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View Full Version : Woodworking help - staining walnut


Tomsinamerica
08-19-2009, 02:29 PM
So - appealing to all the woodworkers out there. I'm building a cabinet for my living room from walnut but the lumber I have is a little on the lighter than i would ideally like. It does however have that awesome semi-reflective grain pattern of walnut.

Can anyone recommend a stain that would darken it a little but not completely obliterate the natural luster of walnut? And I'll be finishing it with a lacquer finish if that makes any difference.

Thanks,
Tom

coz
08-19-2009, 02:33 PM
So - appealing to all the woodworkers out there. I'm building a cabinet for my living room from walnut but the lumber I have is a little on the lighter than i would ideally like. It does however have that awesome semi-reflective grain pattern of walnut.

Can anyone recommend a stain that would darken it a little but not completely obliterate the natural luster of walnut? And I'll be finishing it with a lacquer finish if that makes any difference.

Thanks,
Tom

Don't use any stain at all and just clear coat laquer (what I use on my cabinets) it, it'll darken a little but still keep the grain showing. I do alot of natural finishes like that.

Try it on a scrap piece for effect.

mpm32
08-19-2009, 02:49 PM
I build furniture and refinish antiques (hobby). I use Sutherland Welles Polymerized tung oil for all of my finishing. If you use this on your project, it will make the walnut pop. It has a slight amber color that really adds to the walnut's natural grain. This also provides a tough finish that holds up and does not lay on the surface like a film of plastic. It also is easy to apply, wipe on, let sit, wipe off - Let dry and repeat as many times until you get the finish you're looking for. No need to worry about dust in the finish.

http://www.sutherlandwelles.com/

JimN
08-20-2009, 06:08 PM
So - appealing to all the woodworkers out there. I'm building a cabinet for my living room from walnut but the lumber I have is a little on the lighter than i would ideally like. It does however have that awesome semi-reflective grain pattern of walnut.

Can anyone recommend a stain that would darken it a little but not completely obliterate the natural luster of walnut? And I'll be finishing it with a lacquer finish if that makes any difference.

Thanks,
Tom

Did you wipe it with mineral spirits or anything yet? That will make it look closer to the finished version. Are you trying to match something else or will it stand on its own?

Tomsinamerica
08-20-2009, 08:03 PM
Thanks everyone for your help so far;

Jim, it will stand on it's own s matching isn't essential but some of the walnut I have is just very light while other pieces are darker. I was hoping a light stain would remove some of the difference.

I have already tried rubbing mineral spirits on a piece of scrap and that looked much better but when i tested the lacquer out on the same scrap piece, it dried much much lighter. I did however only apply one coat so far, will multiple coats of lacquer darken it in a similar way to mineral spirits?

Thanks,
Tom

coz
08-20-2009, 08:13 PM
Thanks everyone for your help so far;

Jim, it will stand on it's own s matching isn't essential but some of the walnut I have is just very light while other pieces are darker. I was hoping a light stain would remove some of the difference.

I have already tried rubbing mineral spirits on a piece of scrap and that looked much better but when i tested the lacquer out on the same scrap piece, it dried much much lighter. I did however only apply one coat so far, will multiple coats of lacquer darken it in a similar way to mineral spirits?

Thanks,
Tom

Mineral Spirits is petroleum based, Lacquer is solvent based, you'll never get a good finish if you mix the two.

JimN
08-20-2009, 08:35 PM
Mineral Spirits is petroleum based, Lacquer is solvent based, you'll never get a good finish if you mix the two.

Nobody said to mix the two- I mentioned that as a way to see how much darker it would get although, seeing that he's using lacquer, I should have recommended lacquer thinner or acetone.

Do you stain anything, or is the wood selected for color/grain? I don't remember if you said you use pre-made cabinets or make your own.

JimN
08-20-2009, 08:37 PM
Thanks everyone for your help so far;

Jim, it will stand on it's own s matching isn't essential but some of the walnut I have is just very light while other pieces are darker. I was hoping a light stain would remove some of the difference.

I have already tried rubbing mineral spirits on a piece of scrap and that looked much better but when i tested the lacquer out on the same scrap piece, it dried much much lighter. I did however only apply one coat so far, will multiple coats of lacquer darken it in a similar way to mineral spirits?

Thanks,
Tom

No water-clear finish will darken it much, although nitrocellulose lacquer does darken over time and with exposure to air and UV light. If you can, maybe grain matching will let you use the differences to the advantage of the piece but if you stain it, find something that's compatible with lacquer.

coz
08-20-2009, 09:04 PM
Nobody said to mix the two- I mentioned that as a way to see how much darker it would get although, seeing that he's using lacquer, I should have recommended lacquer thinner or acetone.

Do you stain anything, or is the wood selected for color/grain? I don't remember if you said you use pre-made cabinets or make your own.

I've been building cabinets for 30 years, but with the availability and cost of pre-fab cabinets it's cheaper to go that way these days. I still do complete customs though.

Norman Lear
Caroll Burnette
Wayne Rogers
Billy Crystal
Chris Lemmon (Jacks kid)
David Paiche (Toto Band)

Those are a few people that have my work in their houses/mansions in Calif.

JimN
08-20-2009, 09:16 PM
I've been building cabinets for 30 years, but with the availability and cost of pre-fab cabinets it's cheaper to go that way these days. I still do complete customs though.

Norman Lear
Caroll Burnette
Wayne Rogers
Billy Crystal
Chris Lemmon (Jacks kid)
David Paiche (Toto Band)

Those are a few people that have my work in their houses/mansions in Calif.

I remember the thread you started- that's why I asked but I didn't remember if they were shop-built or you used a manufacturer. Whose cabinets do you like?

coz
08-20-2009, 09:44 PM
I remember the thread you started- that's why I asked but I didn't remember if they were shop-built or you used a manufacturer. Whose cabinets do you like?

I don't use mastercraft, aristokraft, kraftmaid, or any of those track home cabinets unless I'm doing a budget job. There's a company out there called Diamond cabinets that have high quality stuff and almost unlimited options http://www.diamondcabinets.com/

Only problem is they're 6 week out on orders so you need to make sure you get it right the first time otherwise it's 6 weeks to get what you missed or messed up.

snork
08-21-2009, 12:03 AM
:twocents:Personally Diamond cabinets suck. So much for your credibility Coz

coz
08-24-2009, 05:28 PM
:twocents:Personally Diamond cabinets suck. So much for your credibility Coz

My credibility is based on happy customers signing my notice of completion and never had one not like what they got, so you're wrong they don't suck. I do alot of fabrication myself too, like this little window seat I finished today :D

http://i298.photobucket.com/albums/mm258/cozaz/001-36.jpg