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abufletcher 11-23-2007 10:49 AM

Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
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Can someone explain to me how to get a really good deep rich-looking stain on very light (almost white) wood? Even after repeated applications of mahogany stain, I still just get a watery light brown color. The only way I can get a really dark color is to slather it on almost like paint but that's not right. I must be doing something wrong. I'm trying for something like the color (and depth) in the photo below.

BTW, I also used min-wax pre-stain conditioner.

abufletcher 11-23-2007 10:53 AM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
I almost feel like I should be PAINTING the wood first with some sort of translucent brown. If the effect is acheived by multiple applications of the stain, how many applications are we talking about. Because even with 4 or 5 applications I'm still not getting what I want.

vertical grimmace 11-23-2007 11:13 AM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
The wood conditioner is used to even out the color in soft woods like pine. They have a reputation for staining light and dark. This evens things out.
The initial application of stain is when it really takes and I think you need to use a very dark stain to begin with. The problem is, You are trying to make a species of wood look like another species of wood and that can be tough. If you want it to look like a piece of Mahogony, you should try to start out with Mahogony.
Maybe you can add a dye to some dope that will add more pigment to the finish. This is what a lot of the CL guys use on their stunt planes. This may help you to achieve that red hue you are looking for. If you are in need of some specific species of wood, PM me. I have the ability to dimension it as well. Good luck.

abufletcher 11-23-2007 01:11 PM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
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I may have answered my own question. My best result so far actually comes from just painting the wood with flat brown acrylic paint. I just need to test what it looks like with some kind of glossy sealing coat.

UPDATE: Actually the flat brown painted Zinger (with the varnish sanded off) looks pretty darn convincing with just a vigorous hand rubbing with a cloth. This couldn't be any easier! The top half the prop in the photo was stained with a mahogany stain and shows pronounced grain streaking (uneven staining even with the conditioner). The foreground half of the prop has been painted with the acrylic. This is for a static prop but the same technique would work on a flying prop with a fuel-proof topcoat.

abufletcher 11-23-2007 01:35 PM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
I might experiment with mixing in a bit of red or yellow to get a old-time varnished look.

Stickbuilder 11-23-2007 01:37 PM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
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ABU,

One problem that you may be having, is that if you have already used some type of sealer on the wood, then the stain can't penetrate the wood. If you are not using a stain that is a mineral oil base, the stain may end up just sitting on the wood and again not penetrating the surface. In my business, when a customer wants to make one species of wood look like another, you end up basically painting the wood to make it the color of the desired species, and then finishing the surface. What you end up with is a surface that resembles an automotive finish (very shiny but without the deep character that you would get with the correct species.

Enter the laminates....The instrument panel in the photo is actually a high pressure laminate in gunstock pattern. The insert is also a laminate that looks more like Golden Oak than if it were the real thing. I find that it is easier to work with than the true wood species (for my application). This is not answering your question, so as the previous post said, begin with the correct species and work from there.

Bill, AMA 4720
WACO Brotherhood #1

abufletcher 11-23-2007 01:47 PM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
The wood I'm testing on is untreated (save for the pre-stain conditioner). The use of laminate would work for some applications (like your dashboard). I think I'll end up using the acrylic paint+buffing on my static prop. Most of the blade will be paint grey anyway.

khodges 11-23-2007 06:54 PM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
Most of our wooden model props are either hard maple or beech. both have very dense, fine grain that doesn't take stain very well . I've found that using a coarser sandpaper to remove the factory varnish (and you have to sand fairly deep to get it all) and then going to a much finer grit will help. I use a mixture of dark walnut and cherry stain to get that dark color with a reddish hue, you can play with the ratios to get exactly what you want. It will take less of the walnut than the cherry unless you want it really brown. Brush the first few coats of stain, and let it sit until it starts getting sticky before you wipe it off (each coat). When the color gets close to what you want, then wipe on the last coats to make the color even. A clear lacquer will seal it without altering the color, or oil base polyurethane if you want to soften the color with a bit of yellow hue.

