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Unread 03/15/2013, 02:47 PM   #1
Optimist1979
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Espresso stain on pine

Hello. I wanted to ask some of you woodworkers your opinion on stains. I'm having a pine stand built for a 75 gallon. I'd like an even, dark espresso finish. I was wondering what stain works best for you for what I'm trying to achieve. I'm considering two options:

1) general finish gel stain - Java (I've heard good reviews of this gel stain on pine)
2) Miniwax polyshade - espresso satin (after pretreating wood with minwax conditioner)

I had planned to buy some of these stains and test them out on a piece of unfinished pine. But maybe I should save that money and put it into upgrading the wood to something that takes in stains better (i dunno, oak, ash, chestnut, walnut)

Any other suggestions? I like the look of stain, but fully appreciating the grain isn't a huge priority. Would painting it a satin dark brown/black turn out ok?


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Unread 03/15/2013, 04:18 PM   #2
NanoReefWanabe
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i would skin it/ build it with poplar/ birch or maple...all very smooth grain, and easy to come by...and by far these three will give you he smoothest most even finish...pine doesnt take stain worth a poop, even after conditioning it...


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Unread 03/15/2013, 04:30 PM   #3
gone fishin
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With pine I think I would just paint it. If you are going to use a nice hardwood I would leave it natural and rub on some tung or teak oil with several coats. If I was going to stain it I would go with oak. You could use your current stand as a template if you wanted to build another. Just my 2 cents.


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Unread 03/15/2013, 06:12 PM   #4
sleepydoc
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All of those woods can blotch (take stain unevenly). I'd consider using a preconditioned like dewaxed shellac or this


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Unread 03/15/2013, 06:21 PM   #5
Indymann99
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My cabinet guy used cabinet grade Poplar with a 2 step stain process. Cherry stain allowed to dry, the Chocolate stain over the top of the Cherry.

We liked the dark but not "black" look.

http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/n...ement52009.jpg

http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/n...ankCabOpen.jpg

http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/n...ann99/Bar2.jpg

If you want the espresso "black" look with Pine I would prime and paint it.


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Unread 03/15/2013, 07:22 PM   #6
rovster
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This is my QT stand. Used a Miniwax stain + satin poly. Mostly pine. Used leftover birch ply for the door, but door frame is pine. I think it was called Jacobean. I'm not wood worker, but turned out pretty nice. My first DIY wood project.


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Unread 03/15/2013, 07:42 PM   #7
woodnaquanut
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Of the two stains you mentioned, the Gel will give a more consistent color.

Pine is a very 'in your face' wood. Big grain pattern, knots and hard to do blotch free stain job. If you are having the stand made, ask your cabinet maker for suggestions. Most woodworkers have lots of scraps available for testing. It's a whole lot less expensive to choose the wood and stain BEFORE it's made.

If what you are looking for is more of a dark stand with very little wood character, pine is the opposite of this. Something like Poplar would be better and easier to work with.

Although it's nice for folks to post pictures, it's really hard to tell from an internet pic just how the wood looks. Color is one thing but some woods have distinctive grain patterns that only show up well in person.


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Unread 03/15/2013, 07:43 PM   #8
doakota1
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I have been a high end wood finisher for the last 15 years, my stand is made out of pine veneer plywood, if you apply a good coat of wood conditioner you will be able to achieve a nice even stain job. this is my stand





Birch or Maple will not take stain very well, it will be very blotchy even with a wood conditioner. the grain is very tight in those two, you will also have a hard time trying to get it dark


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Last edited by doakota1; 03/15/2013 at 08:10 PM.
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Unread 03/15/2013, 08:37 PM   #9
autodave
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I use the General Finishes "Espresso" waterbase stain, then use General Finishes High Performance waterbase clear,tinted (about 10%)with the "Espresso" stain for the topcoat to achieve a consistent color. This will work fine on pine.


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Unread 03/15/2013, 09:11 PM   #10
Optimist1979
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Thanks for all your recommendations. They have not started to build the stand yet so I still have the freedom to choose a different wood. I haven't bought too many custom stands so I can't tell if the builder is some kind of master woodworker. I've seen his "basic" stand and I'm happy with the quality. He did say I could find a stain and would work with me to get the results I wanted. Early next week I'll be going to my LFS to see a sample of his espresso finish work. I want to make sure be ready with some ideas or back up plans if I decide to go a different route.

Nano - I'll look more into poplar. It seems like others are recommending the same thing

Indymann - I would be very happy if my stand turned out like your cabinets. wow. Good idea with the 2 step stain.

Rovster - Nice job on the stand. Did you use a preconditioner also?

Woodnaquanut - The main reason I chose pine because it was the cheapest (without having to build it with MDF). I'll look into poplar though, hopefully it won't be too much of a price difference.

Doakota - I like the even finish on your stand. Is it possible to replicate that with a darker finish?


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Unread 03/15/2013, 09:22 PM   #11
Optimist1979
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So I don't really know anything about stains. Quick google search shows that water stains have beter color retention, breathable, and oil is better durability. Any of this true or applicable to staining a reef tank stand? For some reason I haven't considered a water based stain. It certainly does open up color options.


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Unread 03/16/2013, 05:42 AM   #12
rovster
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Yes, used conditioner. Necessary IMHO.


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Unread 03/16/2013, 08:06 AM   #13
doakota1
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Doakota - I like the even finish on your stand. Is it possible to replicate that with a darker finish?

Yes you can achieve a darker finish on pine. after applying a good coat of conditioner, you then can apply a grain popper, its a 1 to 1 mix of denatured alcohol and water. once applied it opens the grain of the wood allowing the stain to penetrate deeper into the pores and allows a nice dark even color


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Unread 03/16/2013, 08:55 AM   #14
jlanger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepydoc View Post
All of those woods can blotch (take stain unevenly). I'd consider using a preconditioned like dewaxed shellac or this
Using a pre-conditioner for pine, birch, maple or poplar is a must for an evenly stained finish.
Which wood you decide to go with is entirely up to you.

Birch will give you the best results for an evenly stained finish with some wood grain showing.
Maple just doesn't stain well; even pre-conditioned. For the cost of maple, it's better to use birch.
Pine will give you a much different grain pattern showing up through the stain. If you like open grain and knots, choose pine.
Poplar will work well, but you need to make sure it's all one color. Poplar has a very stark contrast in the wood's color. From being very white to tan to green. This will show through the stain.

Test the stain on the different wood samples to see what you like best.
Good luck.


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Unread 03/16/2013, 02:09 PM   #15
lewk
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From what I've read, gel stains work well on pine to prevent blotching. I've used the java stain before on poplar and it came out very even. Didn't need any conditioners.

Check out any of the finishing books or articles by Bob Flexner. He knows his stuff.


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