To stain or not to stain...


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Old 12-04-06, 08:21 PM
L
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To stain or not to stain...

Help! My son and I are remodeling a house, and I need some advise. He is really a pretty good carpenter but is not (by his own admission) a painter/wood finisher. We've installed new maple, shaker style cabinets in the kitchen which are great looking without any finish. I can't wait to see how they look with a finish. The question is, how to finish them. My original plan was to leave them natural and use a satin, oil based polyurethane only. There are a few dark streaks (my son calls them "character") that he believes would benefit from a light stain. I'd like to have your advise and opinions about stain vs. natural with polyurethane finish.

Also, I'll be doing whatever finish is done, and I've never done any staining or polyurethane application to speak of. Does anyone have words of wisdom about applications or a good website to learn more about it?

Thanks for any help you can give.
 
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Old 12-05-06, 03:54 AM
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I tend to agree that stain is good at enhancing the natural grain of any wood. Maple can be awfully light, when finished but not stained, but most shaker pieces I see are usually stained maple(a color not to be confused with the wood, never understood that). But staining is a personal choice.
 
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Old 12-05-06, 05:00 AM
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I think maple looks best unstained. it will darken a touch with age and the poly will add some yellow to it.

as for applicators, spraying is best if you can, but a good china brush is great for brushing. spend the money on a brush, don't buy the cheapest thing the store has or you will regret it. Go to your local paint store to find a good poly. there you should find knowledgeable personnel and good products.
 
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Old 12-05-06, 05:08 AM
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Staining can even out the different colors you mentioned. Regardless of whether you add color to the wood (ie stain), you should seal it with a couple of coats of poly to prevent splatters and other such liquid contamination from penetrating the wood.
 
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Old 12-05-06, 05:17 AM
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It may be easier for you to just use polyurathane and not have to worry with stain. Stain needs to be applied evenly and should be dry before applying the poly/sealer. Stain can be difficult to touch up after the fact. Any mistakes in a clear finish can be fixed by simply sanding and recoating.

BTW - welcome to the forums
 
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Old 12-05-06, 05:52 AM
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Maybe try wipe-on poly? It's not as durable but it's very easy to apply and you really can't mess up...
 
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Old 12-05-06, 11:03 AM
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Thanks a bunch

Thanks for all the good input. I think I'll return to my original thought/plan and not stain. I intended to go with a poly/seal on the natural maple, and I think that's what I'll do. I don't have a sprayer and no experience with one, so I'm sure I'll hand apply. I need more durability than a wipe on application, so I'll go with a good brush method. Does anyone have the definitive word on water vs. oil poly? Most everyone I've talked to locally says oil, satin finish. Any further suggestions are welcome.
 
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Old 12-05-06, 02:35 PM
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Oil base poly is more durable than the waterbase. It will highlight the natural wood colors some and amber with age, waterbase will do neither.
The 3 basic sheens are satin, semi-gloss and gloss. Oil base tends to be slightly shinier than it's waterbase counterpart. Chose the one you prefer. You can change your mind after the first of second coat, just get the poly in a different sheen. Always sand lightly between coats.
 
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Old 12-05-06, 06:02 PM
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While oil based is a little more durable and I think a little easier to use, I think the biggest reason to choose one over the other is color - water base poly won't change the color while oil base will add some orange.
 
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Old 12-06-06, 12:59 AM
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You guys are just the best! Oil base it is. I like the durability and the color it will add. Thanks again for the wisdom.
 
 

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