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Old 02-08-2009, 08:20 PM   #1
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staining maple


We just installed Fibertec windows which have a maple veneer on the inside. Anyone here have experience staining them? I've read quite a bit about challenges staining maple (not specifically Fibertec's). Stain can apparently look "blotchy". due to variations in the grain of the wood.

I've also read suggestions to use dye products instead of stain.

The maple may become a bigger issue if we decide to use it for interior doors and trim.

Thanks for the help,
Greg

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Old 02-09-2009, 06:38 AM   #2
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staining maple


Maple staining is not hard to do. The variances in color is due to the sugar content of the maple. Question is what do you want it to look like? A natural stain on maple is yellowish. To get a more even stain add a stain to wood grain filler to even out the fibers of the maple.

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Old 02-12-2009, 06:00 PM   #3
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"Blotchy" is a worry I'd have with softer woods, like pine
But however, if it was an issue or concern, it's simply a matter of using a conditioner before staining

The conditioner is merely/basically a clear stain, that fills in the more 'thirsty' parts of the wood, so the actual stain applies as even as possible
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Old 02-12-2009, 06:10 PM   #4
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I'm sure the maple veneer is hard maple, but it looks like it would soak up stain fairly fast. Most of the windows are double casements and the trim board over the center joint is not veneer and looks like it will take stain much less. I plan to test some obscure places to see.

If I use a conditioner, will it reduce the grain contrast I will get with the stain?

Any recommendations for a stain color that would leave the maple pretty light and with no yellowing. The goal is to match the lighter shades in a hickory floor.

Thanks,
Greg
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Old 02-12-2009, 06:19 PM   #5
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staining maple


Quote:
Originally Posted by GregWCIL
If I use a conditioner, will it reduce the grain contrast I will get with the stain?
No (not really), it will merely reduce/equilize the absorption rates in the non-grained areas
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregWCIL
Any recommendations for a stain color that would leave the maple pretty light and with no yellowing. The goal is to match the lighter shades in a hickory floor.
Stain color is by no means an exact science even if I knew the exact woods and/or stain companies...and can vary greatly even in a single piece of wood

Best bet is to go with your best guess(es) and buy some 1/2 pints and test them on scrap or in an inconspicuous area

It may mean a mix of product/technique to get a match (close enough for your needs)

Sorry, that's the nature of stain (as opposed to paint)
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Old 02-12-2009, 06:40 PM   #6
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pre-conditioner will not help with maple. To make it light (blond) Use a post catalyzed lacquer. First use the sealer. Let dry 30 minutes. Lightly scuff sand with 180 paper. Brush on a heavy body white glaze. Wait 15 Minutes and wipe clean with a burlap rag bunched up. Wait 30 minutes Top coat with lacquer. Just finished a custom kitchen with this and looks beautiful.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:21 PM   #7
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staining maple


Sam Maloof gets credit for the finish I use. It is one part varathane, one part tung oil and one part boiled linseed oil. DO NOT use raw linseed oil as it will never dry. Literally.
The oils bring out the beauty of the wood and the varathane seals it. Apply it with a soft cloth and rub it in well. I often use 7 or 8 coats but its up to you. Try it out on a scrap piece first. I find it almost magical the way this finish brings out the grain. Gorgeous. Good luck.
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:43 PM   #8
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staining maple


Both Slickshift's & JBW's replies makes sense to me. Without seeing YOUR maple it's impossible to tell, but keep in mind that maple can have a slight pinkish quality at times that you'd need to overcome to match it to a hickory. However, the general undertone color of unfinished hickory & maple (and some ash, for that matter) are fairly similar: the difference comes in when you stain them /give them the wet look.

The other problem you may have with matching (anything) to a hickory floor is that hickory has one of the most pronounced color variations between the sapwood & heartwood of any species. Don't be surprised if you can't pull that variation of tone out of your maple, or you may just die trying. Aim for the undercurrent of tone, and forget the multitude of colors that you see in the grain. Good luck.
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:37 AM   #9
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staining maple


Thanks for the suggestions.

Yes, in some places, the maple does have a slight pinkish tone. I've been wondering about that--how to get it closer to the lighter part of the hickory.

Actually, the plan is to use the hickory to tie various woods together. In addition to the maple, I have a barn loft full of rough-sawn walnut. We may use it for some furniture or accents such as a chair rail.

One option I'm looking at is to have the staining done professionally. With about 1000 ft. of casing trim, even more of baseboard and 16 doors it makes sense to spray it. Plus, the a local (well-respected) paint store suggested they would use a post-catalyzed lacquer which would be a better finish.

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