3 Great Tips for Finishing Mahogany

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  1. Prepare the wood surface as you normally would by sanding to 180 or 220 grit
  2. 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)
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. Apply a coat of Zinsser Sealcoat after the dye is dry. Work quickly and do not let it drip or pool.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

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