First time using red oak, how do I stain? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-05-2014, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
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Default First time using red oak, how do I stain?

I've done my first engraving with red oak (any hardwood actually), and i'm not sure how to stain/finish the project.

Here is the piece:




I'd like to make the grain and color pop and bring out their richness. I figure i'll do a top coat poly or shellac to give it a satin sheen. Just not sure on how to stain it with the nooks and crannies of the inset text.

-Zach

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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-05-2014, 11:19 AM
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I don't have any finishing advice but I'd like to compliment you on a very nice sign. Good job!

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-05-2014, 11:35 AM
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Dick Willis put me onto a stain called Behlen, I think that is how you spell it, I used in on Cherry to get the sap wood to match the rest of the wood and it worked well. Dick has implied that it would work well on red oak. Maybe Dick will see this thread and comment on it, or another member will have had some experience with it or another stain.

You sure do have every reason to be very proud of the project that you attached the picture of to this thread. Good job.

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-05-2014, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! Pretty cool what you can do with a Dremel and the right bits

I think what i'm going to try is either gel stain, or regular, and wipe it on. Let is get into the inset areas, then wipe off and sand down the top layer to give each level a different look. Perhaps that will be enough to make it 'pop'. Now the question... what color stain...

-Zach

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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-05-2014, 06:36 PM
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Zach, with Red Oak I haven't been happy with the stains I've used so I finish with a clear coat and call it done. With the great work you've done on the carving use some scrap oak for sampling the look you will get.

Have you thought about burning the letters with a wood burning tool? With your steady hand and a couple of bits it could be the pop you are looking for.

Great job on the carving BTW

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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-05-2014, 06:49 PM
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One of the problems with oak is the porosity of the dark grain. Stain will settle in there and produce an uneven look sometimes. A lot of people use a filler to fill these pores and achieve a more uniform look. I would do a test piece with some engraving to see how you will like the end result. Some kind of sealer might be in order to smooth out the finish. Some experimentation is in order I think.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-06-2014, 05:58 AM
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I would paint the lettering with black gloss paint, carefully, and if any goes on top surface use a flat board with sandpaper adhered to it to level it out. After that black has cured go over it the rest with whatever stain you like. Test on on a scrap to make sure the paint doesn't run. That will really make the lettering (fine job by the way) POP.

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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-06-2014, 07:18 AM
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I took a chance on a General Finish Gel Stain (Candlelight) on a red oak trunk and had good luck. It did highlight the grain without getting overly dark. I have used Polyshades before, (they are both stain/poly combinations) but this was something different. The format (gel) allows you to tweak the color depth like you would with a stain.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-06-2014, 07:51 AM
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Dennis made a great point about porosity. Oak has a straw like wood grain... in fact you can take a stick of oak, put one end in water then blow on the other end and see bubbles. If you use a stain that is thin it could travel down the straw like structure of the wood and appear somewhere else. If you use ink to color the letters remember that most ink is alcohol based, so if you put shellac over that it will bleed the ink also. You could use ink than after its dry spray lacquer over it.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-06-2014, 08:16 AM
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100% tung oil mixed with citrus solvent would make that beautifull, the only thing with 100% tung oil is it can take 2 weeks for it to fully cure.

Great work on the sign!
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