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Dying or staining hickory

davidlane's picture

I'm trying to dye or stain a hickory chest and am having difficulty getting the color into the deeper grain crevaces.  I've tried 1) Transtint with a drop of dish soap; 2) Transtint followed by a wash coat of shellac and a similar color stain; 3) Transtint followed by a wash coat of shellac and a Mohawk glaze.  With the stain combo I get closest but still have grain that did not fill with stain; and it tended to darken the dye result anyway.   I'm tempted to go simple and use a plane ole Minwax stain.  I also wonder if there is a tinting produt that I can use with either a rub-on varnish or oil/poly product if possible.  In any event, the priority is getting the grain to fill with either the dye or the stain.  I've heard this problem discussed with oak but the hickory seems to have some long, pretty deep and narrow crevaces which are very resisting to filling with color.   Please advise.  Thank you.

SteveSchoene's picture

The dye followed by stain is (post #160341, reply #1 of 3)

The dye followed by stain is usually a workable solution.  A little bit heavier cut of shellac as washcoat would prevent the stain from darkening to as great a degree.  You may also need to allow for the darkening by using a ligher concentration of dye.  If pigment stain out of the can won't get into crevices I'd think a little thinning and wiping across grain when applying should accomplish that task.  In general separating dye and stain processes gives better results than trying to get the whole thing done in one can. 

Trying to use a tinted top coat (ie. toner) that isn't sprayed on if very difficult and is too easy to lead to streaks and unevenness.  

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

davidlane's picture

Thinning stain to reach crevaces (post #160341, reply #2 of 3)

Thanks Steve.  I'll try that.  I had also read that someone ran the stain through a coffee filter to get the color without the pigment granules.  Any chance that would allow the stain to reach farther down into the crevaces??  I'll also lighten the dye -- that's a great idea.

DonStephan's picture

It's possible that the (post #160341, reply #3 of 3)

It's possible that the surface tension of the water is not allowing the  dissolved dye down into the pores.  There was some discussion about this on Homestead Finishing Product's forum some time ago in regards to oak pores, but I don't remember the details.