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Staining Pine

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  • Staining Pine

    Hi,

    After seeing all the projects that were posted recently, I can see the members of this forum are not only fine woodworkers, but can do great finishing as well.

    So my question is this: Do you need to prepare pine with a conditioner before staining it? I heard it comes out blochy if not conditioned before hand. I stained some pine doors after using a conditioner fro Minwax, but they came out with a bit of an orange-ish tint that wasn't there when a sample was stained without the prep.

    Any suggestions on a prep, or is it even necessary? I thought I saw somewhere that you could use water.

    Thanks,
    Frank

  • #2
    I am not an expert but have stained pine using minwax oil stain both ways. The biggest factor in the finish was the prep sanding. I usually overdo it by going to 320 grit before I stain (this means the stain doesn't take as fast and won't be as dark. That said, the biggest difference I saw was on the edge of the stain when it is intially applied. I tried using a brush, rag, and sponge, and I noticed that regardless of the methods, without the sealer, the edge of the stain as I put it on (where the wet stain and the dry wood met) left a darker line that I could not remove, even by immediately applying wet stain over it. It was particularly noticeable if a drop of stain hit the dry wood before it was wetted (left a ring on the edge). I did not have this problem using the presealer, and did not notice the orange-tint that you described but I finish coated with the fast-dry polyurethane, which has a bit of amber hue also. I had the same results using Golden Oak, Natural cherry, Early American and Provincial.
    I did notice that using the presealer affected how dark I could ultimately stain. Anything after two coats of stain was a waste because it did not darken it further. Without the sealer I was able to get a darker hue.
    One method I have yet to try is wiping the surface with a rag damp with mineral spirits before applying the stain.
    I have not tried the waterbased stains, but have heard they are even worse as for blotching.
    The above was my experience using 1 x 8 southern yellow pine when I was making "sliding boards" for a paraplegic relative to use to get from his wheel chair to the drivers seat, commode, etc. so I was able to experiment a bit with colors and techniques.

    Go
    Practicing at practical wood working

    Comment


    • #3
      I have not tried straight stain on my projects, I like a more natural wood look. The stains that I have used (honey Pine) were in the form of Minwax Polyshades which is stain and poly all in one application. I really like the look that Circa 1850 hand rubbed paste varnish creates. I have not needed a pre sealer for any of these products.
      If the presealer you used was shellac based it could be the source of your orange tint, there are many different grades (and colours) of shellac the most common of which is orange shellac

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      • #4
        It may well be me, but I think a lot of the pine that is currently available is just poor quality or perhaps too newly cut and not properly dried. Several years ago, when we re-did our kitchen in this house, we went with a rough plaster look and dark stained pine boards to give it that "country" look. Using MinWax dark walnut, the wood came out very nicely and even matched the dark pine cabinets and round table and chairs in the dinette. I never had a problem applying the stain directly with no pre-stain or conditioner of any kind.

        However, last year I built several pine bookcase with the intention of staining them. The wood was horrible and wouldn't take the stain at all. It was blotching, streaked, and just a mess. I even tried the recommended "conditioner" with poor results. In both cases, I used MinWax oil-based penetrating stain. The new pine seemed too full of pitch, etc. I ended up priming everthing and then painting it. I figured the wood from the big box stores is just poor quality, not properly dried, too much pitch, and far too many knots. The only other supplier in the area uses a local source, but it is not finished and I'd need both a planer and a place to dry the lumber as most of it is only air-dried a few months.

        CWS

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        • #5
          I made quite a few chip trays for a craps table last year and used pine. They came out pretty well, but man did the stain give me fits. I do not care to go through that again, even after using all the treatments and such. Next time I will definately let the wood dry out for a much longer time. Here I had thought leaving it out in the Phoenix sun for a summer would dry that out like a hot fire, but apparently not.

          I had the worst luck with water based stains. Used some MinWax which finally did ok after quite a bit of drying time between coats and applying the stain very lightly.
          Still enjoying all 10 fingers!

          Comment


          • #6
            Polyshade

            Originally posted by wbrooks
            I have not tried straight stain on my projects, I like a more natural wood look. The stains that I have used (honey Pine) were in the form of Minwax Polyshades which is stain and poly all in one application. I really like the look that Circa 1850 hand rubbed paste varnish creates. I have not needed a pre sealer for any of these products.
            If the presealer you used was shellac based it could be the source of your orange tint, there are many different grades (and colours) of shellac the most common of which is orange shellac
            Thanks for all the replies. I'll check out some of the ideas.

            I've seen this Polyshades stuff but have not tried it. Does it get darker with more coats, or does the poly component prevent the stain in it from penetrating anymore after the first coat?

            Frank

            Comment


            • #7
              Frank,

              From my experience, the Polyshades get's darker with additional coats. I used some pine a couple of years ago and needed it to be dark cherry in color. I used the Polyshades and it took about five coats to get the color that I was seeking.

              From my experience, pine doesn't take penetrating stain very well unless it is quite dry. With the Polyshades it just mostly builds on the surface, but yet is tranparent enough to allow the grain pattern to come through. Just use some fine Scotchbrite or 000 steel wool between coats. (I prefer the Scotchbrite as it doesn't leave the nasty metal fibers that steel wool will.)

