Best Stain for Maple Wood

Top 7 Best Stain for Maple Wood| How to Stain Maple Dark

Getting the best stain for maple wood is one thing that most woodworkers and hobbyists find tough. Although favorite for furniture making, maple wood, like cherry and oak are erratic. They can react unpredictably when certain stains are used on them. It is also susceptible to shrinkage, so using the best stain for maple wood is paramount.

Choose from our top 3 picks

Product
Best Buy
Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
Editor's pick
Rust-Oleum 211759 Varathane
Penetrating
Minwax 71006000 Wood Finish
Image
Minwax 134074444 Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, Quart
Rust-Oleum 211759 Varathane, Half Pint, Colonial Maple
Minwax Wood Finish 222404444, Special Walnut Stain, Gallon
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Best Buy
Product
Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
Image
Minwax 134074444 Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, Quart
Prime Status
Star Rating
Where to Buy
Editor's pick
Product
Rust-Oleum 211759 Varathane
Image
Rust-Oleum 211759 Varathane, Half Pint, Colonial Maple
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Where to Buy
Penetrating
Product
Minwax 71006000 Wood Finish
Image
Minwax Wood Finish 222404444, Special Walnut Stain, Gallon
Prime Status
Star Rating
Where to Buy

Last update on 2021-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why do you need the best stain for maple wood?

You need stain for maple wood to minimize scratches and weather elements from affecting the wood’s surface. Maple woods tend to lose their color richness and may become blotchy, especially after long years of use. Using wood stains will reduce these effects and preserve the wood’s color.

Reviews of the Best Stain for Maple Wood

1. Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner

Do you want to prevent blotches and prepare the wood for staining? If yes, you need this Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner from Minwax.

This product guarantees even stain penetration and prepares the wood for further applications. With this conditioner, your subsequent application of stains and other topcoats becomes easy peasy.

This conditioner has good coverage of about 75-Square Feet per quart. This means you don’t need to apply it many times to get the desired outcome. Thanks to this coverage, the stain is minimized, and money is saved more.

Sale
Minwax 427320008 Polycrylic Wood Stain Brush, 2”, White
  • WOOD STAIN BRUSH – This 2” wood staining brush is a fine craft, blend of nylon and polyester designed for water-based stains and finishes. Using this high-quality synthetic bristle brush provides a beautiful, even finish.
  • SMOOTH, EVEN FINISH – The soft application design and synthetic bristles promote a smooth finish of wood stain and protective or clear finishes for your wood projects.
  • USE WITH – This 2” wood stain brush is for use for quart size cans of water-based stains and finishes. Rinse well after use, and clean with soap and water.
  • NATURAL HANDLE – This water clean up brush features a stainless steel ferrule and natural hardwood handle.
  • A BRAND YOU CAN TRUST – Minwax is America’s leading brand of wood finishing and wood care projects. Since 1904, we have been inspiring consumers to Keep on Finishing. We offer consumers a complete line of products to meet every wood finishing need.

Last update on 2021-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It also has a high absorbency rate and dries rapidly. Because it dries quite rapidly, that doesn’t mean the finish isn’t thick. Using this conditioner will make staining more straightforward and fun too.

Pros

  • Dries fast
  • Makes it simpler to stain wood
  • Straightforward to use
  • Good coverage
  • Prevents blotches and streaks from occurring
  • Evens greatly and has a good absorbency rate.

Cons

  • Although it dries fast, it doesn’t cure quickly.

Verdict

There are tons of pre-stain conditioners out there, but the Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner is a standout. It delivers a superb finish and makes staining the wood easier. It eliminates streaks, blotches, and evens out incredibly.

2. Varathane 211759 Premium Wood Stain

Varathane Premium Wood Stain is made with a soya oil-based formula to revive your maple furniture and provide richer, darker color. This superior formula penetrates deep in the wood, bringing out the natural color and enhancing the wood grain.

Varathane Premium Wood Stain dries rapidly and covers a large area when applied. It’s also simple to apply with a rag, thanks to its premium pigments and light soya oil-based formula.

Rust-Oleum 211759 Varathane, Half Pint, Colonial Maple
  • Provides richer, more natural color to interior wood furniture, cabinets, doors, trim, floors and paneling
  • Superior soya oil-based formula offers deeper penetration and truer colors
  • Dries to the touch in 1-2 hours and covers up to 35 sq. ft.
  • Wiping stain applies evenly without blotching or constant stirring, recoat after 2 hours
  • Premium pigments enhance wood grain detail with a long lasting translucent stain

Last update on 2021-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The impressive thing about using this formula is that you don’t need to thin or mix it. It spreads evenly when applied, reducing blotches and ensuring that stain lasts longer on the wood.

