- Prepare the wood surface as you normally would by sanding to 180 or 220 grit
- Prepare the dye by diluting it by 50% with water in a mixing container. Apply the dye. If by hand, use a big sponge so you can work fast and cover a lot of area. Try not to let the dye pool up anywhere (wipe it if does pool)
- Let it dry, then lightly sand with a fine grit sanding sponge to knock down raised grain and to even out the color a bit
- Repeat dye & sanding until you’re happy with the shade. Two key things: First, dried dye looks dull and ugly – don’t be alarmed, keep going. Second, rest of the finishing process will darken the dye color, so don’t go too dark. Test.
- Apply a coat of Zinsser Sealcoat after the dye is dry. Work quickly and do not let it drip or pool.
- After it has dried, you may lightly and carefully scuff sand the sealer if it developed nibs or bumps. Be cautious not to sand through the dye. TIP: instead of sandpaper, try a synthetic abrasive finishing pad, also known as synthetic steel wool.
- Mix Old Masters Woodgrain Filler with a dark brown oil stain. In this example that’s Zar Early American. Use a 2:1 ratio, 2 parts filler to one part stain.
- Apply this tinted Woodgrain Filler with a rag, brush, or scraper to work it into the pores of the wood. Follow directions on the can. Let it dry for about 5 minutes, the scrape it off moving across or diagonal to the grain.
- Allow the filler to dry about 4 hours. Do another application if the grain is not filled to your satisfaction. It can also be sanded if necessary.
- Apply the topcoat of choice. The sample above is finished off with another 3 coats of Zinsser SealCoat, sanded between each one with 220 grit. And then it’s sprayed with 3 coats of lacquer, also sanded between each coat.
- Buff and polish when the top coat is ready.
2. Staining Mahogany The Right Way
Left to right: Zar oil stain “Merlot” color; Old Masters Penetrating Oil Stain ‘Dark Mahogany” color; Old Masters Gel Stain “Cherry” color.