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Old 01-08-2004, 01:56 AM   #11
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Minwax water-based stain also comes in a very small (8 ounce) can. You still have to buy a can, but at least it's not a big one.

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Old 01-25-2004, 10:50 PM   #12
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Water-based stain is the way to go. Gel stains were originally developed to make staining softwoods (pine, spruce etc.) easier. Traditional stains will leave these woods looking splochy with obvious light and dark areas. The gel is designed to 'not' penetrate the grain as readily. For the best finish to your wicked oak piece, remember to lightly sand after all your staining is done, as water-based products will raise the grain of the wood. This also holds true if you use a water-based polyurethane. Sand lightly (400 grit) between every coat. If you have a good library in your area, take a look at 'Understanding Wood Finishing' by Bob Flexner. Some of the best money I ever spent on a book.

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Old 01-26-2004, 08:48 AM   #13
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Thanks for the book reference Giles! I'll check it out as soon as I get the chance...

been a bit busy lately and haven't had a chance to pick up any stain, nor work on my stand... I'll keep you folks posted once some progress is made.
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Old 03-12-2004, 04:02 PM   #14
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When staining, does it help to lightly sand between coats?

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Old 03-13-2004, 04:29 PM   #15
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Nope, you sand between coats of polyeurethane. Stain should just soak into the wood.

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Old 03-13-2004, 04:45 PM   #16
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Gel stains generally don't penetrate as much as the liquid type do. I've always used them for soft woods because you don't want the stain to penetrate as much, otherwise it will turn out blotchy due to some areas being more dense than others. For this reason, oak being a hard wood, I would stick with the liquid stains.
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Old 03-14-2004, 01:10 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jratuszn
When staining, does it help to lightly sand between coats?

This depends on the type of stain, IMO.

Water-based stains will raise the grain slightly. You don't have to sand, but it helps if you want a mirror smooth finish later. A light sanding with 220 grit sandpaper will help knock down the grain that raised up. Use a sanding block for the best results. Don't sand it too much or you'll get light spots or unvenness in the finish. Also be sure to use a tack cloth afterwards to remove any sanding dust.

Oil-based stains rarely require any sanding after application. If you do decide to sand after applying oil stain, follow the guidelines above.

Polyurethane finished shouldn't be sanded IMO. They are a self-leveling finish and should dry very smooth if you applied them correctly. Several very thin coats are much better than a couple heavier coats. Water-based Poly's will raise the grain slightly, but I recommend fine or very fine steel wool after every coat. Of course, follow that up with a tack cloth to remove all the dust. I only use sandpaper over polyurethane if I goofed up (runs, fingerprints, etc).

All this is solely IMHO, YMMV.
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Old 03-14-2004, 01:49 PM   #18
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I have a few thoughts that others might disagree with or maybe just not believe. I haven't tried any of this yet, but will once we move out of here. My wife and I try to stay as far away from chemicals as possible. We don't use any to clean anything in the house. I'm always looking for the most "natural" way to do things and staining is one that I have looked into a little. Unfortunately, I don't think I've saved any sites so I couldn't really give any references but the info is out there. You can make your own stains using pretty much plant matter. I remember one of them mentioned boiling walnut shells to get a walnut finish... makes sense... the longer you boil certain things the darker it will get. And different "plant matter" will give you different colors... one thing I may try in the future is tea... we get flavored teas all the time and some of them have a nice color to them. I know there is better info out there than what I'm saying, but I believe it would work... Take a dark liquid and let it set on some wood for a little while, wipe it off just like you would a stain. I expect you would still need something to seal the wood afterwards... I haven't looked into it yet, but I hope to find some "natural" way of doing that as well... People have been "trained" to rely on man made products(stuff thought up in a lab) and so we forget that things use to be done differently. Sure chemicals seem to make life easier... well, I'll stop myself before I really get into it all... things can be done naturally, they just require more time and effort and todays society doesn't want to do that... they want to do things as quick as they can... anyway... those are some of my thoughts...

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oak, stain

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