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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am making a decorative board for a loved one that consists of different wood species, each stained a different shade.
If I glue the wood together before sanding and staining, I am worried about bleeding as I stain the different species of wood.
If I stain before I glue and my glue-up isn't a 100% aligned, I would have to sand which would cause issues with the already stained wood.

Any suggestions on what should be done?
 

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Is this a parquetry project?

You would want to figure out how to do this staining first.
 

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You didn't say what the different species are. If the natural color differences between the species are pleasing, I would eliminate the stain. You also didn't say what you plan to use for a top coat. An oil based top coat like polyurethane or Waterlox will bring out the natural color of the wood so that you may not need the stain. Try it on some scrap.
 

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I like @yomanbill's response. Consider finishing the natural wood with an oil-based finish instead. Here are two examples of projects that use many different woods. Both were finished with a simple oil finish on the natural wood, nothing else.

Wood Working animal Gesture Ear Art Food Cake decorating Cake Cake decorating supply Baked goods
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your responses.
I am using Mahogany & Maple. Both are taken from old furniture pieces my daughter had while growing up. For the top coat I am open to suggestions. I have wipe on poly & shellac at hand but am opening to getting a new top coat if that's what's needed.
 

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That will be a beautiful combination. Either the shellac or poly will bring out the natural color and grain of the wood but the poly will be more durable. Keep in mind that most oil based finishes will impart a somewhat amberish color to the wood. This will be especially apparent on the light colored maple. If you don't want this, you can use a water based finish (poly also comes in a water base). However, water based finishes are not as good at enhancing the natural color and grain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@yomanbill - So then you would recommend not applying a stain at all? I wanted a dark shade contrasting with the lighter one and I was worried the Mahogany may not turn out dark enough. Hence, wanted to stain the Mahogany and leave the Maple as-is.
 

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Funny you should ask.

Earlier this week, I started a test of an oil-based urethane (like poly) on a maple and walnut piece. The finish is Arm-R-Seal, gloss. (The last coat will be Arm-R-Seal satin, not done yet.)

The walnut darkens more than the maple, in my opinion. See the photos of the maple and walnut, below. This is a finish test in progress, only partially done, okay?

Photos:
  • Before - The not-yet-finished bottom side. Some finish snuck under there. I plan to finish the bottom too.
  • After - One and a half coats of Arm-R-Seal Gloss oil-based urethane finish. The first coat did not go on fully (tried a wipe-on with an old sock). The second coat was applied with a foam brush, then wiped with another sock. Remember this is a finish test, okay?

Wood Rectangle Table Material property Hardwood


Musical instrument Wood Rectangle Musical instrument accessory Wooden block
 

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Test it on some scrap. You will find that the mahogany will look darker once the oil based finish is applied. Also, mahogany, like cherry, tends to darken over time exposed to light. You should get very nice contrast without the stain but you need to decide for yourself.
Similar to what Agnostic said/shows above.
 

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Funny you should ask (cont.):

The same oil finish darkening will be true with your mahogany. Here are links to some tests I ran of oil finishes on old mahogany. If you look carefully at the photos in my posts, look at the edges of the pieces. Some edges did not get the oil finish, so you can see the original color of the wood in them.

See this thread:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/threads/odies-oil.214645/

Especially this post ... and notice the edges on a few of the pieces:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/threads/odies-oil.214645/post-2075733
 

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I like @yomanbill's response. Consider finishing the natural wood with an oil-based finish instead. Here are two examples of projects that use many different woods. Both were finished with a simple oil finish on the natural wood, nothing else.

View attachment 430714 View attachment 430715
Rudolph is cool. Did you buy the patterns or did you design it yourself? I'm thinking this would be a nice holiday gift for my son and daughter in-law for their first Christmas together.
 

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I would skip the stain and go right to the polyurethane.
The poly will darken the mahogany somewhat and will slightly amber the the maple. The darkening also brings out the grain and the same goes for the maple.
The attached 2 photos show padauk and birdseye maple. No stain was used, just water white clear lacquer. here are the before and after. I only use Pre-cat lacquer but somewhat similar results with polyurethane. Make a test piece on some scrap. Remember this: Build all your coats with a clear gloss and satin only on the last coat. This way, you will retain the clarity of the grain and knock off the shine with the last coat.
Wood Musical instrument accessory Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood
Wood Musical instrument accessory Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood
Furniture Cabinetry Table Wood Rectangle
Furniture Cabinetry Table Wood Rectangle
 

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Rudolph is cool. Did you buy the patterns or did you design it yourself? I'm thinking this would be a nice holiday gift for my son and daughter in-law for their first Christmas together.
Thanks for the compliment, but my spouse made it, so I had to ask her about the pattern! :ROFLMAO:

I bought her a scroll saw a few years ago. The reindeer was her first scroll saw project ... ever. She says that she made the pattern herself, but looked on the internet for ideas and inspiration.

Inner ears and bottom are maple with the mouth made with cuts by the scroll saw. Outer ears and forehead are cherry. Antlers are walnut. The nose is padauk. The eyes are premade oak mushroom-style screw buttons, ebonized with vinegar and steel wool. Finish is Tried and True Varnish Oil. (Basically a linseed oil finish.)

She looked in her files and found the crude, hand-drawn patterns. PM sent.
 
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