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Author Topic:   staining mahogany console
carlz posted 05-01-2001 11:41 PM ET (US)   Profile for carlz   Send Email to carlz  
Building a Nausett console from factory plans, I'm close to applying a finish on the wood. Using minwax mahogany on sample wood I get just awful results. Minwax cherry is a little better, but looking into this I read that there are pigmented stains and analine dye type stains. Anyone have experience of one versus the other or know what the orginal type used was?
lhg posted 05-01-2001 11:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Staining Whaler mahogany or teak before varnishing is a controversial subject. I do it, and I think it's the only way to give the wood additional UV protection, get a nice dark rich color, and prevent the yellowed look for a much longer period of time. I have always gotten beautiful results. See my 16' Nauset in the reference section.

But BW never did this originally, and just applied varnish over the raw wood, so the real classicists here may disagree.

If I'm varnishing mahogany, I buy a mahogany wipe-on stain product. Have never used the Minwax products. If I'm varnishing teak, I buy a teak color stain. I am convinced the stain pigment helps protect the wood from UV bleaching and yellowing, and keeps the varnish looking darker much longer. It does not conceal the wood grain. Even with the stain underneath, the wood still will lighten, but much slower.

And when you varnish, use a product with the MOST available UV inhibitors, such as Z Spar 2015 Flagship Varnish.

Tom W Clark posted 05-02-2001 12:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Whether you stain or not is up to you. But if you do stain, you want an oil stain not an analine stain. Analine stains are water based and most frequently used when trying to achieve bright colors. Their down side is that they tend to fade quite a bit. Any paint store can help you custom mix a stain color to your preference but I'd just stay with a stock marine stain that could be easily found/replaced in the future.

jameso posted 05-02-2001 10:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for jameso  Send Email to jameso     
My experience...I used Min Wax too, mahogany was too brown and cherry to red, I mixed about half and half and applied stain a couple of times then added some stain to thinned MinWax spar urethane did a couple coats of this then finished with full strength urethane. I like the results and I can go to Home Depot and get more as needed. Also apply at least one coat to all non exposed areas.
KCarlsen posted 05-02-2001 03:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for KCarlsen  Send Email to KCarlsen     
I am just finishing 6 months of staining and varnishing a new console and seat (10 coats) so I feel I can be of some help here. I took LHG's recommendation and stained my mahogany wood with Z-Spar filler mahogany satin. It comes as a thick paste so I diluted it 50/50 with T-10 thinner. I emptied the can into a mason jar and added one can of thinner. This is important so that you have the same dilution later if you have more wood to stain. I applied it and wiped it off immediately before it flashed over (ie dries and becomes dull). I didn't want it too dark. This stuff stinks so use in a well ventilated place. I did it in my basement over the winter and the wife and kids almost threw me out of the house. The varnish is OK but the stain with thinner will kill brain cells. I used Epiphanes (sp?) varnish and diluted it 50%,30%, 20% and all other coats were diluted 10% until the last two. They went on straight out of the can. If I had to do it again, I might dilute them 5-10% because EPI is thick and it smooths out better when thinned. I also sanded VERY lightly between coats after the 3rd coat with 600 grit paper. Vaccuum and wipe down with tack rags between sanding. Also, do not sand and varnish on the same day or you will have a bad finish from airborne particles. I did it in the corner of my basement and walled off a section with tarps. I would sand one day, clean up, tack rag and then the next day, re-tack rag and varnish. Sounds like a lot of work? It is! but the results speak for themselves. I also used foam brushes because I couldn't get the expensive badger hair clean enough after each use without using gallons of thinner. Foam is cheap and they work well. Tip: Make sure you buy the quality foam brushes with small pore size, not the cheap ones and use the same technique as you would with a brush ( ie apply from dry to wet and do not put varnish on too thick. Two thin coats are better then one thick coat. Good Luck, Kurt
JB posted 05-02-2001 03:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for JB  Send Email to JB     
To save yourself some time in the future buy genuine mahogany (Honduras, African, etc.) and not "Philipine Mahogany", which is not actually mahogany at all. The good stuff will probably cost you four times as much, but in the long run is worth the difference (e.g., $50 verses $200). It's much denser, wears better, gets a richer color with age, and you will not sand through the fake stain the next time you're up against refinishing.

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