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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought I'd post a half-brained idea as my first thread. Pine is notorious for its tendency to blotch and also that the grain reversal occurs when staining. This is because the lighter soft-grain part of the wood tends to absorb more readily than the darker grain. I wonder then, what were to happen if one were to precondition it with something like shellac and then sand back a decent amount that the harder grain's shellac is removed, exposing the raw wood. Then a dark dye applied. Probably if not enough was sanded, you could sand a little more and repeat. I'd imagine it wouldn't look pretty. I'd imagine it would be difficult to sand evenly. However, can anyone imagine pulling it off, maybe on a smaller piece? If so, what steps would you take to see if it could be done on a test strip?

I have never really cared too much about blotching with pine and never had much of a problem with the amount of oil-based stain I have used, so I have no experience as of yet with blotch control.
 

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You can use a lot of different products for a wood conditioner but you should just apply it and use it like that. If you start sanding it's going to make the surface uneven and cause blotching anyway. The wood conditioner is just a sealer to make the surface more uniform so the stain is absorbed more uniform. You could thin down the varnish you are using or shellac or a natural stain, glue or even linseed oil. You just need to do some tinkering to figure out just how much to thin it to make it work for you. If you get desperate you could also buy a store bought wood conditioner.
 

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You can use a lot of different products for a wood conditioner but you should just apply it and use it like that. If you start sanding it's going to make the surface uneven and cause blotching anyway. The wood conditioner is just a sealer to make the surface more uniform so the stain is absorbed more uniform. You could thin down the varnish you are using or shellac or a natural stain, glue or even linseed oil. You just need to do some tinkering to figure out just how much to thin it to make it work for you. If you get desperate you could also buy a store bought wood conditioner.
Yes, but I was curious if it would be possible to avoid grain reversal and conditioner will not stop it. Like you say it evens out the coat. I don't know what's worse: blotching or a conditioner that drowns out the grain pattern.
 

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Yes, but I was curious if it would be possible to avoid grain reversal and conditioner will not stop it. Like you say it evens out the coat. I don't know what's worse: blotching or a conditioner that drowns out the grain pattern.
Grain reversal is the condition which causes blotching. When the tree is growing the fibers grow in a wavy direction and then when it is cut into boards the ends of the grain show up a lot in the middle of the board.

Because the wood conditioner is a sealer it is possible to over seal the wood causing the stain to have a very difficult time to color the wood making it look bland. What you have to do as a finisher is to tinker with the wood conditioner to get the right formula to where the wood will stain and stain uniformly. Myself I use a mixture of boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits 50/50 and allow it to dry completely before staining. Some store bought conditioners you have to apply it and let it sit for around 30 minutes and then stain while the conditioner is still wet. You would just have to start with the directions and do some test pieces to see if you used it right out of the can or thin it. I've never used shellac for that purpose so if I were to do that I would have to just make a guess as to how much to thin it and try it out on scrap to see what happen.

There are some different ways to make a uniform color on the woods that blotch. Use a strong conditioner and the color isn't dark enough so you go back over it with an alcohol based aniline dye which supplements the color without causing any blotching. This is a product that has to be sprayed though. It's how most furniture companies finish wood because the most important thing is to achieve a uniform color and if you have a piece of wood in it that really absorbs the stain that can ruin the piece. Therefore they keep the stain very superficial.
 
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