Staining Douglas Fir Doors
This is my first post here. We are replacing all the doors in our (small) house with vertical grain douglas fir doors from Rogue Valley Doors, both interior and exterior. We would like to stain them to (approximately) match our cherry kitchen cabinets. Currently, I am trying things out on some sample boards.
I have read Bob Flexner's Understanding Wood Finishing, which frankly left me a bit confused. I am still not sure if I should use a dye stain or a pigment stain, or both, or one that is a mixture. I am also not sure if I should use a pre-made wood conditioner, or make my own out of thinned varnish, or use thinned shellac.
After a couple of trips to our local Woodcraft, I first tried (at the recommendation of the shop guy there) a GF oil-base gel stain. That one wasn't the right color, and it also blotched. So I figured I need a wood conditioner.
I went back and bought GF wood conditioner, and their oil-base wipe-on stain in Warm Cherry and Candlelight. I sanded to 220, wiped on the conditioner, wiped off excess, waited 35 min., and wiped on the stain, then wiped it off. Both of the colors I picked seem like they might work, but I still get blotching.
What can I do to further minimize the blotching? Would thinned shellac be better as a pre-sealer? Or would a dye work better than an oil-base stain? After reading Flexner, I was sure I should use dye and then a pigment stain (for greater lightfastness), but the guy in the wood shop said a dye would be too risky to use for a beginner on a big project. These are expensive doors, we have to get it right (or else we have to paint...).
Regarding the final finish, I am currently planning on Arm-R-Seal for the interior doors, and System Three marine spar varnish for the exterior.
I would appreciate any thoughts or advice! Thank you in advance.