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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have some birch frames I would like to stain. From what I read so far these are the steps I plan to follow.
1) wipe down with a damp cloth, and sand using 220 grit.
2) apply pre stain wood conditioner
3) apply stain
4) clear coat.
I would like to use water based products and a stain that you can wipe on instead of spraying.
I am looking for recommendations on what brand/type of wood conditioner as well as stain to use?
Thanks
 

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Are you sure those frames are birch? Your pictures look like 1 x 6 pine boards, judging from the grain pattern and knots. Minwax, Varathane, and Sherwin Williams all have conditioners, stain and finish that is readily available in most towns. The wiping stains are usually oil base. Each company makes their own wood conditioner. Zinsser also makes a product called "Seal-Coat" which can be thinned and used as a conditioner. It is a handy product to have around because you can use is as a sanding sealer, especially if you want to use a water based finish. You would apply it on after the stain to create a barrier so the water based finish does not raise the grain. You can use it on projects where you put a new finish over an old finish as a protective barrier between the two to prevent chemical reactions. Here is a link for that product. You can find it at Home Depot and most other lumber supply or paint stores...
http://www.worldpaintsupply.com/zinsser-sealcoat-universal-sanding-sealer-1-gallon/
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
my mistake i just looked it up and it says "Better Kiln Dried Whitewood Board S4S "

Would this change my method of staining?

thanks again
 

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Pine soaks up stain more and will get darker than birch would. It also tends to take stain more unevenly, so you definitely want to use the wood conditioner. This will help even out the stain. Pine also is affected by water much more than birch for grain raising from water based finish. I would use the Zinsser as the conditioner (thinned down), then full strength as the sanding sealer, before applying a water based finish. Look at these links...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gfm7OFTmp0
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This one shows the Zinsser Seal Coat...video is too short....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsdZ1rzZEus
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I have some birch frames I would like to stain. From what I read so far these are the steps I plan to follow.
1) wipe down with a damp cloth, and sand using 220 grit.
2) apply pre stain wood conditioner
3) apply stain
4) clear coat.
I would like to use water based products and a stain that you can wipe on instead of spraying.
I am looking for recommendations on what brand/type of wood conditioner as well as stain to use?
Thanks
It's helpful to wet the wood to raise the grain and sand it with 220 grit paper. It will probably help with the blotching as the wood conditioner.

If it was birch but it's the same story with pine the wood conditioner will help to control blotching. Personally I don't use any store bought conditioner. I use linseed oil thinned 50/50 with mineral spirits. Many people here speak highly of the Charles Neil conditioner so it might be worth a try.

As far as stain if you use an oil based stain, it is incompatable with water based finishes. I would recommend putting a single coat of de-waxed shellac on as a barrier coat for the water based topcoat. It helps anyway because the water based topcoat raises the grain making the first few coats rough. The finish will get smoother and build quicker if it is sealed.

Be sure to watch the temperature recomdations for the finish you are using. If it is cool in your shop it may take two or three times the drying time as what is on the directions. After each coat lightly scuff sand the finish with 220 or finer grit sandpaper. By doing this the finish will get smoother and better with each coat. Apply enough finish to achieve 3 mils thick which is about the thickness of a lawn and leaf trash bag. By wiping the finish on you can't really count coats. With an oil based finish it takes about 2 to 3 coats to equal one coat of the brush on finish so it may take 4 to 6 coats. With a water based finish it could take much more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I went with the charles neil wood conditioner. I tried a test piece with some left over oil based stain, although i still want to use waterbased for this project just have not decided on which to use yet
 

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If your using an oil base stain, try only one coat of the BC , often it is enough and will help with color retention . The oil in the stain combined with the 2 coats of BC is too much . :thumbsup:

Just do a good wiped full wet coat and let it soak a bit then wipe the excess off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
After the single coat it was very light, should of taken a pic.
I left it on for about 5 min prior to wiping. I was only messing around with the oil based stain I plan to use water base for the frames. I am planning on picking up General Finishes water base stain when I get some time to stop at rockler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
As much as I wanted to go the wb stain route, i felt at least with my test pieces the oil based stain showed the grain better. Unfortunately my test piece came out a lot better than the frame did. I think a lot of that has to with the difference in size, the small test piece gets completely covered in stain at basically the same time and is taken off with a single wipe, as oppose to my 4' X 2' frames which takes a lot more time to cover in stain and wipe off so the amount of time that the stain sits on the wood is not as consistent throughout the entire piece as it is with the small test piece. I could be wrong as all this stain stuff is still very new to me.
Now i have to decide on either a satin or semi gloss clear.

thanks again .
 

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As much as I wanted to go the wb stain route, i felt at least with my test pieces the oil based stain showed the grain better. Unfortunately my test piece came out a lot better than the frame did. I think a lot of that has to with the difference in size, the small test piece gets completely covered in stain at basically the same time and is taken off with a single wipe, as oppose to my 4' X 2' frames which takes a lot more time to cover in stain and wipe off so the amount of time that the stain sits on the wood is not as consistent throughout the entire piece as it is with the small test piece. I could be wrong as all this stain stuff is still very new to me.
Now i have to decide on either a satin or semi gloss clear.

thanks again .
From the pictures your main problem is the wood wasn't sanded enough. I can see mill marks in the wood where the wood was surfaced. This is making dark lateral lines on the wood you may be perceiving as blotching. It otherwise looks good to me. A lot of folks frown on belt sanders but I have always sanded the mill marks out of the wood before using a orbital sander. Like anything else a belt sander takes some practice to work well. It's real easy to tip the sander on one corner or another and make dents in the wood. The sander just needs to be kept flat on the wood and move around a lot. You can though get these mill marks out of the wood with an orbital sander. You just need to start with a coarser paper and work it down progressively to finer grits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Would you say i have the same issue on the top part? I sanded the top more than the rest since its at eye level.
For the entire frame i started with 80 grit and moved up to 100, 150, 220, and 320.

i still have to finish the second one so i would like to avoid the same mistake.

Thanks again
 

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It's difficult to tell from a photo online so I enhanced the picture in Photoshop. See the lateral lines running across the boards marked with a red dot. These are caused but the planer that surfaced the wood. Normally starting with 80 grit sandpaper is good however if the planer that surfaced the wood was dull or they didn't have the knives set properly it will surface rougher and needs more aggressive sanding. I've also seen wood that was sent through a planer at 100 feet per minute which really makes valleys between the cuts. You may need better sanding equipment or start with 60 grit paper. The down side is 60 grit paper really makes swirl marks on the wood with a orbital but can be removed with 80 grit. It also makes your sanding more effective if you would wipe the wood down with a damp cloth between grit changes to raise the grain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
got it thanks. is my lack of sanding the only contributor to the differences between my test piece and actual frame? i feel like there has to be more to it?
 
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