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I made a bench by ripping 2x12 doug fir and selecting the clearest pieces. Now I'm trying to figure out a finish that won't cover the grain and won't be splotchy. I'd like to add some light walnut color. Not sure if washcoating with clear shellac first is the best wat to go. Does anyone have experience trying to stain and finish doug fir?

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Spraying a dye would be the best way to get a uniform color. If that isn't an option you could treat the wood first with a wood conditioner but you would need a very dark color to achieve a walnut color. The wood conditioner is a sealer which makes staining harder. It would be a good idea to seal the wood with zinsser sealcoat especially around any knots. Shellac is a age old solution to the sap bleeding through the finish. Then you can topcoat it with the finish of your choice.
 

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I've used the transtint dyes on Doug fir with good results. Very easy to do and not blotchy at all. Transtint dyes make it easy to control the color even when applying by hand.
Mike Hawkins;)
 
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