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Ask the Staff


I want to stain a piece a very dark color (brown/black). I have tried minwax oil base stains in ebony, dark walnut & mahogany and the result is grainy looking and still not dark enough. What can I use to solve this problem? I have read about tint dyes, etc... I would assume that I will have to strip this piece again. What do you recommend for stripping it?




The Minwax product does have a little binder in it and may not let you color the wood with a Transtint dye or other dye product for wood. You may want to test though. You could have some coloring success going right on top of the Minwax stain with the dye.

If not, you could sand back the stain some, just enough to get some wood exposed to take the dye. You may NOT have to sand away all of the oil base stain - back to perfectly bare wood - to let the dye start to take.

You'll have to take it one step at a time. If you think you need to strip fully, (this usually means getting rid of all the evidence of the color applied from the stain), you would need to sand aggressively. Minwax stain is not much of a "film" finish, so I wouldn't think you would need to use a chemical stripper. Strippers do not remove all the color that may be down into the wood's grain. If you felt you needed a bare wood starting point, you would need to bleach out the Minwax color. I would think you would need to do this only if you could not get the dye to cover the remaining stain evenly.

You may want to make up some scrap samples and put the Minwax stain on them. Then you can try the dye that you get over the Minwax and see the results. If needed, you can then try sanding a Minwax sample a little to see how it improves the taking of the dye.

Work on samples and not the cabinet. You need to know your methods and results before trying the color on your project.


Ed Scent
Highland Woodworking


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