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.
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.
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.
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.