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 Stains and Grains
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 10:29:02 PM on 24 June 2017.
Vintage Pete's avatar
 Location: Albury, NSW
 Member since 1 May 2016
 Member #: 1919
 Postcount: 2045

Stains and Grains

Hi all,
This will be my last post on information before I start the Cabinet Restoration which will be in my next post.
My previous posts are

: identifying and knowing your veneer
: paint stripper Awareness
: Grains and Stains
: How to determine what finish is on your Cabinet

These Can now all be found in the Cabinet Repair column of this forum
I would recommend you read those before following me through the next post when I start working on the restoring of the Cabinet .
I say this because there is chemical steps and a basic understanding of the procedure that we need to be clear about before continuing to the next steps of Restoring a Cabinet.
So please have a read , I dont want to hear on the Grape vine that Grannies cookoo clock that came out on the first fleet is now in the Otto Bin and you were cut out of inherenting the Estate,because something was missed in the restoration. 😢

Ok Stains and Grains.
If you're planning a full strip down of a Radio or TV Cabinet
You will have to stain it again and there is an Abundance of different types of stains to chose from even at that terrible Bunnings place,but there is a few things you need to understand about what base they are ,,and whether its a Dye Stain or a Pigment stain? ,because they both give a completely different appearance to the finish of your cabinet.


Gell stains and water stains!
Yep safe to use water base , great for craft ,very easy to use, Just wipe on and wipe off and the greenies probably love it !
But , The colour FADES!
6 months ?, 5 years ? Who knows it depends on the lighting in the room or if its near a window etc etc etc.

I'm old school and I dont use them at all. I only do traditional finishes and I make my own Stains and Grain fillers anyway . But if I'm going to buy a Stain, The first one I'm going to look for first is CRAFTMANS STAIN BY WATTYL. Its been around for donkey years and the results are predictable. If its too strong for your needs ,just buy the Reducer for it. Always try the stain first on a scrap bit of wood first to ensure its the colour and Tone your wanting to achive .To do this find a old scrap bit of wood thats as close to the colour of the veneer on your cabnet.


There are two types of Stains and they both work very differently, neither is right or wrong as it depands on the timber ,the colour, the grain the match of the 4 sides of the cabinet and the condition and also the desired look you have pictured in your mind of how you want the cabnet to look.


This type of Stain is transparent and penetrates deep into the timber and when the clear coats go on top of it ,,it still remains transparent in its colour allowing you to see through it.
This type of Stain hides nothing and is a beautiful stain to use on a cabinet that is very good condition.
You would be using this to enhance all the grain in the veneer. On the other end of the scale if you're cabinet is covered in sanding marks,, putty patch ups,,, Then their going to stick out like dogs balls if you use a Dye Stain.


This type of stain is basically made from dirt and it does not penatrate as deep into the Timber as a Dye Stain.
Pigment Stains have an opaquness to them which is handy for blocking out ugly grains or lessing the grainy look, They are also handy if your cabnet timber is not one even colour on all sides.
Used in the right hands and not over done they can work well,,,,put too much on and the Cabinet will look like smeared paint.


If you strip a cabnet than the Grain filler will be lost as well.
Its important to take notes of the colour of the Grain filler if the cabnet is to appear the way it did originally
The grain filler does the following

: Fills the pores in the timber so we can get a flat plane to work on and a even final finish.

: Gives us the opportunity to create contrast, by choosing a different colour other than the Stain we are going to use.

: it also gives the timber a general colour tone and you can chop and change that to suit you.

: A Grain filler can also be used to block out grain or hide it by choosing a colour similarly to the colour or the timber.

Im going to try and show you this with an experiment and 2 photos, but the problem is I only have a tablet so the photos do not show like they would in real life, but lets have a crack at it anyway.

Here we have a piece of scrap Tassie oak veneer so we cut it in half.
On one half we use a mid brown grain filler.

On the other half we use a pinkish grain filler.

We then wipe them over roughly using the same oak stain and then a bit of Danish to seal it.
Keep in mind this is just a rough test and not a proper finish

If we look at the first photo you will see that the grain is going to be very vivid and a lot of it,,, with detail .

On the second photo you will notice,, Its less and not as vivid and the general colour has also changed .

We are looking at this on a tiny bit of scrap , if we were looking at a large area like a cabnet the difference would be Huge.

This is why it is so important to take notes of the finish before we strip it !
: What colour grain filler is it??
: What type of stain did they use?
: Can I see through the stain?
: Does it look opaque?

 photo 20170624_121346_zpsgv2una2q.jpg

 photo 20170624_121238_zpsswcnn079.jpg

Now I'm afraid I can only suggest one type of Grain filler to use and that is TIMBER MATE. I say this because it is compatible with just about everything! Plus not only does it come in a range of colours it also comes in a white so you can tint it or mix and match to get what colour you're looking for.

We use Metho on timber to clean the timber or neutralise after a process like strippers etc etc,
We also use it for anther reason and that is it doesn't open grain as it evaporate fast.
Water will open the grain on the Timber and it will also make the timber fluffy and it will need to be filled and sanded again !!!!

Vinegar for neutralising???
Leave it at woolies please !
1 it opens grain
2 it is a mild bleach
Just dont go there. Leave it to the greenies


Every time we are fixing a veneer or laying a veneer ,because its too brittle unless its nice and damp.
Or when we are making coffee which I'm going to do right now.
I hope you got something out of our chat,Pete

 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 7:22:27 AM on 25 June 2017.
Clive Durham's Gravatar
 Location: Grenfell, NSW
 Member since 8 July 2015
 Member #: 1771
 Postcount: 212

This is great Pete, look forward to the next installment.


 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 8:36:40 AM on 25 June 2017.
STC830's Gravatar
 Location: NSW
 Member since 10 June 2010
 Member #: 681
 Postcount: 1007

Good stuff - the right mixture of how to do it and why.

 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 4:34:09 PM on 25 June 2017.
Vintage Pete's avatar
 Location: Albury, NSW
 Member since 1 May 2016
 Member #: 1919
 Postcount: 2045

Thank you all,

I'm glad you found it of interest.
Well I have a cabinet picked out and its ready to start. Its 60 years old and original. It has crazing /checking, missing veneer,
Broken veneer, fading, loss of colour, loss of finish, stains.
All the things you would find when restoring radio or TV cabinets so it should be a bit of fun and I will post that through the week.

 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 7:28:58 PM on 25 June 2017.
Fred Lever's Gravatar
 Location: Toongabbie, NSW
 Member since 19 November 2015
 Member #: 1828
 Postcount: 923

Yes please Pete!
Just what I want to see.

 Return to top of page · Post #: 6 · Written at 9:29:16 PM on 3 February 2018.
Truebluepiper's Gravatar
 Location: Coomera, QLD
 Member since 3 February 2018
 Member #: 2207
 Postcount: 3

Hi Pete.
I just joined this site and quickly skimmed over what you have written.
I applaude you for sharing your insight and expertise so that we can have a much better understanding.

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