Chocolate Stain for Cherry or Maple

Burnt Umber is a good start. Or, how about switch to Walnut and go from there? February 15, 2009

Iím looking for suggestions for a chocolate stain that will be going on soft maple or cherry with a rope mold that is going to have black glazing.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From Paul Snyder, forum technical advisor:
I'd suggest you use poplar since it's pretty inexpensive compared to the other two woods you mention and no one will know the difference with such dark colors.

From contributor R:
Have you considered a burnt umber color? It looks just like Hersheyís chocolate but Iím sure does not taste just like it. A water stain or a dye stain will get you in the ball park and for the black glaze on the rope molding you could consider a lamp black color or a carbon black. Make up some samples so you know the process when it comes to doing the entire job.

From the original questioner:
Hershey is the color I am after. Isnít burnt umber more gray like a water borne stain?

From contributor R:
If youíre interested in a color thatís more on the grey side instead of the chocolate color you initially asked about you would investigate the color known as raw umber. Itís grey/greenish

All colors are available in a pure oil form that you make your own stain from or powder form for not only an oil based stain but for a water based dye stain or a solvent based stain. Itís available in a liquid dye stain thatís quite concentrated.

Unless you have knowledge with mixing and also using a true water based dye stain I would lean towards a dye stain followed by an oil stain. Most good finishing supply houses have a room full of these products and are most happy to answer your questions.

From Paul Snyder, forum technical advisor:
Maple is not easy to stain dark colors and requires a multi-step approach for best results. Cherry is not so difficult to stain a dark color, though it is prone to blotching so you have to do samples with the products you select to make sure they work well (on both solid and veneer if that's applicable).

An alternative you may want to consider is using walnut. It's already a dark color and takes dyes and stains very well. You could use one of the Minwax "walnut" colors on it and get good results. Minwax has a couple "walnut" colors. One is a cool brown and one is a warm brown (more like chocolate). Or you could use a dye on it (ILVA dark walnut) and get excellent coloring and chatoyance/shimmer/directionality.

If you go with cherry, don't use Minwax penetrating stain - too blotchy. Having ML Campbell mix the stain color for you will produce much better results. If you don't have access to a finishing supplier like ML Campbell or others, consider a good brand of gel stain. It is a lot less prone to blotching.

A 50/50 mix of Van Dyke Brown and burnt umber makes a nice "chocolate" color. But you only need to know that if you're planning to buy the stain base and pigments to mix the stain yourself. It's simpler to buy a pre-packaged stain that's the color you want.

From the original questioner:
Typically I open MW or SW and don't have experience with mixing, but that doesn't mean I canít try. I will have to check around for a supply house as I recently moved and not that familiar with everything.