Pros

  • Spreads evenly
  • High-quality stain result
  • Straightforward to use
  • Don’t need so many coats to attain a dark color finish
  • No thinning is required.

Cons

  • It’s relatively expensive.
  • Small-sized

Verdict

Although it’s costly, Varathane Premium Wood Stain is a high-quality stain that will give you the maple wood color you desire. It’s easy to use and requires few coats to get the desired result.

3. Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain

If you need a penetrating stain for bare woods or already stained surfaces, you should check out the Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain. This penetrating stain can add beauty to your maple furniture and give you perfect finishes.

The penetrating stain is easy to apply and dries well in a single coat. This means you get to finish at a faster time. In terms of application, you can use a rag or a paintbrush for that.

Sale
Minwax Wood Finish 222404444, Special Walnut Stain, Gallon
  • RICH EVEN COLOR – Minwax Wood Finish is a deep penetrating, oil-based wood stain that provides beautiful color and enhances the natural wood grain in one coat. It’s perfect for interior staining projects such as wood furniture, cabinets, doors and more.
  • QUICK DRYING – Staining interior wood has never been quicker. The special formula allows it to deeply penetrate wood pores within 5 minutes of application, resists lapping, and dries in two hours, making all your wood projects quick, beautiful and easy.
  • EASY TO APPLY – Use a clean cloth or wood stain brush to apply this wood stain in the direction of the grain. Wait 5-15 minutes and wipe away excess stain. The longer you wait, the darker/richer the color. Reapply coats for deeper color.
  • SPECIAL WALNUT WOOD STAIN – This beautiful natural wood stain provides a rich, deep walnut-colored finish. The walnut wood stain is a classic, dark brown color that looks great on a variety of projects.
  • A BRAND YOU CAN TRUST – Minwax is America’s leading brand of wood finishing and wood care projects. Since 1904, we have been inspiring consumers to Keep on Finishing. We offer consumers a complete line of products to meet every wood finishing need.

Last update on 2021-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain also has good coverage, approximately 150 sq. ft. so you don’t need so many applications to achieve the desired result.

Pros

  • Requires fewer applications
  • Dries well and durably
  • Can be applied using brushes and rags
  • Good for bare woods and stained woods.

Cons

  • The color finish may not be appealing to you.

Verdict

Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain is an awesome alternative if you have some staining job to do on your bare maple furniture.

4. General Finishes Water-Based Wood Stain

General Finishes is famous for making one of the best finishes and wood stains around. The Water-Based Wood Stain is one of their products that will breathe new life into your maple furniture.

The wood stain features high-quality pigments that produce uniform, dark colors on woods. You can apply this wood stain with a rag, brush, or spray it, and the outcome won’t be affected. It blends effortlessly and penetrates the wood well, minimizing blotches.

Unlike some wood stains, General Finishes Water-Based Wood Stain has a low odor and low VOC, meaning that you don’t need to beat yourself up if you forgot to wear your respirator or open the window. It’s non-combustible as well, which makes it entirely safe for use.

Sale
General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain, 1 Pint, Graystone
  • High-quality pigments produce rich, dark colors; Can be hand-applied or sprayed.
  • Indoor use only; Formulated to provide workability similar to oil based stains
  • Low odor, low VOC, water cleanup and noncombustible
  • Create custom colors by intermixing GF Water Based Wood Stains or paints, or mix with any GF water based topcoat to tint and tone

Last update on 2021-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It cures into a thick finish, dries in no time, and has a wide coverage. Plus, you can clean it up conveniently with mineral spirits after you are done with the application.

Pros

  • It has good coverage.
  • Penetrates the wood deeply to reduce blotches
  • Straightforward to apply
  • Easy to clean up
  • Durable

Cons

  • The finish is dull and flat.

Verdict

If you are looking for a wood stain that will create flat satin finishes, I suggest you go for this. Although reformulated, we love that this finish dries fast and has a low odor, giving it a slightly upper hand over other wood sains.

5. Minwax 61350444 Polyshades Stain & Polyurethane

Minwax Polyshades Stain & Polyurethane improves the wood’s texture and adds a beautiful rich stain royal walnut color. This polyurethane protects the maple from blotches and streaks, prolonging its use.

