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Completely stain red oak wood

Michael R Member

I need advice on how I can completely stain red oak wood BLACK. I have been using General Finishes black oil gel stain and the only way I can get the red oak wood completely black is by applying 4 to 5 coats. What am I missing? Is there a way I can get the red Oak black without spending so much time and money?

I don't want to paint it black and with so many coats of primer essentially hiding the oak grain.

Thank you, group!

5/8/22       #2: Completely stain red oak wood ...

If you want it black..
Paint it black...!

The grain will still show!

5/8/22       #3: Completely stain red oak wood ...

I would use 2 part wood bleach. Neutralize with vinegar. Try your gel stain or go with an alcohol dye.

5/8/22       #4: Completely stain red oak wood ...
Michael R Member

Pete, Just so that I am absolutely clear about what you are saying.
Use 2 part wood bleach with water
THEN use STRAIGHT vinegar to neutralize the bleached oak wood
THEN use the General Finishes Gel Stain???

5/8/22       #5: Completely stain red oak wood ...

I use a 2 part wood bleach where you mix part A and B. Apply that directly to the oak with out any extra water. Let it sit for a night. This takes the red out. I then neutralize the bleach with thined out vinegar. I'll mix maybe 10 parts water with 1 part vinegar. Maybe someone else can chime in on this water to vinegar ratio. Im guessing your gel stain will do what you want color wise after you get out all the red. With using bleach and vinegar, I know you can have some issues with your top coat. I have used shellac and regular nitro lac over it without issues. Your pre cats and cats may have issues but may not if you use a vinyl sealer...

5/8/22       #6: Completely stain red oak wood ...
Michael R Member

I'll probably just paint it black because I don't want any problems with my water-based lacquer finishing. I switched from solvent-based lacquers a few years ago.

You know it's funny I did a project like this a few years ago without any problems but the difference was I used white oak. I guess I'm getting old. I'm going to do a test sample tomorrow just using white oak and if that does the trick. If so I'll just go get four sheets of the white oak.

5/8/22       #7: Completely stain red oak wood ...

Black leather dye is what I use for a hard black dye. Many dyes end up with a bit of blue showing under direct lighting.

5/8/22       #8: Completely stain red oak wood ...
Leo G Member

Black dye. Black stain, clear coat, black toner, clear coat.

If you can find a black based on green it would be better than a black based with blue because it will kill the red in the oak.

5/12/22       #9: Completely stain red oak wood ...
Dave Edgerton  Member

I agree with Leo. It's the only correct way and that is how we do it. Solvent based black dye, not water based

5/21/22       #10: Completely stain red oak wood ...

I would just stain is black, thin my sealer 100%, 1 coat to lock in. Scuff with fine sanding sponge. Make a shader.....1 ounce or 2 TBL Lamp Black 844 IC, 10 ounces of sealer, then 20 ounces lacquer thinner (1 quart formulae). Shade everything, not tone, shade.......until straight black. Seal 2 passes with the thinned sealer. Now you are black with hardly any film build. Add the Lamp black to your topcoat to make a toner the topcoat like normal. This would be my approach for a solvent system.

5/21/22       #11: Completely stain red oak wood ...
Michael R Member

Sorry group I was out of touch since I originally posted my question until now. I just read Leo's and that's exactly what I did last week and the customer approved my sample. I put General Finishes black gel stain over Gen. Finishes black dye and it turned the red oak black. I finished the sample with clear coat lacquer and it really came out sharp. Not a lot of effort but I did prep the sample with 120 and 150 sandings then I water dampened to raise the grain then sanded 220 and 320 then I applied the black dye and black stain following with clear coat.

5/21/22       #12: Completely stain red oak wood ...

We used MLC Woodsong solvent based black dye/stain to do an entire downstairs white oak flooring of a large high end house.. That was about 20 years ago. It was very black.

Woodsong is a very good product.

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