Any wood staining experts out there?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ron D Core, Apr 15, 2002.

  1. Ron D Core

    Ron D Core Stunt Coordinator

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    What types of stains work well with Birch plywood. I was looking at a light, redish-orangish color. I want to get them nice and glossy, how would I go about doing that? I figured just some coats of high gloss-polyurithane and a few hours of buffing on well sanded wood. What would be the best method of applying it, I have access to a paint sprayer? Any brands I should look at? I've never actually stained wood since I've never cared about the looks of my speakers untill now. Thanks for the input.
     
  2. Jeff Mills

    Jeff Mills Stunt Coordinator

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    At the hardware store (take your pick) they should have samples of the stain colors. Buy the stain color you like. Rub the stain on with a rag..at least 2 coats. The apply a high gloss polyurethane with a foam brush. Its very simple, just follow the instructions on the cans. Personally I prefer the Minwax brands of stain, dont ask why as I have no reason, they just seem to work well.

    Whatever you do, dont use one of those all in one products. You must buy 2 cans. 1 can of stain, and 1 can of high gloss polyurethane. Urethane, varathane, and varnish will all work as well as the polyurethane. Just buy stuff from the same mfg to ensure compatibility.

    Those all in one things are difficult to apply. If your coats are not perfectly even, you will get runs and dark spots etc. Just stay away. Hope this helps.
     
  3. Jeffrey_S

    Jeffrey_S Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron,

    As far as the brand and type of stains I use, Bartley's gel stains work the best for me. Gel stains have a thick consistency so they don't run all over the place when being applied. Also, you get a more even stain using them. Try them, I think you'll be happy you did.

    Jeff
     
  4. Cam S

    Cam S Screenwriter

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    I had good luck using a wipe on Poly. It was super easy to apply, and came out looking awsome. These were for some rear suround stands I made.
     
  5. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Minwax wipe-on poly finishes are probably the easiest. You can purchase them with various tints already added. Personally, I prefer the look of veneer vs. plywood (better grain patterns, etc.).
     
  6. Ron D Core

    Ron D Core Stunt Coordinator

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    I wouldnt mind using veneer, but I want to make my enclosure as strong as possible, so I am going to put 3/4" Birch ply on top of 1" MDF, rather than spending $25 on a couple sheets of MDF and $100+ on veneer. These speakers are going to be quite large.
     
  7. Pete Mazz

    Pete Mazz Supporting Actor

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    Birch is a tough wood to finish properly. It will accept stain unevenly and look blotchy. If you use minwax, they sell a pre-stain conditioner for just this type of problem.

    Pete
     
  8. Chad Anson

    Chad Anson Second Unit

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    Pete is right. Birch is tough but not impossible. With birch, I've had success using gel stains because it tends to sit at the surface a little bit more. I'm not a big fan of the combo stain/poly products either. I do like the wipe on poly's.
     
  9. jack x

    jack x Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron,

    I made some bookcases out of birch plywood with maple trim. First, I sanded the wood with an orbital sander using 220 grit sandpaper. Then I used min-wax pre-conditioner, followed by min-wax cherry stain. I applied it with a brush (my wife used a rag), left it on for about 10 -15 minutes and then wiped off. After at least 24 hours, i evaluated whether or not to apply a second coat of stain - for less duration. I would probably not recommend for speakers, but I finished my bookcases with 2-3 coats of min-wax tung oil for a nice hand-rubbed finish.
     
  10. Rob Lloyd

    Rob Lloyd Stunt Coordinator

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    You can also use a dye instead of a stain. This will apply the color evenly if blotching is going to be a problem. Dyes penetrate into the surface of the wood where a stain just sits on the the surface.

    I'm not sure if the home centers carry dyes, but places like Woodcraft and Woodworkers Warehouse do. Plus lots of online sources but for 1st time you might want to get hands-on.
     
  11. Robt_Moore

    Robt_Moore Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron:

    Here's what we used to recommend from the paint department at Hechinger's (RIP):

    The surface of birch plywood will have different absorbtion rates if you apply regular stain to it. Use a gel stain or use Minwax Wood Conditioner first. You can make your own wood conditioner if you thin shellac with denatured alcohol, 50/50. Use any color of oil based stain you want. Do not use a water-based stain; it's a pain to work with. You may want to use two coats of stain to even out the color.

    For a high gloss finish:

    Easy--use high gloss polyurethane, 3 coats, hit the first two with 4/0 steel wool once it is dry to smooth out the finish.

    Medium--use Deft brand brushing lacquer, gloss. Steel wool between coats. Drys relatively quickly, can re-coat in less than an hour. Each coats "melts" into the previous coat, poly is layered.

    Hard--high gloss lacquer sprayed on. This requires multiple coats, proper ventilation, proper respirators.

    For the highest gloss do not hit the last coat with the steel wool--you will buff out the gloss.
     
  12. Ron D Core

    Ron D Core Stunt Coordinator

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    Why steel wool? Would sand paper do the same?
     
  13. Rob Lloyd

    Rob Lloyd Stunt Coordinator

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    Sand paper would work but the 4/0 steel wool is very fine. For sand paper it would be about 4000-6000 grit as a rough guess. I'm sure someone here can answer that a little better.

    Only problem w/ steel wool is that any particles left behind will rust if you use a water based finish. I've never seen it so that's just based on others comments and a few finishing books I've read.
     
  14. Robt_Moore

    Robt_Moore Stunt Coordinator

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    Re: Steel Wool

    There is also available synthetic "steel wool", made by 3M (I think-it's been a few years away from the paint dept.) I should be more careful with my explanations--you would wipe down your piece after using the steel wool. Don't use a tack cloth--you may leave a residue behind. And the water based poly's, to me, look like thinned down Elmer's Glue when dry.
     

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