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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a "Davis Cabinet Company" bed (red oak) that I have just finished stripping (a lot of work). It's somewhat of an heirloom and I want to stain it, and stain it right the first time.

I say that because after sanding with both 150 and 220 paper I decided to try staining a section for a visual for my wife. While staining I did my very best to blend the area, but still had a lot of blotches. Tried another section, and the same thing. Blotches. That it is when I decided to to talk to some guys who knew their stuff.

I would really appreciate any advice on prepping the wood or any steps I might be missing here.

Thanks in advance
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
By the way, I understand that using a wood conditioner can help with blotchiness. Also, After reading some of the threads on finishing, it's now my understanding that pressure spraying the stain can also help this issue as well.

If spraying helps my issue does anyone have advice on gun settings, etc?
 

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Forgive me but I get the feeling you stripped the bed by sanding it. That only takes off what is on the surface and not what is penetrated into the wood. Oak is about the least likely type of wood I know of to blotch so I think something else is going on. If you didn't use paint and varnish remover the uneven stain is due to the old finish still being in the wood. You would need to start over and strip and sand the bed to have good results. I would not recommend using wood conditioner on oak. That is like putting a watered down varnish on the wood before staining it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Forgive me but I get the feeling you stripped the bed by sanding it. That only takes off what is on the surface and not what is penetrated into the wood. Oak is about the least likely type of wood I know of to blotch so I think something else is going on. If you didn't use paint and varnish remover the uneven stain is due to the old finish still being in the wood. You would need to start over and strip and sand the bed to have good results. I would not recommend using wood conditioner on oak. That is like putting a watered down varnish on the wood before staining it.
Actually i used a gel based stripper and cleaned it pretty well. The bed was intially painted which made deep cleaning difficult, but its pretty darn clean... as a caveat, im assuming its oak byt the grain, but was told by an antique dealer that davis also did these beds in ash and cherry. Doesnt look like cherry though.
 

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Oak is a wood that normally stains nicely and evenly. From your description, it sounds like you may still have residual finish on the surface and in the pores of the wood.

I would suggest that you again strip the finish using a chemical stripper containing methylene chloride. It will do the fastest most complete job. Follow the directions on the can.
 

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Stripping paint is always a pain. I agree with Howard it would be best to strip it again. I normally use Kleen Strip but I'm doing a job right now refinishing a kitchen that has a lacquer finish on it and I'm using Strypeeze remover and it seems to be a little stronger. http://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/products/catalog/strypeeze/

If you would post a picture perhaps one of us can help you with the wood ID
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for every bodies response, and i apologize for delay. Below are a few pics of the bed. Hoping they're good enough to identify the species of wood.

 

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Looks alot like ash to me.
 

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Are we talking Kim Kardashian?
 

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ASH... not oak or at least not 100% certain (could be katoppa) (top of the tree... LOL). Strip it a little better with a BRASS brush,,, not Steel. Scrub it good, let it dry in the shade and re stain. You will get some darker and lighter but it is how the wood is plus the separate pieces in the headboard and foot will stain a tad different.....nature.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
further research on the "Davis Cabinet Co." shows that they worked mainly with Cherry and Ash. If it's Ash, and aside from giving it another stripping, is there a further process to get superior stain results? Conditioner, etc?
 

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The wood is ash. Ash isn't prone to blotching and doesn't need the conditioner however it can vary in color quite a bit especially when staining. Some boards are just a lot more dense then others. The way I would finish it is to stain it with a oil based wiping stain that is slightly lighter then the desired finished color and then use a matching dye in a sprayer and shade in the lighter colors so it would end up the desired color. If you don't have the means of spraying you could use the dye mixed with water and go over the light areas applying it with a rag. You would just have to watch the concentration of the dye and not put too much on at once. You might have to feather it out around the edges with a clean wet cloth so it doesn't make a hard line. It would just be much easier to do that kind of shading with a sprayer. Mohawk Finishing Products makes toners in aerosol cans which you could also do the same thing. If you can find some gel stain the right color you could also use that to supplement the color. The color on the light wood needs to be supplemented and you can't do that with the wiping stain. Any wiping stain left on the surface can prevent the finish from adhering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Steve, I do have a paint gun/pressure sprayer, but have never used it to apply stain. Is there a protocol I should be aware of?

Also, where could I find these dyes and is there a protocol to use them?
 

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Also, where could I find these dyes and is there a protocol to use them?
Steve's reply mentions how to apply the dye.

You need to purchase from a wood place, not a big box store. Example if you have a local Woodcraft/Rockler store, or mail order from them.

http://www.woodcraft.com/search2/search.aspx?query=dye&Uses=Dye

Some are water based, some alcohol, some oil.

Some pre-mixed, others powder and others highly concentrated like the Transtint where you use a drop or two.

Normally experiment on a piece of scrap, but you may not have any other ash, so you need to experiment on an area which will not be as visible.

Worth taking a look at this Rick Mosher thread on the difference between dye and stain (which is called pigment in the thread). A good read.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f8/difference-between-dye-pigment-42519/
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
While I understand the gest of steve's reply, I'm asking about the protocol of dye mixture when spraying. I have never sprayed dye or stain.
 

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I think the easiest way for you to mix the dye is in some kind of clear container. You would mix it so it looks like brown coolaid instead of a stain so that it is really transparent. I prefer to use dyes mixed with dentured alcohol rather than water but either would work on bare wood. Then spray a single coat of dye on the lighter parts of the wood kinda like you were using an airbrush with about 25 psi. I don't pay too much attention to the appearance because it dries fast and will fool you into putting too much on. Then apply a thin coat of finish. If there is still light spots that need more color lightly sand the entire project with 320 grit paper and you can spray more dye mixed with alcohol over the finish and then put a second coat of finish on. If need be you can add the dye to most finishes. The dyes I use most often are premixed Ultra Penetrating Stain from Mohawk Finishing Products or their Blendal Powder Stains. The powder stain is the same thing in dry form that they can ship without the hasmat fees the premix has. You would just mix the power with alcohol you can get locally. I haven't used it yet bet I believe the Transtint dye is a better more durable dye. Rockler or Woodcraft sells the Transtint dye as well as many places online.

I nearly always spray my wiping stains too. It makes it quick to spray it on and then wipe it off.
 
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