Best Wood Type For Dark Stain

Best Wood Type For Dark Stain

What is the best wood type for dark stain? Choosing the right type of paint and stain for your furniture can be a daunting task. With so many different types, brands, and colors to choose from it’s hard to know what will look the best in your home.

This article talks about the different types of wood types and stains, which wood will look the best when painted in a dark stain, and how to find the best wood type for dark stain.

What to Consider When Choosing Wood Cabinets

When you start to look for furniture and fixtures, there are a lot of different considerations. But when you’re looking for wood cabinets, there are several more things to think about.

1. Color and Finish

Wood cabinets come in a wide array of colors and finishes, so you’ll have to decide what you like best. You’re sure to find a color or finish that fits your home’s personality.

2. Material

Material matters, especially if you’re getting your cabinets painted or stained after delivery. Pine, oak, and poplar are all good choices.

3. Porosity

Porosity is the amount of air in the wood. The less porosity, the harder it is to get paint or stain into crevices and pores. Pine and poplar have low porosity, meaning it’s harder to apply a finish evenly.

4. Grain

You’ll find that grain is very pronounced in oak but less so in other woods like pine. Some people like the look of pine because it looks more rustic, but you may run into issues with finishing if you get this type.

5. Humidity

When choosing wood cabinetry, humidity is an important consideration. Wood expands and contracts with the fluctuations of humidity. A dry environment is necessary for wood cabinetry to get the natural wood look that you want

Choosing the Best Wood Type for Dark Stain

Best Wood For Dark Stain

The first thing you need to consider when choosing a wood type for your dark stain is the grain pattern. An open grain pattern is best because it absorbs the stain better and creates a color that will not hide a blemish or imperfection in the wood.

Next, you want to consider the hardness of the wood. Harder woods will hold a dark finish longer than softwoods. Softwood usually does not hold the stain as well and will need to be reapplied often.

The last thing you need to consider is the amount of stain your wood can hold. The darker the stain, the more you need to apply. For a dark stain, around one coat is usually enough.

The simple rule of thumb is the darker the stain, the more coats you will need. You also need to be sure to allow the wood to dry completely before applying another coat. Failure to do so can result in poor results.


Best Wood Type For Dark Stain

Cherry is one of the woods used for dark stains. The grain pattern is usually multiple colors and has a slight reddish tint to it.

Cherry is very versatile and can be found in both light and dark shades. Cherry also holds color well but will fade over time. It is not uncommon to find cherry furniture that has been stained in the past but has faded over time.

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Red Oak

Best Wood Type For Dark Stain

Red oak is hard, heavy, and strong. It is very popular for furniture because of the grain pattern. It comes in light and dark shades. Red oak is used for making all types of furniture including tables, chairs, cabinets, and chests.

Hard Maple

Best Wood Type For Dark Stain

Hard maple is one of the most popular woods used for a dark stain. It has a beautiful, straight-grain pattern that allows it to hold dark stains well. It is very strong and will stand up to wear and tear.

Some Woods and Their Staining Tips

There are a number of woods that can be stained to look like oak, mahogany, walnut, or cherry wood. The trick is knowing what stain color to choose and why.


Oakwood is one of the most common types of wood used for home furniture. It has a naturally dark and rich color, and the grain is straight when it is cut. Oakwood can be stained any color from a very light wood, walnut, to an almost black cherry finish. There are three types of oakwood, namely white, red and black.

White Oakwood is one of the lightest and easiest to stain. It has a medium grain with a fine texture. It can be stained to look like walnut, cherry, or mahogany wood.

This wood features denser pores and is, therefore, stronger against staining. The best possible quality is obtained by selecting white Oak half-sawn timber. Stains produce an amazing golden hue that can be easily achieved by applying multiple coats.

Red Oakwood is reddish in color. It has a low-gloss finish and medium-dark grain. It can be stained to look like maple, walnut, or mahogany wood.

