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african mahogany louver doors

jim Member

i have a bunch of African mahogany doors for a kitchen to stain fairly dark, I have stained the boxes and center island straight to the wood. these are all false louvers so when I stain and seal the grain raises pretty good. and takes a bit of sanding which can lead to cutting through the stain. would a 10% or so wash coat help prior to staining or any other tricks.thanks

11/13/15       #2: african mahogany louver doors ...
Robert Member

Sometimes it helps to wet them down first as it raises the grain. Then sand and stain.

11/13/15       #3: african mahogany louver doors ...
JIM Member

thanks Robert just lightly spray with water, out of spray bottle?thanks

11/13/15       #4: african mahogany louver doors ...
Robert Member

Some say it matters yet some say it doesn't but I'm happy using warm to warmer water in a spray bottle. No need to drench the project but it does need to be wet in order to raise the grain.

If you have a chunk of Mahogany laying around the shop ya might try futzing around on it prior to going full out on the louvers......just a thought.

11/13/15       #5: african mahogany louver doors ...

Jim, you didn't say, but looks like you're using a waterbase stain? You will often hear the suggestions to wet the wood to purposely raise the grain, knock it back, and then stain. A faster and just as effective approach would be to stain and then put on the seal coat. The seal coat keeps the fibers in the raised position, making it easier to sand smooth. This works with whatever sealer you are using, shellac, nitro, etc.

11/13/15       #6: african mahogany louver doors ...
Rick Mosher  Member


It's hard to make a suggestion without knowing what kind of stain you're using or how you are applying it.

Also it depends on the quality of the louvres, sometimes they vary wildly in color in less expensive doors. (sometimes even in expensive ones)

I would mask off the louvres and stain the rails and stiles however you are doing the rest of the kitchen, apply a washcoat of sealer to set the color and then spray stain on the louvres.

Tape off the door if the stain you are using will bite into the sealer otherwise you can just wipe off the overspray.

If the louvres vary in color you can seal the stain and then tone in the offending ones.

11/13/15       #7: african mahogany louver doors ...
Paul Snyder  Member


I'm wondering what's raising the grain? That's an easy problem to avoid....

11/13/15       #8: african mahogany louver doors ...
Jim Member

I am using a Mohawk wiping stai. Seal with pre cat. Thanks

11/13/15       #9: african mahogany louver doors ...
Jim Member

Sorry seal with vinyl sealer first

11/13/15       #10: african mahogany louver doors ...
Paul Snyder  Member


Jim - I see a few different types of wiping stains on the Mohawk site but they are all solvent based and should not raise the grain. Maybe it's just the wood...(?) I've had rare cases where the wood got crazy nibs when I sprayed the sealer - see the attached picture. I just sanded carefully and re-coated. It ended up taking an extra coat - I had to sand the second coat aggressively to get it smooth.

If you use a wash coat on the wood before staining it will lighten the color quite a bit. You could replace the color with a shading stain or toner, but it will look different than the cab boxes and island. It's best to use the same steps on everything to avoid the job being rejected.

Is the wood still smooth after you wipe the stain (the grain raises when you spray the clear)? If so, try dusting the sealer on until it forms a coat that you can sand (very thin coats - just wet enough to wet the surface of the stained wood before it flashes off).

Anything come to mind that might explain why the grain is raising?

View higher quality, full size image (640 X 480)

11/14/15       #11: african mahogany louver doors ...
Jim Member

Paul, your right the stain goes on fine. Bites kind of hard but the grain raises after my first coat of sealer. I will try as you recommend dusting the first coat. Thanks to all for your suggestions.

11/14/15       #12: african mahogany louver doors ...
Paul Snyder  Member


Jim - I thought of another idea you can try. Add a little fast drying polyurethane or boiled linseed oil (BLO) to your stain. Normally you'd want to take into account that linseed oil dries slowly and can cause adhesion problems if you topcoat it too soon. But you're using vinyl sealer and that will take care of the potential problem.

A basic stain consists of a binder, pigment, and lots of solvent. The stains we use typically have a very weak binder that dries fast and doesn't seal the wood. By adding the polyurethane or drying oil, the stain will seal the wood and stop it from swelling when you apply the finish. Note that the added poly/oil binder will also glue the pigment to the wood much stronger so you won't be able to go back and easily fix streaks, drips, smears, glue spots, and scratches before you topcoat

Add the fast dry poly or BLO at 5% - 10% by volume and use the stain per usual. If you use the linseed oil, take precaution against spontaneous combustion by laying the stain rags out flat or submerging in water until the stain dries.

11/14/15       #13: african mahogany louver doors ...
Jim Conklin  Member


I recently had some cabinets made with cheap oak veneered ply come in for finishing. The grain was fine after staining, but the first coat of sealer pulled whiskers up out of the veneer. Which, of course, cut off white when we scuffed. The very thin sealer coats like Paul mentioned avoided it. I think the 'pull' of the shrinking sealer lifted the whiskers.

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