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Author Topic: Victorian Blanket Chest Q  (Read 404 times)
Cmdr. Storm
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« on: December 07, 2016, 06:43:30 am »

Hey There Everyone. Recently while shopping i bought a Small Wooden Box that Looked like a Victorian Style Blanket Chest,in Unfinished Condition. I'm Wondering Which Would a Better Choice:Staining it or Painting it. the Front has on Both Sides of the Corners a Detail that Looks like Rope Trim. Which way do You think i should go & Can Anyone Point me to a Site that Could help with Further Research? Thanks for Looking.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2016, 07:42:58 am »

I for one I'm a fan of staining over painting any day. Specifically I like the stain and wax system with no polished finish of any kind, such that the wood remains as natural as possible. Whenever you have a scratch or gouge you can simply re-stain the spot, and the piece will look like new. You can choose water based or oil based stain finishes. Personally I like the Minwax stain plus finish and I prefer the oil based Minwax over the water based..

In my opinion, Paint will make the wood grain disappear, and eventually will change colour and chip off, and the piece will have to be resurfaced or repainted... unless of course you see no beauty in the wood grain, because for example, the chest is made very cheaply like some particle board, or the wood is plain ugly.
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Cmdr. Storm
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2016, 09:39:57 am »

Thanks for Responding. Should i go for a Light or Dark Stain if i go with Staining it? i was Think of either a Cherry Wood or Maple stain but I'm unsure.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2016, 12:38:02 pm »

Thanks for Responding. Should i go for a Light or Dark Stain if i go with Staining it? i was Think of either a Cherry Wood or Maple stain but I'm unsure.


Depends on the wood. Cheap pine will have some waxy streaks that are almost impossible to stain properly. That can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on the streaks. Sometimes they will look very good if the streaks look like layers, but they can look bad if the inclusions are like "blobs." So you may have to use a darker stain if you have those "blob" inclusions.

Usually the whole point of using stain is to convert the white wood into a dark wood look. But the Maple as a lighter colour is fine if that is what you want.

I've mostly used dark stain myself. It tends to make the piece look "old." I've had good luck with an orange-ish stain called "English Chestnut," but a somewhat purplish and darker stain called Red Mahogany can look more elegant, but it can get very dark after only two layers.

In general, I use the darker tones for very elaborate carved wood, and lighter colours for simpler more modern looking pieces.

Sedona Red or Redwood in Minwax can look beautiful in heavily carved woods but it is very red - sometimes too unnatural, unless that's the look you’re going for.  Minwax's "Cherry" is closer to the English Chestnut that I use - it might be more to your liking, since you mentioned using lighter colours like maple (I haven't used maple).

http://www.minwax.com/wood-products/stains-color-guide/


~ ~ ~

Tips for those who have never done it (may not be you - this is for the general reader):

The Minwax stain and finish is basically a suspension of pigment particles and wax in a solvent. The wax is kept in liquid state by the solvent. How dark the stain is depends very much on how well you shake the can before applying it. You can use that to your advantage. If you prefer a lighter colour, you can let the pigments settle a bit after shaking the can. If you need it darker, you can mix very well before opening the can and apply the stain immediately. Think of it as a type of water colour paint. I will apply 1-3 layers in intervals of 15 minutes, and let the piece dry in a well ventilated area for 7 hours OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE, or on a balcony, garage, whatever. The fumes from wood stain are not too toxic (it's not like paint solvents) but the odour is extremely strong.

The idea is that the wax is dissolved in the solvent while it has not evaporated yet, and at that point, the pigment can go into the wood pores - about 0.3 to 1.0 mm below the surface depending on the pores - so it's not like paint; the stain actually penetrates the wood a little.. The first coat is the most important one, because that determines how light or dark the stain will be.  I prefer a rag to apply it. Brushes tend to leave visible streaks. Why? As you lay one layer on top of another the wax seals the pores in the wood, so it's progressively more and more difficult to darken the colour in the subsequent layers. So make sure that the first stain is as uniform as you can make it. Only rags can do that. I often use kitchen paper towels - they work well too.

Beware, older cans of stain start changing colour, because the pigment is more concentrated at the bottom of the can, and some of the solvent has evaporated. If you're not careful, and use a really old can of stain, the orange and purple overtones I was talking about above will really jump out and look more unnatural, and make the stain look more like say, water colours or acrylic paint for example - so if a can is old and just has a little left in it - throw it away. Once you apply that first layer of stain, there is no way to remove it.

The stain finish is extremely watery - even thinner than water if it makes any sense. So it's very easy to spill and leak, and it gets everywhere on your hands and clothes, so you have to wear clothes you don’t care about. You WILL get plenty of stain on your hands. Grin Also remember that latex gloves don't do well in oil - you need to either wear gloves not made from latex - or not wear gloves at all. Don't fight it - resistance is futile -  it's a losing battle Grin

Your hands will feel sticky - or rather waxy afterwards, because that is the wax solidifying after the solvent has evaporated, and the pigment is extremely difficult to remove just by washing your hands with just hand soap and cold water. Dish Soap and warm water works better, because it starts taking off / melting the wax. The easiest way to clean up is to get all the stains off your hands BEFORE you wash with dish soap: what you need to do is use a paper towel to rub some "fresh" stain on your hands and clean it right off with a clean rag as fast as you can, because the solvent in the wet stain can help remove the wax and pigments stuck on your skin (if you didn't wear gloves that is - and again note latex doesn't react well to oil!). It's a bit like removing theatrical prosthetic make up adhesives - you use the same product to take off the dry product and rely on the clean rag to remove as much of it as you can before you can start washing hands.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2016, 01:04:02 pm by J. Wilhelm » Logged
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