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Black Oakwood is the darkest of all oakwoods. It has a high-gloss finish, and the grain is also very beautiful. With its natural black color, it does not need to be stained into any other color.


Ashwood is a very hard wood and is commonly used for making gun stocks. If you want to stain the wood, it is recommended that you use oil-based stains to recreate the deep color of the wood. It can be stained to look like oak or maple wood.

Maple wood

Maple wood is the second most common wood used for furniture making. It has a unique grain pattern and a beautiful color. Furniture made of maple is usually brown in color, but you can always give it a more sophisticated look by applying polyurethane or varnish for protection.


Birchwood has a similar color to maple wood. It is very hard and has beautiful dark grain. The wood is commonly used to make boxing, chess, and billiard boards.

Poplar Wood

Poplar wood is cheap wood, but it is very good if you are trying to make inexpensive furniture. It has a medium grain and a grayish-white color. When the wood is stained, it can look like oak or maple wood.

Cherry Wood

Cherry wood is bright in color with a brownish finish. It is reddish in color when it is stained. It can be stained to look like mahogany or walnut wood.

Mahogany Wood

Mahogany wood is a very dark-colored wood with a reddish hue. When stained, it can look like walnut or mahogany wood.

Alder Wood

Alder wood is commonly used to carve bowling balls, rifle stocks, and lacrosse sticks. It is also used for making wooden boxes, fishing rods, and other items. When the wood is stained, it can look like maple or walnut wood.

Pinewood & Cedarwood

Pinewood and cedarwood are the two types of wood used to make fishing rods, skis, and hand-carved furniture. They are very hardwoods that can only be stained after having been treated with oil or varnish.

Dark pine wood stain is a very dark and intense color. When stained, it can look like maple or walnut.

Is pine wood good for staining?

Pine woods are easy to stain, but not necessarily very easy to maintain consistent color. Because they are very soft woods they exhibit significant color variation between the darker and the lighter woods of this type. This differing process causes different color perceptions for the same wood species.

Walnut Wood

Walnut wood has a reddish-brown color and a beautiful grain. It is softer than oak wood, so it is easier to work with. Staining walnut wood can give a furniture piece a sophisticated and modern look.


What is the stain?

Stain is a coloring agent of paint. Wood stain, dark stain, or any other type of stain will give the wood an even natural color or an even color tone.

Which types of wood look best with espresso stain?

There are different types of wood, each with its characteristics. Expresso stain can be applied to most types wood species such as oak, maple, birchwood, ashwood, and poplar wood.

How do you apply the stain?

Make sure the surface and wood are clean and dry. Be aware that stains have different consistencies so may have to wait longer (or shorter) than other wood stains to achieve a natural color even color tone. Use a rag or foam brush.

Why does oak stain better than pine?

Pine is a similar hardwood and oak is rarer. Pine has more tendency to burn in a fire while oak can survive longer than other hardwoods.

How chestnut stains?

Chestnut is a close cousin to oak. Chestnut is one of the strongest hardwoods used for peeling and other types of finishing. Chestnut has a darker color tone than oak and a richer look. Chestnut stain is also called brown stain.

How does wood absorb stain?

Wood is a porous material so it absorbs stain in a liquid form. If you wish to get better penetration, mix the stain with a water and alcohol mixture.

Why choose black wood stain over paint?

Blackwood stain is a dark color tone that will compliment any type of furniture. Painting a dark stain over lighter-colored paint can be difficult and time-consuming.

Can you stain wood GREY?

Yes, if you want to recreate the look of the older furniture. Grey wood stain requires two or more coats to achieve a nice finish.


Stain is a core ingredient of furniture to make it look elegant. With just a few basics and a little practice, you can develop your own personal style.

So try out different wood stains and find out what works best for you. Just make sure that if you chose to put the wood stain on the pine furniture, the result will be a nice rich brown tone and not a black paint-like tone. If you’re looking for more info on staining wood, check out or post on when to stain your wooden deck.

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