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Hi! My husband and I are adding on some shelves to an existing entertainment center made out of red oak (both veneers & solid oak). It has a polyurethane finish, and the basic stain is a reddish oak/light mahogany color, with a dark, almost ebony color down deep in the grain. So I am trying to replicate that total look as closely as possible.

I already finished a veneer sheet of plywood that we are using as a background using only the red oak color, not the dark. So the grain on that piece is not particularly dark. However, this plywood piece is way in the back and basically won't show, so I was only trying to get the basic color. I feel like I did a good job with that, and am satisfied with my ability to replicate the red color.

My problem comes with the grain. (For the more prominent pieces, I am trying to replicate the stain exactly, with the dark grain and all.) I was going to use a dark filler, scrape and sand, then use the red oak stain over that. However, inexaming the existing entertainment center closely, it appears that what they did was to stain it red, then use a wash of some kind in the darker color over that. In my reading about how to replicate that, some people say to use the base stain (red) first, use a cut coat of shellac to fix it in place, then use the dark, then finally polyurethane over everything. However, other people are really firm that you should NOT use shellac under poly for any reason! Alternatively, I was thinking about doing it this way: red oak stain first, thin coat of poly over that, dark stain over that (worked down in the grain as much as possible, then wiped), poly over that. (Plus of course multiple coats of poly as needed to get a nice finish.) So that would be using a thin coat of poly in between the two stains.

If anyone has experience and opinions on this, I sure would like to hear ASAP! I am supposed to be working on this today. :icon_smile:

Thank you!!!
Hetty
 

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People have been using shellac as a sealer under poly for a long time. Think the problem comes when using waxed shellac under poly. While waxed shellac and water poly compatible, oil poly not.

Products like Zinsser clear seal coat 2 lb cut dewaxed shellac has been the one to go to for sealing before poly.

http://www.rustoleum.com/CBGProduct.asp?pid=246&sid=00850

Using scrap piece of wood can test mixture of and dewaxed shellac gives you instant read on result.

Trans tint
http://www.homesteadfinishingproducts.com/htdocs/TransTint.htm

http://www.joewoodworker.com/transtints.htm

JMHO, Trans tints have a big advantage over aniline dyes. If going to mess up prefer to mess up with shellac and trans tint, easier to repair.
 
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