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Hi Joe, my first suggestion is to stay away from Minwax stains, they have a sealer in the stain. Once you apply it you cannot lighten or darken it or make the grain stand out like oil stain will. Do all your sanding before staining, oil stain nor mineral spirits make the grain stand up on red oak, and the stain will seal the wood. Buy a quality oil stain in a darker tone/color than you want. Also purchase a gallon can of mineral spirits, apply the stain with a rag and leave it sit for a few minutes. Then use another rag soaked in mineral spirits and wipe the stain off until you get the tone/color you want. This also removes most of the oil from the stain. If it is not dark enough repeat the process until you get the color you want. You will find that this process makes the grain of the wood really jump with more contrast from light to dark grain. Be sure to let the door sit for a few days before applying your finish, so the stain can fully dry and this will avoid any bubbling. I would also suggest a poly topcoat, if it is an exterior door use a UV resistant (exterior) poly. I love Red Oak!!!
 
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