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Discussion Starter #1
I have a dining room table (not sure what kind of wood). It is a pretty light wood with a pretty dark stain (a dark cherry color). I had a little patch of marks so I thought I could sand it and do a "stain patch". I found some stain that pretty much matches, but the problem is, it just doesn't seem to "take". I sanded the spot with 120, then 220 then 320 sandpaper to completely remove whatever stain/seal was on it. When i apply the new stain, it looks like its going to be a great match, but when I wipe it off, its pretty much the same color it started with!!?? Why would it do this? Any suggestions would be great!

Thanks,

David
 

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stain

I am far from an expert in stain matters, but I can tell you a couple of things. First off, the finer you sand the wood, the less porous it is, the less it will absorb the stain. Second thing is that the type of stain originally used may be leaving some type of residue in the wood grain which is preventing your stain's absorption. Just a guess. Or it could be that a dye was used to achieve the darkness of color, and your stain just can't do the job. These are guesses. I'm willing to bet that there will follow numerous answers from folks more knowledgable on the subject than I am. Good luck.
 

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Or it could be that a dye was used to achieve the darkness of color, and your stain just can't do the job.
That would be my guess. It sounds like the wood is maple to me, it can be hard to stain. I personally don't stain much so I am no expert either. I have had troubles with staining hard maple in the past. I only use dye now.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
here is the manufacturers picture of my table

http://us.st11.yimg.com/us.st.yimg.com/I/irawoodinc_1981_4347731

they call it "bailey brown" but i haven't had any luck contacting them to see if i can get some stain (surely i cant anyway)

So where do I get wood "dye" instead of stain (i was just using miniwax stain from home depot)? and is it the same process - put it on a rag and rub it in, then wipe it off? I cant seem to find it any hardware stores/paint stores around here. I'm in albany NY.

Thanks,

David
 

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220 to 320? You closed up the grain. There is nothing porous left for the stain to sink into. Like Daren mentioned, if it's maple it's a double wammy because maple is a real bear to take stain. I've only had luck with analyne (sp?) dies on maple.

-Armand
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So what is the optimal staining sandpaper grit? And if I sand with 120, then stain, should i sand with 220 after the stain dries before i put polyurethane on?

Thanks, hopefully we are getting closer to the solution!

David
 

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Ok. Don't hit me for asking this but knowing how manufacturers build furniture today.......................Is it wood?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
hahhahaha yea thats the first thing i checked. I just check the edges for seems of laminate and i looked at the bottom where it was unstained and it still looked like real wood. Also since i've sanded it 3000 times now to try different stains I feel like I would have gotten all the way through the laminate!!

So the questions remain
1) how rough and when to sand
2) where to get analyne dyes??
 

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Working on an isolated spot is tough to make inconspicuous as opposed to refinishing the whole table. Is that an option? If you have a good oscilating sander work your way up to 150 and then try the stain. knock down any fibers that the stain may have raised and then apply your top coat.

If you used the dyes be careful, they're great, but the one's I use are really concentrated depending on how you mix them and you could easily go too dark and that would be bad...

Here's the ones I use:
http://woodworker.com/cgi-bin/search.exe?search=moser dye&gclid=CKje7LiNs5ACFQYXswodURl7XQ

Finishing is a craft in itself and any success I've had has been trial by fire. There are much more qualified people on here than me to address your problem but I just gave you the basics.
 

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That would be my guess. It sounds like the wood is maple to me, it can be hard to stain. I personally don't stain much so I am no expert either. I have had troubles with staining hard maple in the past. I only use dye now.
Daren,

I am staining some soft maple tables right now and noticed that maple doesn't take stain well. The first coat was very light but the second coat took very well. Any idea why that is? I was also wondering what kind of dyes you use.
 