The good thing about this finish is that you can use it over other polyurethane finishes. You don’t need to remove the existing finish to apply the Polyshades Stain & Polyurethane. It dries fast and easy to clean up with mineral spirits.

Minwax 213104444 PolyShades
  • Enhances wood grain by combining beautiful rich stain color and long-lasting polyurethane protection in one easy step
  • Can be used over polyurethane finishes, so you can change the color of your finished wood, without removing the existing finish
  • Reduces finishing time
  • To learn how PolyShades can help you easily change the color of your stained or polyurethane finished wood, view the PolyShades Color Transformation Guide
  • Cleans up with mineral spirits

Last update on 2021-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Minwax Polyshades Stain & Polyurethane is also straightforward to apply, although the method of application is quite different. You need to apply the stain quickly as you work on the maple because it dries incredibly fast.

Pros

  • You can use it over polyurethane finishes
  • Long-lasting protection
  • Produces rich stain color
  • Easy to clean up with mineral spirits
  • Comes in a variety of colors

Cons

  • You can’t use it on exterior wood surfaces.
  • Leaves uneven finishes if you don’t adhere to the instructions properly.

Verdict

Minwax Polyshades Stain & Polyurethane is an easy-to-use solution that will improve the wood’s grain and prevent streaks from occurring. Using this polyurethane finish will give your maple furniture long-lasting protection.

6. Rust-Oleum Ultimate Wood Stain

Rust-Oleum Ultimate Wood Stain is the ideal stain that enhances wood grain on maple cabinets and other furniture for longer use. This wood stain product has a fast-drying formula that ensures you can use your maple furniture straight away without waiting for long hours.

One thing we love about this stain is that you don’t need so many coats to get your desired color. Once applied, it dries quickly into a rich, durable, and even color. This wood stain is available in several colors, and you don’t need a wood conditioner to use this stain.

Rust-Oleum 260155 Ultimate Wood Stain, Quart, Sunbleached
  • High performance stain enhances wood grain on interior surfaces such as cabinets, doors, furniture, floors and more
  • Fast drying, oil based formula provides maximum durability and color in one coat
  • Dries to the touch in 1 hour and covers up to 275 sq. ft. per quart
  • Top coat with polyurethane in 1 hour for long lasting protection
  • Durable, rich finish provides deep, even color without the need for wood conditioner

Last update on 2021-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It’s simple to use, and you can use a brush or lint-free rag to apply and wipe off any excess stain.

Pros

  • Convenient to use
  • Dries and cures quickly
  • Scratch-resistant and offers maximum durability
  • Easy to clean up
  • Great color finish

Cons

  • The light color doesn’t sit well with everyone.
  • It appears blotchy if not used properly.

Verdict

Rust-Oleum wood stain is one the easiest stains to use. You can use this fast-drying formula on all maple furniture without using pre-stain conditioners.

7. Minwax Gel Stain

Minwax Gel Stain is the ideal formula that you need to get the rich, uniform colors that you’ve always wanted on your maple doors and cabinets. This Minwax product can also be used on other wood types and non-wood surfaces like metal and fiberglass.

This gel stain is incredibly straightforward to apply, and so the good thing about it is that you don’t need so many applications before it can coat your wood successfully. This gel stain is specifically designed to give you full control over your application.

Last update on 2021-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Additionally, it dries fast, and the staining result is great. Compared to other gel stains, it’s affordable.

Pros

  • Great staining result
  • Easy to apply
  • Dries fast
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not good for finished wood.

Verdict

Minwax Gel Stain coats well, and everyone can easily handle it, whether you are a beginner or not. It delivers beautiful and uniform color.

Can Maple Wood Be Stained?

All maple wood can be stained, regardless of the variety. While we consider it a bit erratic to stain, there are some staining techniques that you must follow to ensure that it sticks to the hardwood.

Staining maple wood prolongs its lifespan and maintains its aesthetic value. Although maple woods are one of the most durable hardwoods, they tend to have streaks and blotches after years of use. Staining it is the best way to protect it from these streaks, external elements, and maintain its beauty.

Types of Stain

You’ll come across two different types of stains – stains that penetrate the wood (penetrative stains) and stains that sit on top of the wood (pigmented stains). Penetrative oil stains work on maple woods that are finely sanded, while the pigmented oil stain type needs a rough area on the wood to stick in.

