I have made a couch out of sycamore because I could get some really cheap 8/4 and grain looked like it would match mahogany once I stained it. But staining it is not going well.
Stain or dyes blotch horribly. Even Minwax Polyshade (tinted varnish) blotches.
I was able to get about what I wanted by using tinted bleached shellac and then tinted water based varnish; but tinting them as dark as I want will be expensive. And... I found out my shellac had wax in it, and putting varnish over it is questionable.
At the moment I am trying to get the wax to settle out of my shellac, but after 5 days not much seems to be happening.
So, I have come up with a few possibilities, each of which will require buying stuff simply to try them. So I am hoping someone can give me some advice.
1) Buy some zinser sealer (dewaxed shellac) and buy some Polyshade of the right color.
2) Buy some amber shellac and try to move it from orange to brown by adding an appropriate dye. (I thought it would be green, but someone else says it is purple?!)
3) Try Zinser's suggestion. They say to tint the shellac and then add household ammonia. They say it retards drying and makes a great stain.
Any ideas would be appreciated.