              I do think that the Polyshades is tougher to use than penetrating stain, because the poly sets so quickly. Next time I do a project like that, I think I'll try a gel stain instead. No experience with that yet, but my thoughts are that it can be controlled better. But I've been told that I should then spray any varnish (poly or whatever) protective finish, rather than try to brush or rub it, otherwise it may damage the gel stain coat. Perhaps someone with that experience can advise.

              CWS

              CWS

              Comment


              • #8
                I agree that polyshades does darken as more coats are applied.
                I have use a cherry gel stain on maple and I do like the way it applies and I have used the hand rubbed gel varnish as a topcoat without affecting the stain layer. You must be very careful when sanding between finish coats. If you sand through the finish and into the gel stain layer you will have a bare spot in a flash. The reason for this is that gel stain does not penetrate but forms a film on the surface of the wood.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Staining Pine & other softwoods

                  Here is how you do it, I've been painting for close to 30 years. I agree a good sanding is needed most of the time, but that alone is not enough. I've always made my own stain controller. With softwoods it is very hard to control the color which is determined by the amounts that soak in.
                  Receipe for Stain Controller,
                  It needs to be close not exact. 1 quart of mineral spirits to 1 shot glass of varnish, mixed then apply a coat without making any puddles or runs. Let it dry then stain. ( I've used the spirits I clean my varnish brush with the day before at times. I also have heard of guys using thompson's water seal)

                  The stain also makes a big difference, Poly shades is nothing more than colored varnish, you are covering the look of the grain when you use these.
                  I too do not like water based stains or varnishes.
                  There are the heavy bodied stains which are ok if your going for a dark color. Then the thinner stains like Minwax. You put the color on and then wipe at the right time to get the darknes you want. Expiriment with your scraps. The stain control fills the open grained areas and give you the time to do the wiping. With the wiping you can decide the leave some behind for added detail in certain moldings, you can also burnish other areas to highlight or brighten the color.

                  When you run into a high pitch pine like another poster did you need to find lacquer based stains. The lacquer thinner will cut through the pitch to do the job. Blonde-it is one name of stains that comes to mind.

                  Varnish, call me old fashion but I have never liked Polyurethanes. They seem to leave a coating that is laying on top of the wood. Regular varnish become more invisible. My favorite method is 1st coat of gloss varnish, then follow up with next coat/s of satin or semi gloss. Until you try do not discount doing the 1st coat in gloss. With the gloss you get twice the coating thickness. you also can clearly see where and how well you've sanded between coats.

                  Tom


                  PS. A couple of other varnishing do's & don't. Use a varnish only brush, your old varnish brush becomes your staining brush. Stir satin throughly and each time you use more. Never work out of the can it comes in, pour some off into a work pot when you're done don't put it back into the "virgin" materials, save it make some more stain controller or dump it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Staining Pine

                    I am struggling with how to finish a bare-wood installed bay window, and this looks like the best source of experienced information yet. The wood is pine. Too many pets and people for bad fumes. Tried water-based stain on a sample of pine from another project, and did not like the look at all. Has anyone a suggestion of a project that can be applied without dripping down the wall? I do not mind making multiple applications, and suspect I will have to finish with a polyth product. The entire project is inside, and allergies are prevalent. I want to preserve the wood, see the grain, and not hurt anyone or my wall & floor.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Staining Pine

                      That's a tall order, Mytaber! You may have to experiment with some kind of natural product you make yourself. Shellac is a simple kind of thing where you get the flakes (the flakes are the "product" of a particular beetle), and add alcohol to create the finish. For stains, you can experiment with various things. You're going to end up having to use alcohol or naptha or some other nasty stuff to mix it, though. If you use water, you'll end up raising the grain way too much.

                      As far as the drippies go, I've found the gel stains are really easy to use and don't leave drips everywhere. They do stink a bit, and you have to leave the rags out somewhere for a while (I generally lay them out on a completely empty section of the basement floor for a couple weeks) since they can self-combust if you shove them into the trash can. As long as you put them somewhere where they can't damage anything if they do, for some reason, catch fire, you're fine. The stain is very nice to work with. One coat is generally all you'll need to get a nice even tone. I usually follow that with either tung oil or poly. Poly would be best for a window.
                      I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Staining Pine

                        One trick that I have found is too put a coat of minwax clear stain over the product and while that is still wet, I apply the color coat of stain. I guess this allowed the stain to soak in a little slower and more evenly. The only draw back that I found is that it will require multiple coats.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Staining Pine

                          Originally posted by mtayber View Post
                          I am struggling with how to finish a bare-wood installed bay window, and this looks like the best source of experienced information yet. The wood is pine. Too many pets and people for bad fumes. Tried water-based stain on a sample of pine from another project, and did not like the look at all. Has anyone a suggestion of a project that can be applied without dripping down the wall? I do not mind making multiple applications, and suspect I will have to finish with a polyth product. The entire project is inside, and allergies are prevalent. I want to preserve the wood, see the grain, and not hurt anyone or my wall & floor.
                          Have a look at Resisthane water based lacquer, available at highlandwoodworking.com
                          It's better sprayed but can be brushed according to the manuf. No toxic fumes, leaves a clear finish that is very durable. They also have a tint for it if you prefer some ambering of the finish. Amazing stuff.
                          ken
                          Poplar Branch Wood Crafts

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