For a flying prop, balance it at every step, it will be easier to achieve the final balance with fewer coats of clear at the end.

abufletcher 11-24-2007 04:25 AM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
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Quote:

ORIGINAL: khodges
I use a mixture of dark walnut and cherry stain to get that dark color with a reddish hue, you can play with the ratios to get exactly what you want.
I picked up some walnut and mahogany color lacquers today. Neither by itself is right but the mahogany looks the best in terms of color (an orangish-reddish). Both are far FAR too thin to hide the whiteness of the wood. It just looks like what it is, colored lacquer over light wood.

Unfortunately, my buffed flat brown acrylic technique didn't look right on the wood I used for the propeller. My best hope at the moment is to put the mahogany lacquer over some mahogany stain I was using earlier. The stain lays down a dark shade (with a bit of a purplish hue) and the lacquer turns it a reddish color with a lacquer sheen.

BobH 11-24-2007 10:27 AM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
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Don here's a picture of a camel prop taken at Dayton. As you can see its not as redish as you might think. It has a more brownish cast to it. Just thought you might like to see.

BobH 11-24-2007 10:29 AM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
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Thought I might show the entire prop..

abufletcher 11-24-2007 10:41 AM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
Thanks, Bob. That looks pretty similar to the Snipe prop in terms of shape. The only actual photo I've seen of one was a bit darker but I'd be happy with that color as well. In fact, at this very moment I'm testing that color depth I can get with multiple coats of the "mahogany" lacquer. Maybe I should take a look at how the Japanese lacquerware artists get the amazing finished they do. Basically, I think it involves dozens of thin layers with lots of buffing.

http://www.nihon-kogeikai.com/TEBIKI-E/3.html

http://www.urushi-kobo.com/process.html

khodges 11-24-2007 12:09 PM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
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What kind of wood is that you have your test stains on? (the piece that the prop is lying on) It looks like common pine, (like you get at Lowe's or Home Depot to make shelves from). That stuff is horrible to try to stain. Southern Yellow Pine, white pine, well, most pine species, don't stain well because of the resins and oils in the wood, and certainly aren't representative of how maple, ash or beech will stain. You mentioned that you bought lacquers; they aren't designed to penetrate and soak into the grain, but to lie on top as a finish. Key to a good stain is its penetration into the wood fiber (thinner is better here), and stain alone won't provide a final finish, but must be clearcoated. The lacquer will work well for that, and since you have the colored lacquers they may accent the color change of the underlying stain.

Below are 3 props I've re-stained. Two aren't much darker than original, and they are stained with an antique maple, which wouldn't change the wood color much anyway. The scimitar prop at top was done with dark walnut alone, and only two coats (Minwax). If you notice the two spots, out on each tip, that are a bit lighter, it's because I didn't get all the old finish off in those spots, and the stain would not penetrate as well. These are all Zinger props made of maple. You can see how much the dark stain penetrates when the old finish is completely removed. I used 120 grit to take off the old finish, and then used 200 and then 400 to fine sand.

abufletcher 11-24-2007 12:41 PM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
What kind of wood was I using? Cheap wood. :D I suppose I was also looking for a soft wood as I imagined that it was going to be a right battle to cut the prop. I was also looking for something in the thickness I needed as I really don't have the tools to plane down lumber. The Japanese designation on the sign was "white wood" though I have not idea what that might translate as. The other common wood here is "hinoki" which I've since found out translates as Japanese cypress. No dark woods for sale anywhere locally.

