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Water based finish on natural red oak


Hello there. Curiosity has gotten the best of me. The next kitchen I have to build is natural red oak. Not difficult, but I use gf water based finishes and am having trouble getting the amber tone of an oil based finish. Natural oak with enduro poly on it does not leave much for looks, so I have been making sample boards with enduro var, but with three coats it looks very dark. I also tried a board with natural oil based finish and top coated with poly, but that does not look dark enough. Wondering what others are using on oak to get a nice amber look using water based finish. Any help would be appreciated.

11/14/16       #2: Water based finish on natural red o ...

more than one way to crack that egg; my #1 approach is to seal with Seal Coat ( for a little more age blend in some amber shellac). #2 is seal with a coat of Dalys pro-fin (fast dry penetrating urethane modified tung oil) #3 make a toner with raw sienna adding just a bit of burnt umber . #4 make a toner with orange dye and a tiny amout of brown dye if needed. note; Amber shellac has some wax in it which could cause fish-eyes or adhesion issues with a wb finish though I have never expeienced either.

11/14/16       #3: Water based finish on natural red o ...

Thanks for reply nick. I did try a toner using Jeff jewitts dyes but it didn't work the best. I use a satin topcoat finish and had some problems with uniform mixing. I called Jeff and he said toners dissolve best in gloss finishes and I don't like that much shine on kitchen cabinets. I will try some of your other suggestions on some sample boards. Thanks again

11/14/16       #4: Water based finish on natural red o ...
DanShaf Member

Build your finish with gloss, and only topcoat with your sheen-adjusted coating.

Or spray your dye stain on first. Use denatured alcohol or acetone as your vehicle to carry the stain.

11/15/16       #5: Water based finish on natural red o ...

Its hard to beat the Sealcoat with or without transtint as a sealer/toner coat under clear waterbornes.

Not that it can't be done other ways.

The Sealcoat makes it really easy. Too often no matter what you do with the wb red oak has that dipped in plastic look.

11/17/16       #6: Water based finish on natural red o ...

Try GF's light brown dye diluted roughly 4-1 with H20. Add a 1/2 ounce+/- of GF orange dye per gallon of sealer and poly topcoat to get a more solvent look. Top coat with a flat sheen to get away from the plastic look.


11/17/16       #7: Water based finish on natural red o ...
gary peterson

you guys are going to kill me, I've had good results spraying with minwax polycrylic satin, three lights plastic look...

11/17/16       #9: Water based finish on natural red o ...

Gary,...I'd be looking over the shoulder for a year or so until this public announcement on woodweb of Minwax use fades from our memories...

11/18/16       #10: Water based finish on natural red o ...

Everyone's standards are different.

Gary please read the plethora of posts on Minwax Helmsman before using that product.

I've only used Polyacrylic once about 20 yrs ago. Perhaps its better...

11/22/16       #11: Water based finish on natural red o ...
gary peterson

Thanks guys, I'm a non industrial guy who might spray once a year. I'll be watching.

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