JW thanks for the info
Yes i agree the large holes are my biggest problem, looking back i should of went with a different board in the center(seeing as i have enough lumber to enclose a 30' x 20' x 16' barn) but i didn't. Are you suggesting that i cut out and patch? or cut the end off by 2-3 inches and re-glue my end board? The issue i have is that the top is already sized to fit the frame to hold it, i don't think i have any room to shorten it(i have to check this).
Sanding advise - good i will go this route.
I like the idea of the Trans Tint dies as your right that this wood is very dry, dry, dry. Even applying pre-stain conditioner it darkened / changed a lot.
I've never used a sanding sealer / shellac but recently read something similar to what you suggest so i think i'll give it a shot.
Maybe you could cut the same amount off of both
ends and go with an extra length of board on each end? sort of a II====II instead of I====I .... That way it won't look patched.
I love using shellacs but then again, I'm used to using them. They aren't for everyone. You need to work quickly and not "over work" them. The shellac flakes are dissolved into denatured alcohol. Think how quickly alcohol evaporates on your skin.... denatured alcohol which the shellac flakes are dissolved in is really no different.
Really, it's the same with an alcohol based dye stain. But that is something you would spray rather than try to brush. But again, you need to work quickly or you end up with "stripes" in your stain job. So, if you aren't experienced with spraying alcohol dye stains, maybe water based would be a better way to go.
No matter which way you go though.... even if you end up using a gel stain (like the one from General Finishes).... I still recommend a sanding sealer prior to any final finish coats. It can be a shellac (as long as it's de-waxed shellac) or any number of sealer type coats. For example, many lacquers call for a vinyl sealer prior to the lacquer coats or an oil based sealer under an oil based varnish.... whatever you end up using.... an alcohol (shellac) or oil based sealer gives your project some depth and definition prior to final finish coats.
Once again.... always test on scrap and keep a finish schedule so that you can repeat your results once you find something that you like. What I like and works for me.... may not be your cup of tea so practice, practice, practice on scrap until you get the perfect (repeatable) end result for you. There are just so darned many different products and techniques available that no single process or product is the only answer. But, getting there is more than half the fun no?