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Contractor
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
in trying to choose a light floor stain I've tried Minwax Natural (looks to be lightest in their lineup) and it's still darker than I would like. Is there a way to cut it down or otherwise decrease the tint? any other suggestions on a base finish that would be very light? I'm going with a water based poly for the topcoat.
 

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There are 4 types of binders for stain: oil, varnish, lacquer, and water. Each binder has a corresponding solvent or thinner. Minwax uses an oil base binder, so mineral spirits is the corresponding thinner.

Alex, if you could, I'd like to see where it says using lacquer thinner to thin a stain with oil binder is okay. I have never heard of that is all I'm saying.
 

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Paul
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Try shellac. I've used Parks universal sanding sealer with great results. You can use your water-based finish over it with no problems, it actually is a better process than using the water based sealers as it doesn't raise the grain at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks guys. I've tried thinning in various ratios w/ thinner on test strips. the one thing I've observed so far is after the 'binder' dries off, the I'm left with the stain, so it takes a little while to determine the effect. thanks for the reminder for 24hr dry time.
 

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I just used Minwax natural as a test strip for the project I am doing. Once I put finish on the piece I stained and a piece with nothing I could hardly tell the difference.
 

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thanks guys. I've tried thinning in various ratios w/ thinner on test strips. the one thing I've observed so far is after the 'binder' dries off, the I'm left with the stain, so it takes a little while to determine the effect. thanks for the reminder for 24hr dry time.
The thinner dries off/evaporates. When you thin out the stain, you have less time to work with it. Try a wash coat and then use the stain full strength, it will give you more time with the stain.

**ADD: you can thin out, or increase the solids a bit, in your washcoat to get the amount of stain absorption you want, if you go that route.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Shawn, what is a 'wash coat'?

I did a test area w/ the water based sealer and water based poly and wasn't happy with how light it is. does it darken with additional applications as would going over wood with additional coats of stain would do (darkens to a point)?
 

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Washcoat is a thinned finish under the stain or between layers of color to gain better control. Only one washcoat before stain. If it's not taking as much stain as you like you need to thin the washcoat more and/or thin your stain. You could try your water poly with water, cut 1 to 2, but it may not flow out well and it'll probably raise the grain. I usually use dewaxed shellac in a 1 pound cut or less(Zinnser seal coat cut with denatured alcohol between 1 to 1 for 1# and 1 to 2 for 1/2# there abouts.) Or varnish and mineral spirits, 1 to 2 more or less. Both the varnish and shellac washcoats will give a slight amber color to the wood. The amount of thinner depends on the solids content of the finish.

Here is some more info: http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Understanding_Washcoats.html, or to get real technical http://www.finishwiz.com/washcoatsolids.htm


**Add: another suggestion, if you are not set on water poly for the finish, you could go with no stain and just an oil poly. It will amber over time, even more so than what it looks like just finished, giving a real nice color.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
the finishwiz site had great info on cherry wood-thanks for the link. I've decided to go w/ the natural stain and water poly on top. still wondering if the water poly will alter the color or if it is/will remain clear.
 

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Water poly stays clear. I use it almost exclusively and many times have to tone the first 2 coats to match existing lacquered work that has ambered.
 

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The Remodeler
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Shawn,

Minwax has no problem dissolving in Lacquer thinner. It obviously cuts down the stain content by volume thus leaving less stain on the wood. Sure you could use mineral spirits as well, but the lacquer thinner will flash off faster, allowing him a shorter wait time before topcoating. :thumbsup:
 
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