What is the best wood stain you can get?

PoorOwnerOctober 29, 2008

What is the best wood stain a consumer can get, which can give the wood a "furniture like" dark color in 1 or 2 coats? Minwax is not it! Price is virtually not an issue..

Or do the dark stain that we see comes from toned dark coats? Anyways I want something with very fine pigment that penetrate really well and evenly.

It also needs to dry and ready to accept top coat without smearing and melting.


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You need a wood dye. But, you also neewd to study finishing, there are several good books on the subject---all mine are still packed from the recent move.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 7:16PM
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The first thing you have to realize is that "furniture like" finishes are generally multi-step processes, often as many as 12-14 steps. That is why you are unlikely to receive the same results with one or two coats of #471 out of a can.

The steps may involve:
- bleaching
- sealing / wash coating
- spray stains
- wiping stains
- toners / shaders
- glazes

I could lead you to a number of brands, but since the ones I use are not available on the street, I have not tried too many of them. Look for places that cater to the professional finishing trade, whether it is local or mail-order.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 7:53PM
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Aniline dye is still about the best colorant for wood.
It is available in 'basic' colors and also mixed shades.

It is actually rather easy to use and forgiving of application mistakes (it cam be lightened by wiping woth clear water, light sanding, or be easily bleached out).

Unlike minwax stain (and most others) it is not a pigment, but an actual dye, really just thin paint.
Especially in darker colors it starts to act like pint and obscure the grain of the wood.

While bobsmyuncle posted the factory finish regimen, many of the steps are actually designed to save time in a factory or allow use of lower quality wood.

Toning is done with colored lacquers to make color uniform after the dye has been applied.
On some furniture they forgo the dye completely and just use toning lacquer followed by a clear top coat.

A lot depends on the type and quality of the wood used.

I do 'one off' work, and use only first & second grade hardwoods.
Factories cannot afford these woods, so they routinely use lower grades and glue up for larger pieces.
They sometimes even leave sapwood and then color it to match the hardwood.

Here is a link that might be useful: J E Moser aniline dye

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 4:38PM
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Why do you just want to do one or two coats? Are you in a big hurry? The finishes most of the woodworking pros use will not be fast either. I would rather go slowly and build up just the right color I want. I have not heard about any stain smearing unless it was not allowed adequate drying time.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 1:13AM
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I am frustrated with minwax stain, it does not stain any darker after a number of coats, unless I leave it on, then it takes forever to dry.

just looking for something better with finer pigments (or dye)

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 1:49PM
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I completely agree that stains such as minwax etc. are really not the best you can get. Believe me when I say, I stain a lot of wood, and honestly, the best staining product that I have found so far; at a reasonable price is a product called Keda Wood Dye. This product comes as a kit, with 5 colors, and let's you make your own wood stain colors by simply adding hot water. The kit creates an exotic finish, based on the wood's graining. Check them out; it is a really good product for $9.99, with free shipping.
Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Keda Dye Inc.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 4:08AM
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Tell us what species of wood, what the desired shade and effect is, and we can go from there; because as asked, there is no answer.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 8:14AM
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gel stain might be a better option for you. Miniwax has always been a terrible stain.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 4:03PM
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You can have the best stain on the market but its not fool proof. The best stain will always be a users opinion and when a painter/finisher has mastered it its priceless. But even then there can be problems, non of us are immune.

I would suggest trial and error on scraps. If you want a deeper color with Miniwax you must leave on till it gels and blend in with a rag.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 1:03AM
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The issue that you are experincing with the canned stain is that you cannot control the concentrations, or how it absorbs into the wood. That is why you are having to apply multiple coats. Pigments usually do not penetrate the wood fibers; instead they cover the wood's surface. That is why the color will fade faster using a stain like minwax etc., than if stained with dyes. Wood prep is crucial too, but if you are looking for more control, better finish results, and a longer lasting color in your stain, then try a kit like Keda Dye, or someone offering powder wood dyes. I have tried several stain types with my Grandpa, and they do yield the best results.

Thanks again, it is nice to share the info.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 1:45AM
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