None of the (oil based) stains I've tried so far are giving me the look I want. Some combination of stain and lacquer may work though. And after 4 coats the lacquer alone is looking pretty good. This is just for a static display prop for my Snipe so it doesn't need to be fuel proof. It just has to look good (in photos). :D

abufletcher 11-24-2007 12:44 PM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
Of course we also have that old scale problem where the grain of the wood is far too large for the scales we're modeling. That's one reason I'd rather go with a darker color. All I really want in an impression of grain in the small part of the prop (at the hub) where it won't be painted grey.

vertical grimmace 11-24-2007 12:56 PM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
abufletcher, If you would like I can dimension just about anything you would like and ship it to you. I can get you mahogony or any other species. I also suggest getting a set of cabinet scrapers. These work very well for removing finish. Some old school woodworkers use these exclusively as they feel sandpaper leaves sand in the wood. I recently carved a prop for my Fokker and it was laminated walnut and maple. If you would like skins do do such a process I can help you there as well. I would assume just about all props are laminated for stability. It really would be best to start with the right wood.

abufletcher 11-24-2007 01:05 PM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
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VG, thanks. I had really only thought of the idea of carving a static display prop on the spur of the moment when I happened to notice how large the prop was on the datafile drawings. I'd never tried carving a prop before and thought it would be really hard. So I suppose I wasn't going all out. But I'd probably like to sometime. I'd like to try laminating a prop (maybe from pre-cut contours as in these photos). I think your right that all props were laminated for strength.

http://www.woodenpropeller.com/Basic...echniques.html

Anyway, let me think about whether I'd like to go "whole hog" on this mini-project, or just do the best I can with what I've got. I'll PM you if I decide to get some wood. I'll be in the US for Xmas time.

Here's what I have at the moment.

nine o nine 11-24-2007 04:55 PM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
I work in a paint store and have found that if you have thin bodied stain to work with (Minwax brand for instance) the results you've seen are what you get. Applying more coats only muddies up the final color. If that's all you're able to use, you might try NOT stirring the solvent in with the pigment and just use the pigment that's settled to the bottom of the can. Mitch

TFF 11-24-2007 08:50 PM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
Now you need to get some maple and carve some flying props for special flying days.

abufletcher 11-25-2007 07:59 PM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
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Well, I have to admit that after 3-4 days of experimentation I still haven't found anything that really looks good. The stain only accentuates the grain, which then looks unrealistically large. The lacquers just adjust the color. For an all wood colored prop this would be completely unsatisfactory -- and I think I'd have to recarve the prop out of a more suitable (darker?) wood.

But in the case of the Snipe prop, all but the very center of the prop will be painted grey so I guess it's time to just get on with it and do the best I can with what I have.

robert waldo 11-26-2007 12:45 AM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
Shoe polish

abufletcher 11-26-2007 03:07 AM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 

Quote:

ORIGINAL: robert waldo

Shoe polish
Interesting idea! What is shoe polish anyway? Is it like a stain mean to penitrate the leather?

khodges 11-26-2007 07:32 PM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 

Quote:

ORIGINAL: abufletcher


Quote:

ORIGINAL: robert waldo

Shoe polish
Interesting idea! What is shoe polish anyway? Is it like a stain mean to penitrate the leather?
WOW, I totally forgot this stuff. I've used it before on other things, works pretty well. It has a waxy base, and doesn't top coat very well, but you can get some nice coloring with it.

jjscott 11-26-2007 07:50 PM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
I didn't see alcohol based dyes mentioned. I've used leather dyes to stain wood. They come in lots of colors and can be mixed to get custom colors. Tandy used to sell the stuff; any good shoe repair should also have it. I think that Rockler woodworking stores have alcohol solvent dyes, either liquid or powder. India ink works if you're looking for a weathered finish; it turns the wood a dark grey. Any of these seem to penetrate better than the commercial/branded oil based stains.

Jim

abufletcher 11-26-2007 09:04 PM

RE: Deep, rich, dark stain on light wood?
 
I can report that I've now tried the shoe polish (good ol' Kiwi brand brown) and a liquid rub-on form. Neither did the job (both looking pretty much like the weak stains). Still it was an interesting possibility and probably useful for other purposes.

I've gone ahead now and used the mahogany stain followed by several thin coats of a walnut/mahogany lacquer mix. Ill put on at least three coats of laquer before I sand that down before giving it one final coat. It looks reasonable but dark (fine grained) wood to start with would be better. And laminated dark woods would be better still.


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