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moogs

How to finish baltic birch in a dark stain

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Hey there,

Rather new to woodworking and finishing - have some small projects I wanted to try out before I dove in head first.  I'm a big board gamer and I have a few wooden inserts for some of my game, made by the folks over at the Broken Token.

The inserts are made out 1/8" baltic birch and sanded, then laser cut.  I'd like to finish a few of them in a dark ebony type stain, but my first few attempts have looked miserable.  Lighter stains seem to work better, but there are a few I'd really like to do some high contrast light/dark stains, but the ones I've tried just don't look that good - to the point I'm almost considering just painting them.  I've attached a picture of one done in a black walnut finish.

Looking for any suggestions on how to get a better finish on this type of wood.

 

 

blackwalnut.jpg

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I don't think it is even possible to make BB look good with a dark stain. Carefully spraying on dye will get the most even result, but it'll still look gross. Better off painting them the color of your choice.

Or just use a clear finish. It looks pretty good that way.

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I tried dyes and stains on birch before and couldn't get anything I was happy with.  You may try a dewaxed shellac base coat then apply a gel stain over.  Might pick up some extra birch ply at the home center, they often have thin stuff in smaller hobby sized sheets for testing finishes. 

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I agree with Mike, a gel stain is probably the closest you'll get, though even that may not give you the result you want. Keep in mind that plywood is rotary cut (shaved off the log), rather than sawn like solid lumber, so you end up with a lot of weird pore structures and variations in the surface.

I have a can of the same Watco Danish Oil+stain, I've never had luck with it. Always ends up blotchy, no matter what wood I try applying it to.

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Thanks everyone! ( That was a fast response. :) )

I'll grab some gel stain and see how it goes, otherwise I'll just fall back to painting it for the few boxes where I wanted the high contrast.

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I echo what these guys said.  I made some Cajon drums from BB and dyed them using oil based paints mixed with danish oil and made one with natural danish oil.  Even the natural one came out looking a little weird, its like you can see the glue lines from the under layers through the finish.  For drums that will get used and abused I didnt care, but definitely will watch out if I make something else.

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The best way to make wood black I have found is to dye stain it with some Homestead Finishes Transtint Black, let dry a day or two apply a second transtint coat and then stain it with oil based General Finishes Gel stain Black.  You may want to let it dry another day and apply a second gel stain coat.  After that dry's a day, I apply General Finishes Arm-r-Seal Satin, probably will take 5 or 6 coats with a day to dry between each.

Try it on a piece of scrap and see how you like it.

The above method works better on poplar than baltic birch to produce solid jet black wood.

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I'll add a vote to some gel stain.  I love the stuff.  I finish a lot of plywood boxes (Lowes birch) in all sorts of different colors.  Gel stain has been very easy, to the point that I haven't really tried anything else!

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1 hour ago, Finishing BB Plywood said:

Anyone ever try a Sanding sealer before staining??

 

Old thread most of the people have moved on. Yes sanding sealer has been tried it doesn't fully solve the problem. Best way is to load up an hvlp with dye and spray an even coat. It's the only fool proof way to color blotch prone wood.

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