Q: I am building a house and my painter says that my white oak cabinets cannot be stained a really dark brown color. I am not wanting any red, just maybe an espresso type color. He says the ONLY way to get them close to the color that I am wanting is to use a new alcohol stain. Is this true?
A: What a strange thing to say. I’ve stained quarter sawn white oak floors very dark brown with no issues using an oil stain. I would suggest water popping prior to staining. What this means is to fully prepare, sand the cabinets, clean them of dust and wipe all the wood down with a wet cloth, just enough to wet the entire surface. Don’t miss any spots. This will open the grain and achieve a darker colour with one application. Let the water dry and apply stain. Let it sit for 5 minutes and wipe it off. When dry, apply several finish coats of your choice.