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Raising the grain before staining

pascal stgelais


I am used to use water based stain and they always gave me great results.

Since I now use prof. systems I am using solvent wiping stain and they often color the wood very lightly even when sanding to 120 gritt. Sometime its like the stain just sits on the wood forever waiting to be wiped off completly.

I read that raising the grain( and not sandind) darken wiping stains a lot. Is it a common thing with solvent stains

is there also any advantage doing it with dye or is it only with pigment?

6/18/20       #3: Raising the grain before staining ...
pascal stgelais

I forgot to add that my dye are sprayed. if that makes any difference and they are NGR acetone ( mohawk ultra penetrating).

6/19/20       #4: Raising the grain before staining ...
Daniel Shafner Member

Your dye stains penetrate the wood whether you raise the grain or not, it all depends how much you flood the dye on or not. Dry spray - the dye evaporates very quickly - has a different coloring effect than does full penetrationm of the dye as if you were to brush it on, did the piece, or apply it with a rag that's fully soaked in the dye.

If you use a pigmented wiping stain, pigments sit on top of the wood and in the sand scratches of the wood and in the pores of the wood. Like applying makeup to the face (dyes are more like getting a tan because the dyes enter the wood cells, pigments sit on top).

If you are using pigmented stains, then yes, opening up the wood with a lightly sprayed mix of 50/50 alcohol/water will let your pigments do more coloring because there will be more places for the pigments to sit.

There's a trade-off. The more pigment, the less transparency. Dyes are very transparent. Pigments are less transparent, but it's best to talk about overall clarity of the coloring because it's unlikely that you will be "painting out" the wood just because you used a pigmented stain.

If you get a chance, apply your dye stain and lock it in with a washcoat that has only 3% - 5% solids content (very thin, but enough to lock it in. Scuff that washcoat lightly with 329 grit sandpaper, sanding with the grain, just a little heavier than letting the sandpaper kiss the wood. Then, apply your pigmented wiping stain. Wipe on and wipe off. Youll get much more even coloring, much nicer depth to your stained wood when you look at it with a clear topcoat.

On youtube, look up the finishing/staining videos from Behlen. They used to be Mohawk's sister company but they're no longer in business. The video uploads from them are short and excellent for purposes of explanations and for demonstrations.

6/19/20       #5: Raising the grain before staining ...
pascal stgelais

Thanks for your answer daniel.

what has brougt me to bwgin experimenting was that solvent stain have always given me deceiving results when compared to water based stains.

I did not have time to experiment a lot but made a sample with birch and ash wiping half with damp cloth and the difference is day and night.

even when sanding with coarse grits there seem to always be a bit of burnishing. especially when using grain fillers such as timbermate.

I am wondering if it is a common thing in proff. finishing to raise the grain before pigment stain since it takes more time but gives much richer color.

on a side note I am trying to kill a bit of the shiny/metallic effect of dyes. does making the grain rougher with a damp cloth remove some of that effect.

I am experimenting but using others experience is alwqys beneficial to me.

6/20/20       #6: Raising the grain before staining ...
Daniel Shafner Member

I don't think that raising the grain will get rid of the metallic look to your dye stain.

Are you spraying on the dye stain? Full strength?

Regarding raising the grain, that step is usually done prior to working with waterbase finishes or using bleach or oxalic acid. Wetting the wood is a little different than using a 50/50 mix of water and alcohol to open the wood up, that water/alcohol because this mix is usually applied with a spray bottle, a plant mister versus sponging on water. You will still need to de-whisker the wood, get rid of the fuzzies.

The yellow tones of the woods will interact with your black dye stain and give you a greenish cast, more or less, depending on the amount of dye stain you're using.

Instead of using Mohawk's pigmented #0224 lamp black wiping stain, get some Chromaflo jet black 844-9959 and make yor own stain or toner.

You might consider bleaching your woods, do a double application (bleach, and then bleach again. Use Daly's Part A/Part B bleach. Neutralize with white vinegar.

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