Gel stain for mission finish QS oak
Let me start by saying I have never done a mission finish and I am attempting it on a QS white oak mantel. I have been trying Jeff Jewitt’s mission receipes on scrap using reddish brown Transtint, followed by one coat Waterlox original then Bartleys walnut gel stain. I seem to have a problem with the gel stain. If I let it set up for 5 min it seems to darken everything. If I let it set up 2-3 min it looks better but has small areas that don’t take up the gel in the pores on some scraps and does fine on others. I am wiping it on across the grain and wiping it off with the grain. The Bartleys gel stain seems to set up very quickly. Any thought on how long to leave it on before wiping it off or am I doing something wrong? Also, I plan to finish with several coats of 1 part Waterlox satin mixed with 2 parts Waterlox original. Before the final coat should I sand it? If so what grit/technique? With all the time/expense in this mantel, if I mess the finish up I am going to jump off the mantel head first. Thanks for your help.
Have you tried fuming the white oak? Messy perhaps, but that was the original way to achieve the "mission" finish. Lots of resources on the internet regarding technique. I am told (have not tried this) that household strength ammonia works okay when the whole bit is tented and left a little longer than with "blueprinter's ammonia".
Just a thought.
I have used Transtint dark brown, with a wipe-off with a alcohol soaked rag that was wrung out hard. I have also used M.L. Campbell Woodsong II microtons (cordovan and walnut mixed, sprayed and the wiped off as above
I thought about fuming the oak but that thought quickly left me when I thought of the fuming tent mess. Appreciate your input. I am going to experiment with some more scrap wood using the trans tint and a different glaze.
I have some red oak fuming with lemon flavored ammonia. (The only kind available at Safeway). It has turned color but not the pretty, dark mission color. Just greyish. It's been there over a week. Hmm, maybe I'll stain it anyway.
Before you stain it, wipe it down with mineral spirits to see what it'll look like with a finish. It may be closer than you think. Even fumed white oak is kind of grey/brown/green before the finish goes on.
"I cut this piece four times and it's still too short."
Are you going for a color called Mission Cherry?
I built a bookcase and finished fairly close to what your doing. I used the transtint red brown and put a coat of shellac over that. Bartley's walnut was next and, like you, found it to dry too quickly. I kept telling myself getting it removed unevenly was okay because the uneven look replicated the aged look of mission furniture. However, I then limited my working area to about 2'sq. and wiped off after about 1-2 minutes. I then finished with a few(4-5) coats of wipe on varnish. I think it looks pretty good but the Bartley's was a pain.
Thanks to everyone for your help. Highfigh, I'm trying to get a little darker than mission cherry. I think I finally have some samples that worked. BG your right about working on small areas with the Bartleys. I have had to apply the gel stain to a small area and wipe it off almost immediately....It dries if you blink twice. Will let you guys know if it worked out OK. Thanks again.
My experience with Bartley's gel stain is to condition it with a coat of the clear varnish/polyurethane first, then stain it. It will keep it from darkening the wood so fast. If you do not want the wood to get very dark, sand to at least 400 grit first, then a coat of their clear, then stain it. You will have much more flexibility with the darkness of the stain this way. Best of luck, but experiment with a scrap of the same type wood first. It has worked beautifully for me though!
I just fumed a QS piece and just loved the result. The resultant color had even staining of the rays and rest of the wood..the only part that did not was the sapwood. To even this out I had to mix Van-Dyke brown and Black...in alcohol and had a great result. This is one of the way that G. Stickley recommended in his writings to finish QS OAK and Chesnut.
You get the 29% amononia from a Blue Print supply store and need to use the correct eye and mask protection. You can experiment with a cardboard box and a garbage bag and fume up to 48 hours. The colors varied depending upon the tannic acid in the wood....Most came out as a nice chocolate brown or grey brown that beautifies and accentuates the natural wood patterns with the finishes. One can also "paint " on the stuff, let it dry and the sand and then repeat again. Stickley wrote also to finish to use a combination of white shellac and laquer to brush on (2 coats in a 1 to 2 mixture). , followed by black wax.
You can get close to this by staining with the above stains, use a good clear Danish oil and the seal with a shellac...or any top ccoat and sealent combo that you like. Enjoy ..I had a lot of fun doing this one!
Vtwood and Dougf, thanks for the advice and encouragement. I have wanted to try to fume some qs oak but always find a reason not to. You may have convinced me to try it. Thanks again.
Fuming gets a undeserved bad rap IMHO. I use industrial strength ammonia and I have never been able to as easily duplicate the effect with stains. Yes, when they come out of the container/tent, they are really unattractive until you hit them with that first coat of finish and the then the color jumps out at you. I apply about 3 or 4 coats of wipe on oil/poly followed by two coats of tutor oak black bison wax.
The Fuming process is not messy or complicate: you need a relatively air-tight containment area and time. For smaller pieces I use a fiber drum and for larger pieces I use a simple frame covered with plastic. For really large pieces I have read of builders that rent a U-Haul trailer for a day and fume the piece(s) inside the trailer.
This forum post is now archived. Commenting has been disabled