Ratio of Stain to Polyurethane for custom color

Old 02-09-07, 11:21 AM
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Ratio of Stain to Polyurethane for custom color

I want to mix red mahogony and dark walnut stain with polyurethane to make my own custom color tinted poly. What would be a good ratio of stain to urethane to cover without being too colored and so it will still dry in a reasonable amount of time? Can I also dilute with mineral spirits to assist with the drying time?
Old 02-09-07, 04:05 PM
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Won't work!

You can dig the pigments out of the bottom of the stain cans and add them to the poly/varnish but just mixing stain will thin the poly more than it will tint it. If you pretty much knew what you wanted/needed you could get the paint store to tint the poly for you. Can't you get the color you want out of minwax polyshades? Maybe mixing 2 different ones together?

If it is raw wood it is always better and easier to use a reguar penetrating stain and then top coat with varnish/poly. Tinted polys are better used when you need to alter an already sealed surface. When I make my own tinted varnish/poly I usually use a little oil base paint [or same base as poly] to color it in the direction I want, sometimes I'll use the pigments from the bottom of the stain can but they usually don't add as much color.

Forget using thinner to speed up the drying time. You are better off with warm temps, low humidity and ventilation.
Old 08-22-12, 01:17 PM
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mixing poly and stain

I have been mixing poly with stain for years without difficulty. It is correct that the stain will thin the poly, but the poly also thins the stain. My experience is that a max ratio of 50/50 works, but that 25/75 seems to be better and does not affect the drying time. When doing this I always need to build the color. Each additional coat of stain & poly deepens the color. It also allows me to control the color if I have an area that is particularly difficult, like a water marked area that is darker. I also use this to change an existing color. In historic houses the pine trim will have a bit of red tint to the finish. By adding a coat of 20/80 traditional cherry & poly I can put a hint of red in a dark oak floor and make it work better with the trim. I always finish with a clear coat of poly to provide a harder finish coat and protect the stain coat from wear.

All that being said, if you have the stain color you want, why would you not simply apply it to the floor in the traditional manner followed by the poly?

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