What's a great stain and finish for Tiger Oak?


Old 12-14-05, 02:32 PM
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Question What's a great stain and finish for Tiger Oak?


My wife and I have recently become very interested in antique furniture and purchased a rare, old secretary desk from a bargain barn. After pulling it out from under the boxes and behind other stuff and dusting it off, it revealed a beautiful (well, not in its present condition) solid Tiger Oak. I had never seen a wood like that before. I stripped it and stained it with a Red Mahogany oil stain which I feel like I left on for too long and made it darker than I would have liked. Then, I applied Formby's tung oil finish in two coats which I did not wipe off. The result is still a beautiful shiny,dark,red mahogany antique secretary desk that looks great to someone who knows nothing of the sort, but I would like to be able to have a true conniseur be able to view it and observe it as a true masterpiece! I am already planning for another weekend of stripping-drying, re-stripping-drying, paint thinner then mineral spirits, staining-drying and finally refinishing.
I would like the desk to keep its old antique look but making it look nice and in good shape as well. Mainly, I want the Tiger Oak itself to do all the work in showcasing it's natural beauty. I want the woods black,orange and brown colors to show, not just the whole thing looking reddish, but I dont want it to be a light color either though. I need for you to suggest a few different types of stain that I could use to achieve the results that I am looking for. Or maybe I should'nt stain it and just finsh it? Like I said before, amateurs think it looks great, but that is not the crowd that I seek validation from. Help!
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Old 12-16-05, 04:57 PM
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My favorite finish for natural oak is a linseed oil, poly, mineral spirits blend. It soaks into the grain, leaves a natural finish and really brings out the grain. It's a hard finish and resist water, etc. It requires six coats, and I don't know the exact recipe (its in an old post, but if you can't find it I can go through my files). The first 3 coats are cut by 1/2 with additional mineral spirits, and slathered on and then wiped off. The second three coats are put on with VERY fine steel wool and rubbed in, then wiped off before getting too sticky. Fab finish for oak and heart pine--okay for mahogany too.
Old 12-18-05, 05:01 PM
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Try the following chemistry lab on some scrap red oak (which is all tiger oak is--- see below). This will give you the antique look ***real*** fast.

Take a cup of vinegar and a wad of steel wool, soak the wool for a couple days to make this disgusting reddish soup. Filter it with a paint filter (cheap at paint supply places). Oak reacts very starkly with ferrous oxide (rust), which replicates the aged look.

Wipe a small amount on a scrap piece of oak. It will quickly darken to nearly black. If this is too dark, dilute it with 25% water, do it again. Dilute again, and again, and again (keep good track of your dilutions so you can replicate it). Select a color that is a shade or two **lighter*** than you'd want, b/c polyurethane will darken it a bit more.

Sand the whole table raw (don't get over anal, leave a few darker spots here and there, make it look nice and aged and well used). Apply your swamp crud, wipe clean. Allow to dry, topcoat with three coats of polyurethane.

NOTE that you will no longer be able to sell this as a true "antique" without disclosing to the purchaser that it was refinished with a modern finish. To be called a true antique, so I've been told by a friend that refinished, an antique MUST be refinished with the same stuff it was done with to begin with, which is usually shellac or some oil.

Tiger oak is the same as red oak, but it's "quartersawn". All red oak has those striking markings, you just can't see them! To get the ray flitches to show, you have to cut the wood a certain way. If you find some oak, particularly a 4X4 post, two of the sides may well show the flitches and the other two won't.

Tiger oak is more pricey because it's pretty and b/c when you quartersaw a tree you get less wood (b/c more waste) and the wood tends to be more narrow.

Enjoy your table--- I rarely see a quartersawn table in my area, and it lookes lovely when done properly!
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