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"soft maple" is kind of a funny name. Silver maple (usually sold as soft maple, sugar maple as hard) is still a very hard wood. The first coat did not take as well because of the closed grain, after wetting it you opened the grain some and it took better color the second pass.
Here is an easy dye http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=5341&filter=dye
I already said am not a stain/dye expert. If I want cherry/walnut...color I just use the species. I don't have to stain, I have a sawmill and most of the species native to north America (and some ornamentals that are not) in a pile in the shed :icon_smile:
 

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Just a thought, if the top is solid wood and the underside is still unfinished, you should use that to "practice" on to figure out what'll work. Try a little stain there and see what it does. If it still won't take, then you can move to a dye. That way you can discover your solution without risking any further damage to the finished-side.

And I second the sanding issue. I'd see what the stain does after a 150 sand.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Which color of homestead dye would be closest to my table? Or do i need to mix them a bit?
http://us.st11.yimg.com/us.st.yimg.c...c_1981_4347731

Once we determine the color, do I just add the powder to water until the desired amount and darkness is achieved? Just so I'm clear, the dye acts just like a stain where the grain will still show through and everything, it just sits more "on" the wood than soaking "into" the wood, correct?

Thanks,

Dave
 

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it just sits more "on" the wood than soaking "into" the wood, correct?
No you have it backwards,it soaks into the wood. The stain you are using is not evidentially, hence your problem. The grain will still show, just be darkened. I can't help you with the color thing (color blind).
 

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Unfortunately, its *really* hard to match colors online - as opposed to real life, on the pc you're "painting" color with light, so its always a bit different (not to mention different color profiles and all that jazz), but my guesstimate would lean towards medium reddish brown or dark chocolate brown.
 

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about table and stain

I think your problem is not just the stain. i think you might need to sand with 100 grit then 120 and 150 then if you want 220. I say this becouse over the years i have been building stuff i have found it better to sand a little with a course grit but not too coures or you will scrach the wood you donot want to damage your peace of furniture. the course grit paper will open up the grain a bit and the finner ones will smooth it out so when you put stain on wood it gives you a nice finsh. As for maple everyone is right it dose not take stain very well. As for the stain it self that is up to you and i am not an expert on the subject im just learning myself. As for the top coat be shore you use the same as what it is coruntly coated with or you will have a problem. If it's ployurithane that dose not patch well if it is laqure then if you do a good job finshing it it will disapear and you will not even know it was patched. I wish you luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ok one more thing before I order this stuff. Am I totally screwed once I try dying it? Or can it be sanded off if i strip and sand the whole table?

Also can i mix the powders to get a "reddish brown" color?
 

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I do a lot of furniture in cherry and I always stain it.
180 grit is the finest grit I ever use.
Even 180 hinders staining, but on items like cabinet doors where
grain directions change, I have to use 180 to be safe with my
random orbital sander. When useing oak, I can stop at 150 grit.
When I have something like a top where all the grain is in line, I
like to follow up my sanding with a hand block and 150 grit
sanding with the grain. This really helps my cherry to stain better
and bring out the grain.
I use a automotive body block to help flatten it when thre's going to
be a polishd finish.
Here's a cherry top for a dresser I'm building.

If I need it to be darker after staining, I never go over it again with
the same stain, I find it streaks and covers the grain.
I can spray a lacquer stain over the wood and darken as much as
I want by how many coats I apply.
The lacquer stain stays even and easy to control by applying
thin coats at a time.:icon_smile:
 

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Okay, I may be way off base here, but have you thought of trying something like "oxblood" shoe polish, followed by wax?
I can't tell from the picture if you have a varnish finish or not, but if you are just doing small patches it seems you could hide the damage with a good polish. "Oxblood" is a very reddish brown polish, not commonly used anymore, but still might be around. If it is too red you could go over it with a darker brown polish to darken it up.
Just a thought.

Gerry
 

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First off if you useing stain, don't sand over 150-180. Anything higher closes the grain. To help match the color you can use a peice of glass over the table and put some stain on the glass and mix colors untill the clor is just a little darker then what you are trying to match. Then when you get the color close you can aplly it to the wood.
 
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