How to Stain Maple Wood

Staining maple wood is easy but a tricky thing to do. Because maple wood has a tight grain, pigment stains don’t soak into the wood easily and evenly. Maple wood is one of the most difficult woods to attain a uniform stain color.

To stain maple wood perfectly, you need to understand some techniques. If you want to stain, you should try it on scrap pieces to know how the finish will look on the actual maple wood piece.

Uneven staining has been the issue that most painters face when staining maple woods. As we said, maple wood has a tight grain, is dense, and will resist larger particles of pigments from penetrating the wood. To avoid uneven finishes, this is how to stain your maple wood if it’s raw.

  • Sand the wood with fine 120-grit, then 180-grit, and lastly 220-grit sandpaper. The surface must be ultra-smooth.
  • With a turkey baster, mix Zinsser Sanding sealer with denatured alcohol thoroughly. If you don’t want to use a sanding sealer, you can opt for a pre-stain conditioner like the Min Wax Pre-Stain Conditioner and thin it with mineral spirits.
  • Coat the wood with the mixture or conditioner using a rag or brush. Apply lightly and evenly.
  • Allow the sealer to dry for up to six hours. You can leave it for more hours for the best results.
  • After drying, you should check all the areas on the wood. If an area dries or soaks quicker than other areas, apply the sealer to that area again and allow it to dry overnight. That area is usually blotched, so you need to make it as even as possible before applying your stain.
  • Once dried, stain the wood. You can use pigmented oil stains like Minwax Red Mahogany Oil-based Stain or opt for penetrating oil stains. We advise that you use pigmented stains to make the wood colorful. Apply with a natural bristle paintbrush along the maple’s grain. Wipe any excesses as you paint.
  • Allow the stain to dry overnight before use.
  • Apply a polycrylic finish to seal the stain. This step is optional anyways.
  • Clean the maple with mineral spirits.

How to Stain Maple Dark

Most people like their maple kitchen doors or cupboards dark-colored rather than light. However, staining maple dark requires meticulousness and some level of technicality. Once you follow all the instructions, you’ll find it convenient to stain your maple doors and other furniture dark.

Before you stain maple wood dark, you need to wear gloves, goggles, overalls, and paint in a well-ventilated area. If you have to strip the surface off the existing paint, wearing these are crucial to protecting your skin from burns, as you will be dealing with caustic chemicals.

To strip paint off the surface;

  • Get dichloromethane-based chemical stripper. Pour the required content into a glass bowl.
  • Apply using a paintbrush and follow the instructions stipulated on the label to the latter.
  • Add some sawdust to thicken the chemical stripper. This will make it easy to remove the paint when it’s dry.
  • After painting, wait for a while for the chemical to find its way into the wood. You also need to check the label to see how long you need to wait for the chemical to penetrate the wood.
  • Use a putty knife to scrape the chemical stain. Be meticulous not to scrape the wood.
  • If there’s still paint left, apply the chemical stain to the area and follow the steps from one to five.
  • Use fine 180-grit and extra-fine 220-grit sandpaper to smoothen the maple wood.

After stripping the paint off, here is how to stain maple wood dark.

  • Moisten the wood with a damp cloth.
  • Sand the maple wood with 120, 180, and 220-grit sandpaper in that order. The aim is to make the maple wood as smooth as possible.
  • Coat with dewaxed Zinsser Sanding Sealer cut 50/50 with denatured alcohol.
  • Wait for it to dry after a few hours.
  • Rub a mixed Analine-Trans Tint dye with water on the maple wood lightly. You may not get the dark color that you want in the first coat. Try applying the dye three to four more times.
  • Allow the dye to dry once you have attained your perfect hue.
  • Once dry, apply tinted shellac thinned with a little amount of water to the maple. Apply lightly to prevent the shellac from overreacting with the denatured alcohol.
  • Allow drying before finishing with a topcoat like urethane, oil, or poly. Urethane and oil will cure into a durable finish, which is why we highly recommend it. Poly will cure into a waterproof finish. Remember to add enough coats to get the desired look.
  • With oil-based stains, you’ll likely experience blotches. If you do, identify those areas and reapply the stains again.
  • You can also use gel stains, tung oil, or linseed oil on your maple furniture. They give nearly the same results as the oil stains or urethane.

