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Ask the Staff


I have searched the Internet looking for some advice on staining oak a darker color. I have been having problems getting the oak to be a more uniform color and wondered if your Transtint dyes could be a product that would help with this. I have mahogany doors which are a very dark hued color. I am trying to do a banister and newel in a similar uniform color. However being oak it picks up too much of the grain and I don’t like the look; it looks too stripey. I would appreciate any advice or product you can sell me.

Rick Holubowicz
Brookfield, WI



Dyes used for coloring wood have a much smaller particle size than standard earth-based pigmented stains. The dye will bring things darker, but you may still see the variation between the late wood and early wood in the grain. The pore openings have a different structure and thus take the color at different rates.

Your best bet would be to try a sample of the dye on a bare wood scrap. Because the Transtint has no binder (you mix it into water or denatured alcohol) you can apply follow-up coats and the wood will get a deeper tone. Standard pigmented stains have binders that cure (like linseed oil). This binder makes it hard for follow-up coats of the stain to deepen the wood. The wood is "sealed" and cannot take on more stain.

You can follow up with a standard stain on top of the applied dye if it moves the color in a direction to your liking.

Do keep in mind that because the dye has no binder, you need to have top coats to lock down the color. Also, dyes are not very resistant to fading due to sunlight exposure. Wood colored with dyes will fade sooner than wood colored with a standard pigmented based wood stain.

Just remember, do test samples so you know your methods and your results before you start working on the actual woodwork. It is very hard to go backwards once you apply color.

Ed Scent
Highland Woodworking


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