Rated 3.4 out of 5 by 13
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 2.0 out of 5.0 by Rookie Be Careful
If you follow Minwaxs directions you may as well just paint it, because that's what it will look like.
Short and to the point, this product is a dye not a stain. But there's an easy way to get amazing results, Make sure you treat the wood with at least 1 GOOD coat of water base wood conditioner, 2 coats on end grain and let dry 24 hours. thin the stain by adding 40% distilled water. Apply with a bristle brush for latex paint. If you want a richer and darker tone do a second application. Let it dry for 24 hours.
May 1, 2013
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by AshleyMP In Island Blue
My husband and I purchased the Minwax water based stain when we were redoing our barrister cabinet. We opted for the Island Blue tint and we couldn't be happier!
First, a couple of hints -
1. DO mix with the 40/60 ratio. Honestly, it makes all the difference. We didn't even try using the full-strength stain, but when held up to the color chart the 40/60 ratio is IDENTICAL to what is shown as a sample.
2. DO use a foam brush. This is of course subject (I cannot stain with tee-shirt or cloth. Ever. It's a guaranteed disaster!) I love the way the foam equally distributes the stain -- the trick is, apply the first heavy coat liberally, and then going back and letting the brush do the work for you to "delete" brush strokes -- one long continuous motion brushed up at the end.
As for the color ... because that's important ...
I found Island water to have a beautiful range of hues and shades. In the can it looks like "painters tape blue" and that can be unnerving, but once it's on the piece and has had time to dry, the color is absolutely gorgeous! The base/primary is a rich, yet translucent navy, but you do have lighter hints of teal and aqua. My husband think it looks almost like an "oil slick" in color -- with different parts visible in different light.
On a side note: I have been refinishing furniture for five years, my primary go-to is always paint, but having explored and played with this stain, I'll definitely use it again in the future, it's that awesome.
May 31, 2014
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 3.0 out of 5.0 by DIYinUT Not Much of a Stain as it is Paint
As others have mentioned this goes on entirely too thick as is out of the can. I followed the directions and my project came out a solid color after 1 coat. the downside is that there is so many intricate nooks and crannies that it wasn't feasible to sand it down and start again. So instead I applied a second coat of stain and now I have a gray shelf.
I had some scrap wood that I tired a water down mix (60% stain 40% water) and the results were much better. dilute down the stain if you wish to see the wood grain more clearly.
June 25, 2013
Rated 3.0 out of 5.0 by Brian Water-Based Stain
I've tried this stuff a few times now, and there are some advantages to using it. You get a large variety of colors, no odor, and minimal clean-up.
However, there's a price for these benefits. I find this stain to, in many ways, act more like a thin paint. I think stain should enhance the beauty of the wood's grain. This stuff has a tendency to cover them up instead. Moreover, the penetration level is very shallow, something I've never liked. Finally, the coverage can be very uneven. I would definitely recommend using the Miniwax wood conditioner before staining with this stuff.
Overall, I think water-based stain has a solid niche and, if used by a skilled person, it can create some very nice looking pieces. But I personally am never really happy with the way it works for me. I doubt if I'll be using it myself any time soon.
April 13, 2012
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Omer3 Urethane Water Based Finish
This product applies easily with rags or brush. The finish dries easily and hard. Clean up with water while wet but is not easily removed when dry. Used for interior carving board which is stored in kitchen away from windows.
March 17, 2010