuming that if woods look the same they will stain or dye the same. I did another project for this same customer and the side panels on that desk looked similar to the side panels on this dresser. But they sure did not take stain or dye the same. I tried just putting mineral spirits on the piece to simulate the effect of top coating and the result was respectable. I still would like to try to get it a little darker.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There are refillable aerosol cans that can be used to spray your mixture like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/16oz-REUSAB...5?pt=Paint_Paint_Supplies&hash=item5897a9c983

A good auto paint supply will have some.

You can also get stain in an aerosol can:
http://www.minwax.com/wood-products/one-step-stain-and-finishes/minwax-polyshades-aerosol
Thanks for some interesting feedback. Unfortunately I have had nothing but bad experience with MinWax Polyshades.

Gary
 

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Steve I think you may be right about the blotchy concern that I am having. One of the mistakes that I make is assuming that if woods look the same they will stain or dye the same. I did another project for this same customer and the side panels on that desk looked similar to the side panels on this dresser. But they sure did not take stain or dye the same. I tried just putting mineral spirits on the piece to simulate the effect of top coating and the result was respectable. I still would like to try to get it a little darker.

Gary
It will get better when you have more experience. When you are trying to match something else it's not enough to use the same wood, you have to re-create the same manor it was finished. Some stains are really penetrating where some don't. If you are finishing a piece that the look needs to be bland you need to stay away from the penetrating stains. It will darken and bring out the soft parts of the wood making it look anything but bland. What I was told by a minwax technician is they use an aniline dye as the main colorant in their wood finish stains so minwax would be a poor product if you are looking for a bland look. Latex stains would work better in that application. The woodclassics line of stain sherwin williams sells is less penetrating. A gel stain is a good product to subdue the grain. I also thing part of your problem is when you are trying to re-create a factory done finish, the factory sprayed the stain and you are having trouble getting that working it by hand. Some of the stains a factory uses is lacquer stain which is more or less thinned lacquer paint which is sprayed on and the majority of the pigment is laying on the surface. It just can't be done by hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
It will get better when you have more experience. When you are trying to match something else it's not enough to use the same wood, you have to re-create the same manor it was finished. Some stains are really penetrating where some don't. If you are finishing a piece that the look needs to be bland you need to stay away from the penetrating stains. It will darken and bring out the soft parts of the wood making it look anything but bland. What I was told by a minwax technician is they use an aniline dye as the main colorant in their wood finish stains so minwax would be a poor product if you are looking for a bland look. Latex stains would work better in that application. The woodclassics line of stain sherwin williams sells is less penetrating. A gel stain is a good product to subdue the grain. I also thing part of your problem is when you are trying to re-create a factory done finish, the factory sprayed the stain and you are having trouble getting that working it by hand. Some of the stains a factory uses is lacquer stain which is more or less thinned lacquer paint which is sprayed on and the majority of the pigment is laying on the surface. It just can't be done by hand.
Steve the comment that unfortunately strikes home most to me is the difficulty or impossibility of duplicating a factory process which cannot be done by hand. I have become more careful to explain this to people before I start their projects.

My testing will continue on this project based on your feedback and others that I have received to this post.

Thanks.

Gary
 
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