I’m trying to get what is called espresso by my wife.
It’s a really dark brown almost heading towards black.
The material I have is CVG doug fir. I put a couple of coat of #2 blond shellac on it. Very light coats like a sanding sealer.
I was hoping to get the color by using a garnet shellac and trans-tint. Just wondering if this works well or not? I think I have read that transtint works well in shellac?
I have used Transtint by mixing it with a little alcohol and stirring it into shellac. It works well. Just do some testing to get the color you want.
General Finishes has a water based pigment stain called espresso. It is the only espresso approved by my wife...
I have likewise used General Finishes Espresso on a number of projects. I like some more red undertones, so I apply a light coat of red first.
The point that I have been contemplating is how to deal with the fact that you jumped the gun on the finishing process with the shellac. Two coats of 2# cut shellac has pretty well sealed the surface. You will eliminate the striped effect often achieved on fir, but have limited the options to get to a really dark finish. The pigmented stains mentioned, if applied properly will only add a very moderate bit of color--most of the pigment will just be wiped off when you wipe down the stain. Dye won't take over that much sealer, either.
With spray equipment it would be fairly straight forward to use the tinted shellac as a toner to build up to the darkness you need. Hard to get even by hand. I think I'd actually recommend that you apply a coat or two of oil based enamel in a color very close to the final shade you want. You can then achieve a bit of greater depth by using a coat or two of toned shellac over the paint. If you want to add some shading effects you might use a glazing liquid tinted with a dark pigment.
Alternatively, you could use copious amounts of denatured alcohol, DNA, to remove substantially all the shellac, until the wood is bare enough to accept dye mixed with water soluble powder. That would allow you to get to your basic dark shade. A coat or two of gel stain over that, either directly or after it has been given one coat of shellac as a sealer.
The message has to be work out the entire finishing schedule on scraps of the project wood before you apply any finishing material to the project it self.
the reason I jumped the gun is I don't want the stripes. the difference between early and late wood on fir is probamatic if you don't want stripes.<!----><!----><!---->
I have plenty of scrap to work it out on.<!----><!---->
I have experimented with some general finish gel based glaze; java I believe was the color. it was pretty close to what she wanted with 3 coats. <!----><!---->
the problem I'm running into is the underlying red tone is tough to beat. she wants it more black/brown and it's more red/brown. <!----><!---->
I’m not sure the garnet shellac and trans tint are going to help… the garnet shellac has a orange/brown that seems to help the red come through. I might be better off with blond shellac and black trans tint?<!----><!---->
I can see why professional shops have dedicated finish people who are speciliazed in this type of thing. It’s really a lot of work trying to get the color where you want it. <!----><!---->
Have you used an oil based enamel that you liked? Are you suggesting oil based enamel paint thinned down?<!----><!---->
Sleepydad... It's way too late for this project, but the choice of fir was your first mistake knowing that you wanted an espresso finish. Wenge would have been most appropriate since its natural color is what you want. But there are a lot of other hardwoods out there that would take a stain or dye really nicely. Fir is a beautiful wood but is best left natural.I wish that I had another suggestion for you to try. Steve has pointed out the obstacles and paths to take. I will encourage you to prepare a stack of sample boards with finish just as you've already done to the project. Then experiment with these until you have a plan of action. Don't be afraid to try anything/any approach with them... its their job.
I did not know I wanted an espresso finish. I'm not going to go there.
yes I agree 100%; I always try to pick a wood with the closest natural color to the finial color. I have dug through many of lumber pile looking for color match/grain patterns.
spray equipment would be nice... but I don't have that option.
Agree with earlier posts about the issue with the existing shellac. I'm almost finished with modular cabinets for my kids playroom. Used poplar and used the following process with excellent results (possible future reference):
- Transtint dye (dark walnut but the java brown is another option)
- Linsser Sanding-Sealer dewaxed shellac (light coat)
- Sand nubs/buff
- 2 coats of General Dark Walnut Gel Stain
- 3 coats of General Arm-R-Seal topcoats
Very pleased with results and very dark. Some parts of the solid poplar top had heavy green and some purple streaks - absolutely not noticeable. Some grain but not the look I was going for. End result is very comparable to the espresso finish that your SWMBO desires.
you've already had plenty of advice on how to deal with the shellac so I won't pile on.For the color, think about working with dye in 2 phases, first tint down to a neutral color and then tint up to your desired finish color. I'm particularly fond of the Transtint Lemon Yellow (6020B) for going down, and for espresso I like walnut (6005) or dark mission brown (6006). Arguably this tinting down step isn't necessary because you already have a pretty neutral base material, but I would contend that the final product will be improved by doing it nonetheless.I've had really good results tinting with the Dk Mission Brown, flooding the surface and allowing the dye to penetrate deeply, then going with some orange shellac and maybe even a gel stain coat to bring out highlights before my clear finish coat. But this is where the shellac you already have presents a problem. Several folks have recommended a gel stain on top of the shellac. I think this will work well but it's probably not going to give you the color you, 'er your wife, wants. You are attempting to dramatically change the color of the base material, which is already sealed, while gel stain is best for highlighting natural colors and evening out inconsistencies. In my opinion, you need to strip off the shellac and dye the wood to get the color necessary for final approval. Best of luck, I certainly wouldn't be happy with having to do it either but wives being wives, well it just is what it is.
espresso finish on Oak dresser
my son in law and i are trying to stain an old solid oak dresser to match an espresso crib. I attempted to teach him how to strip and prepare the piece for stain. After 2 coats of the darkest stain we could find at Lowes (he had gift cards there and I'm trying for this to be HIS project) which was a Minwax oil based dark walnut, the piece now looks beautiful but certainly not like the espresso crib. We need to get it much darker and possibly so dark that the graining of the oak tones down a bit.
Can we tint or stain (maybe with a better oil based stain) over the oil based stain to achieve this (there is no finish and it wasn't gel stain)? (really hate to make him strip the piece again) I feel now after 2 coats that it's not going to get much darker with this dark walnut.
The baby is due in a couple of weeks so I'd really appreciate the quickest method to achieve espresso.
With spray equipment you would spray several coats of a toned finish material to darken and obscure grain. Without it, I would seal what you have with a coat or two of shellac (SealCoat or other dewaxed shellac), scuff sand evenly, and then use an application of a dark gel stain to darken the surface further. Trying just to pile on stain doesn't work because the binder isn't very strong a base for the top coat.
With time travel, you would have started by stripping the old finish, being sure to get all the old finish, and stirpper residue stripped off, and then you would have used an aniline dye to get to or almost to the dark color you want. But, dye only works on bare wood. The seal the dye layer, apply a thin coat of gel stain and wipe it off very well before topcoating and you have a dark, and rich finish.
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