Rated 3.3 out of 5 by 18
Rated 1.0 out of 5.0 by g0953 Not recommended on hard maple. Maybe on some soft wood.
This is the most finicky stain I have ever used. It dries very fast, I think too fast. Maybe 1 minute even at 55 degrees F, which is the minimum recommended application temperature. On a warmer day - shudder to even think. I found myself wiping almost immediately after applying, which means not much soak time. Which leads to the next issue: even without the pre-stain, color depth is very poor. I made the mistake of using the prestain / conditioner on my last maple project and it was even worse. I suppose with a soft wood there would be splotchiness, but none of that on maple, which is why I give this ONE star, otherwise it would get none. It does raise the grain though. I may just sand it all off and start over. Thanks, Minwax.
November 25, 2015
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by DoItMyselfEr Exceeded my expectations
Our home was built in the 1940's. We gutted it down to the original block walls that it was built with. I was looking for an old, used, and abused, yet still new look for our replacement oak doors and molding. I thought the water based stain would give the appearance of the worn look I was trying to achieve. It turned out amazing! I will continue to buy this product until my home is completely remodeled.
August 2, 2014
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Scooter Used on knotty barnside paneling
I used straight out of can. Didn't see the part about diluting . Paneling I'm using is an lp product only sold at lowed and has very deep nooks and crannies. Of course making it difficult for any method. I ended up rolling in, then quickly brushing over to help distribute
Then immediatly used a rag as final method
Reasoning is because it would stay in the grooves of my paneling and I was afraid of how it may have looked if I didnt
Pros , final product once dry looks amazing
VERY LITTLE ODOR! Very important as I'm doing this in a small barely ventilated cabin.
Has no sheen once dried unlike the Valspar premixed products
Can't mention any cons but the panels I'm working on are unique and rustic looking so can't speak for anything else , thought maybe this helps
November 20, 2015
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by Shopmate First project
My first project in my newly built wood shop was to build a miter saw station. It is 8' long built with birch plywood and hard maple trim. I decided to learn about water based stain at some risk since I had no experience with it. I did use the pre-stain conditioner. The first piece I stained was the bottom, a large section 8' long by ~24". It was not good. I had to try to stain it in sections since I was working alone. It was impossible to do the entire piece with a foam brush before it would dry. The stain was too thick. I thought about painting it. Then I read reviews and how others diluted it with water. I followed their advice (against the products recommendations) and continued to stain all the other components, most were about 24" x 33". Much better results as good as you can expect when staining birch plywood. It looks great. Then I came to the last piece which was the back (8'x 34"). I decided to use a small window squeegee to spread the stain and finish it with the foam brush. The squeegee worked very well. Two things I learned in this project. Definitely thin the stain with water and it works well on smaller components while remains a challenge on large ones. I will definitely use this product again in the future. Dry time and clean up bonus plus plus.
December 4, 2015
Rated 3.0 out of 5.0 by TexasDIYer Terrible if you follow directions - if you don't it's great
I bought this to stain a pine table - I wanted a darker look, so choose Toffee color.
I put the first coat on, and it was super blotchy - absolutely impossible to get the brush marks out and it generally looked terrible.
Then my wife read the reviews here - so I followed their advice, I watered it down 60% stain, 40% water - and wow what a difference - once watered down it looks like stain and goes on like stain. I literally applied with a stain sponge, then wiped off several seconds later - no blotches, no uneven color it looked great. I wanted a slightly darker color, so after 30 minutes I repeated the same exercise and it darkened up but still looked great, you could see the grain of the wood, but it was nicely stained.
Bottom line, don't use this product undiluted, it goes on like paint - and I will be sanding down the first piece I did so I can do it properly.
This was my method, hope it helps some of you out:
1) Progressively sand down to 220 grit
2) Wipe with a rag soaked in mineral spirits to remove dust
3) Once dry, use MinWax water based wood conditioner - apply quite a lot (surface should be milky colored) then after 5 minutes remove excess with kitchen towels
4) Leave 15 minutes and sand surface with 220 grit wet/dry sand paper
5) Use microfiber fleece cloth to remove any dust from above
6) Use diluted (60% stain/40% water) mix of MinWax stain and apply with a stain sponge pad. I put a reasonable amount on, then immediately wiped it off with the dry part of the same pad. Color was consistent and no blotches after this stage.
7) I wanted a darker color, so after 30 minutes, I repeated step 6 with the same procedure.
After 2 coats the color is what I wanted, I can see the grain of the wood - and it's 100% consistent. I will now leave it to dry for 12-24 hours, then apply polyurethane.
Hope that helps some of you out - and thanks to the people that said dilute it - without this the product is like paint rather than a stain, and that is not the look I was going for.
May 16, 2013
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by AustinH Like other reviewers have said, you must dilute.
I have used this stain for many projects over the last few years. The largest of which was staining a 12x22 floor. I have gotten fairly good results with the stain as is, but it was a lot of hard work, every time. Most times involved at least a partial re-sanding and starting over to get good results. Recently I read the reviews when looking for a different stain, and saw the recommendations about diluting it. I tried it on a floating shelving project (> 300 sq. ft.) and was blown away by the ease of application. Diluting to about 60/40 or 50/50 (I wasn't exact), I was able to apply the stain (with a high quality synthetic brush) much thinner than before, but with greater coverage for each stroke. Wiping it off was smooth and left no blotchiness or splotches. I was able to achieve the same results in minutes than the hours it used to take me because of constantly having to redo my work.
March 24, 2015
Rated 1.0 out of 5.0 by BenH If you use this stain, you might as well just paint over your wood and save the agony. The stain comes in too thick, and rather than penetrating the wood, it completely obliterates the natural wood grain and depth. I've tried it on maple and oak. The result is a patchy shade with little wood grain showing through, even though I wiped off the stain right away per instructions. There are other water-based products that do a much better job.
July 28, 2014
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Brendan2014 Great product
This stain was the first water based stain I have used, and it made a great first impression on me. First off, like many water based products, this stain has next to no odor making it much easier on my family when I decide to do some staining. Water cleanup is a huge perk as well. Finally, I've heard conflicting reviews about how this stain looks on the wood. In my experience, it went on smoothly and had absolutely no blotching. I used the Polycrylic finish on top of the stain and it finished up beautifully. I should mention that when I used this, I also used the water based pre-stain conditioner. At first I felt as though the pre-stain conditioner was just a money grab or not worth the money for the benefits it provided, but after doing some tests with and without the pre-stain conditioner it is easy to see why there have been negative reviews of this stain. Without the pre-stain conditioner, this stain is practically useless. It goes on blotchy and will effectively ruin your project immediately. However, with the use of the pre-stain conditioner, this stain went on smoother and more evenly and beautifully than any stain I have used previously. I would highly recommend this product.
October 16, 2014