How to Stain Maple Wood Cabinets

To stain maple wood cabinets;

  1.   Prepare the surface

This includes sanding the surface with 80-grit, 120-grit, and 220-grit sandpaper in that order to achieve uniform smoothness. If you need to strip the old paint, follow the steps below;

  • Wear gloves, goggles, and overalls.
  • Do this process in a well-ventilated environment to control exposure to fumes and dust.
  • Get dichloromethane-based chemical stripper. Pour the required content into a shallow glass bowl.
  • Apply using a paintbrush and follow the instructions stipulated on the label to the latter.
  • Add some sawdust to thicken the chemical stripper. This will make it easy to remove the paint when it’s dry.
  • After painting, wait for a while for the chemical to find its way into the wood. You also need to check the label to see how long you need to wait for the chemical to penetrate the wood.
  • Use a putty knife to scrape the chemical stain. Be meticulous not to scrape the wood.
  • If there’s still paint left, apply the chemical stain to the area and follow the steps from one to five.
  • Use fine 180-grit and extra-fine 220-grit sandpaper to smoothen the maple wood.

     2. Apply Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner

Get Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner or any other durable conditioner and apply to the wood.

     3. Allow the Conditioner to Dry

After applying the conditioner, allow it to penetrate the wood for up to 15 minutes. Remove any excess conditioner with a dry cloth and wait for extra two hours to dry.

     4. Apply the Stain

We recommend you use oil-based stains and gel stains. Wipe any excesses and allow the maple wood to dry overnight. If you notice any blotches, restain the area and allow the area to dry. You can add more coats of stain until you achieve the desired result.

Note that you can opt to stain over an already stained wood without stripping the existing one-off. However, the existing stain might meddle with the new stain, and the finish won’t be exactly what you hoped for.

Safety Precautions When Using Pre-Stain Conditioners

  1. Dispose of any rag or cloth in contact with the wood conditioner properly. These things are flammable and may catch fire if not well handled.
  2. Keep conditioner away from heat and open flame.
  3. Use the conditioner in a ventilated area to avoid suffocation and overexposure to chemicals.
  4. Wear NIOSH-approved respirators for additional protection.
  5. Avoid contact with the eyes. Once you are done using it, wash your hands immediately.
  6. Keep container closed after use.
  7. Avoid intentional inhaling of the content, as it causes nervous system damage, cancer, and birth defects.
  8. Keep out of the reach of children.

Does maple need to be conditioned before staining?

Conditioning maple before staining is necessary to preventing streaks, blotches, and evening the maple for the absorption of the stains.

What stain looks best on maple wood?

Oil-based stains and urethane are usually the best stains for maple wood. Water-based poly is also a nice option, as it creates a waterproof surface. However, it works best with a Water-Based Pre-Stain Conditioner Wood Conditioner.

What happens if you don’t wipe off wood stains?

If you don’t wipe off wood stain, it will remain on the surface and becomes sticky. During application sometimes, it’s possible to spread the wood stain excessively, resulting in the non-absorption of the remnant on the surface.

Can I stain wood without sanding?

Yes, you can stain wood without sanding. You can stain over stain without stripping the old paint off or sanding, especially if you want to achieve a dark stain. However, you must keep in mind that the existing paint may interfere with the finish.

How many coats of stain can you put on wood?

Typically, two coats are ideal, but a lot of people have confirmed that adding a third one will deepen the color, making the wood look darker.

Is it better to stain wood with a brush or rag?

Using a dry rag is the best way to stain wood. With rags, controlling the amount of stain that you intend to apply is more convenient. Additionally, it’s more comfortable removing any excesses with a rag than brushes. Above all, rags leave a fantastic, even, and brush-free finish.

Do you need to seal the wood after staining?

Sealing wood after staining is usually not required. However, you need to apply a finish to protect the stained wood from further scratches and fading.

Should I sand after staining?

No, it’s a wrong idea to sand after staining. The best thing to do is to apply wood dyes or Pre-Stain Conditioners to raise the grain before staining. Sanding should only be done at the beginning, before conditioning.

Conclusion – Best Stain for Maple Wood

If you want your maple furniture to remain beautiful even after long years of use, you need to buy the best stain for maple wood. Apart from adding beauty to maple furniture, applying stains to your maple wood is essential to giving your wood additional protection and prolonging the wood’s lifespan.

If you find it difficult to use any of the stains mentioned here, you shouldn’t worry. Although relatively difficult to get the perfect color blend, we have described all the steps you need to achieve your goal successfully.

With all the wood stains formulas provided here, giving your maple furniture an excellent and rich color is easy.

Important Reads:

Scroll to Top