Magic Maple Stain

Magic Maple Stain is a water-based acid stain that has been sold commercially since 1955. The original formula was created by Ken Thompson of Slippery Rock, Pa to highlight the curl on maple gun stocks. The stain has subsequently been used to accentuate the figure on a variety of figured woods, and to antique bone, antler, horn and some straight-grained hardwoods. Dunlap woodcrafts acquired the formula from Ken Thompson in 1988.

Ever since it was formulated, Magic Maple has not had a specific way to be used, or what to use it on. For that reason, we will tell you how it has been used, rather than provide you with specific instructions. Magic Maple is most used in wood and horns, but not limited to these materials.

First of all, use Magic Maple stain in a well ventilated area; wear protective eyewear; and maintain bottle out of the reach of children. Please get acquainted with the stain by putting it on trial wood sample pieces. As you experiment with the samples, write the procedures and the quantities used. Magic Maple comes in the bottle fully concentrated. It can be used right out of the bottle or it can be diluted with tap water. When used in wood, the full strength formula will darken most American hard woods. Full strength is recommended for antiquing military musket stocks or for used on horns. For the staining of a gunstock, the recommendation would be: 1 part stain, 5 part water. This is a good point of departure. With a cotton swab, apply the mixture of water and stain to the wood sample, wait 15 minutes and observe the obtained effect. If the depth of darkness is too much, add one more part of water and try again. Another way of obtaining the desire depth of darkness is by rubbing-off wood with steel wool until depth of darkness desired is obtained.

Note: When Magic Maple is used in curly maple, you may experience that with this stain you have reached that beautiful color that you were trying to achieve to finish your gun, musical instrument or piece of furniture. Magic Maple is a formulated stain that contains an acid agent to oxidize the wood fibers. This agent some times remains active and brings a green cast tint to your finished project. Therefore, in order to avoid the development of any green coloration, we recommend that after having achieved the right contrast tone in curly maple, a secondary stain should be applied. The stain should be alcohol based, or leather dye. Many times the desired color may not be achieved with just one color. Please consider mixing multiple colors using perhaps the brown as the base tone and adjusting it using yellow, red, orange and a bit of black. This is only a guideline not instructions on how to finish.

After you finish the staining process, you may use boiled linseed oil as your final finish using the old rule:

  • One coat everyday for a week
  • One coat every week for a month
  • One coat every month for a year

You may also use any other oil base finish such as Tung oil.

Magic Maple Stain Prices

Qty Description Price
1 4oz Bottle $7.50
6 4oz Bottle $5.50 each
1 Quart $32.00
1 Gallon $90.00