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(clever wood pun here)
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all. I've done very little with staining and really don't know what I'm doing. I've done some tests on the baltic birch plywood that I am using for a shelving unit with the hopes of staining it darker. The plywood is faced with cherry.

Attached is a photo of a test piece of the plywood that I have wiped some stain on. Are the dark stripes that are appearing avoidable or is this just going to be the nature of the beast? I am using Varathane oil based indoor stain, wiped on (Provincial is the color). Is there a better product or something that I need to condition the wood with?


 

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bzguy
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That looks like a burn/gouge mark from the factory belt-sander.
Any wood will soak up more stain/pigment wherever it has been sanded coarser than the surrounding area.
I find both cherry (wood) and oil based (stains) the hardest to work with for blotching.
Baltic ply at least used to be a premium product.
That burn mark looks to be near the factory edge, probably none in most of the panel, but re-sand everything evenly anyway.
Then try an alcohol or lacquer based stain, much less blotch prone, especially if you spray and do not wipe.
 

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Hello all. I've done very little with staining and really don't know what I'm doing. I've done some tests on the baltic birch plywood that I am using for a shelving unit with the hopes of staining it darker. The plywood is faced with cherry.

Attached is a photo of a test piece of the plywood that I have wiped some stain on. Are the dark stripes that are appearing avoidable or is this just going to be the nature of the beast? I am using Varathane oil based indoor stain, wiped on (Provincial is the color). Is there a better product or something that I need to condition the wood with?


what you have is called blotching , whis mean's that when you stain the soft wood will soak up more and the harder wood will not, what you need is what i use is from charles neil blotch control , what this video and you will see what i mean and where you can buy the conditner
 

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(clever wood pun here)
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks all for your suggestions. I am not to the finishing stage yet, so I have some time to tinker. It looks like some kind of sealing needs to be done first, but all seem to lighten the stain. Gel stain over a coat of 1lb shellac sounds promising, but that also means picking out a new stain. More testing is in order.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjwgaADLr9w&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Sent from my DROID RAZR MAXX using Woodworking Talk
 

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Birch is just as bad to blotch as maple so a wood conditioner would be helpful if you are using an oil stain. A dye stain would be more effective in getting a more uniform color than using any other stain but it works best sprayed. The wood does look to me like it needs better sanding. On woods prone to blotch I would recommend sanding to at least 220 grit with a random orbital sander. 320 would even be better. It's the softer part of the grain that accepts the stain more that causes the dark streaks and a finer sanding will make the surface a little more uniform. The wood conditioner is a sealer which the softer part of the grain soaks up more so it stains more uniform. Because it is a sealer though you would need a little darker stain to achieve the color you want. Just don't apply multiple coats of stain. Multiple coats of stain can cause problems with the adhesion of the topcoat. A dye stain though you can use multiple coats until you get the color you want. It is more similar to ink so there is not a build up of linseed oil and pigments on the surface like you would get with an oil stain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Birch is just as bad to blotch as maple so a wood conditioner would be helpful if you are using an oil stain. A dye stain would be more effective in getting a more uniform color than using any other stain but it works best sprayed. The wood does look to me like it needs better sanding. On woods prone to blotch I would recommend sanding to at least 220 grit with a random orbital sander. 320 would even be better. It's the softer part of the grain that accepts the stain more that causes the dark streaks and a finer sanding will make the surface a little more uniform. The wood conditioner is a sealer which the softer part of the grain soaks up more so it stains more uniform. Because it is a sealer though you would need a little darker stain to achieve the color you want. Just don't apply multiple coats of stain. Multiple coats of stain can cause problems with the adhesion of the topcoat. A dye stain though you can use multiple coats until you get the color you want. It is more similar to ink so there is not a build up of linseed oil and pigments on the surface like you would get with an oil stain.
Hmm, I'll have to look into some dyes as well. I haven't worked with them, but I have come across a number of people who prefer dyes when working with less awesome substrates like plywood.

My test piece in the photo was sanded to 220 with an ROS. I feel like the lines are actually fine cracks or splits in the surface. It is smooth to touch, but they cover large areas. Honestly, I wonder if all Baltic Birch ply is this ragged or if I just got some crap. There is 1/4" and 3/4" both in this project and they really are the same on the surface.

I tried a pre-conditioner with my existing stain. It is more even, but the stain is nowhere near dark enough now. It looks about as dark as a clear oil based finish would look. :furious:
 

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what you have is called blotching , whis mean's that when you stain the soft wood will soak up more and the harder wood will not, what you need is what i use is from charles neil blotch control , what this video and you will see what i mean and where you can buy the conditner Blotch Control: CN's Pre-Color Conditioner - YouTube
Watched that video on Charles Neil, looks like great stuff, so I just ordered some. Giving it a try on this project I am doing using red oak for some reason came out a little blotchy. Going to sand it back down this weekend.
 

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Old School
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Watched that video on Charles Neil, looks like great stuff, so I just ordered some. Giving it a try on this project I am doing using red oak for some reason came out a little blotchy. Going to sand it back down this weekend.
Red Oak is one of the species that is less likely to blotch. Wood conditioners as a group are basically just a type of sealer, which inhibits stain penetration. Your problem is more likely how the wood was sanded (or not).






.
 

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Red Oak is one of the species that is less likely to blotch. Wood conditioners as a group are basically just a type of sealer, which inhibits stain penetration. Your problem is more likely how the wood was sanded (or not).







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Ya it was me trying to do something I shouldn't be doing....lol...staining it a dark walnut, I left it on for 15 minutes trying to darken it up which caused the blotching so now I have to sand it down and try using this conditioner to do what I want it to do. Probably would have been easier to use a sealer and dye. It may have been some sanding on my part as well...will definitely get sanded better now...lol..probably take all weekend to get back to clean wood to start over.
 

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Hmm, I'll have to look into some dyes as well. I haven't worked with them, but I have come across a number of people who prefer dyes when working with less awesome substrates like plywood.

My test piece in the photo was sanded to 220 with an ROS. I feel like the lines are actually fine cracks or splits in the surface. It is smooth to touch, but they cover large areas. Honestly, I wonder if all Baltic Birch ply is this ragged or if I just got some crap. There is 1/4" and 3/4" both in this project and they really are the same on the surface.

I tried a pre-conditioner with my existing stain. It is more even, but the stain is nowhere near dark enough now. It looks about as dark as a clear oil based finish would look. :furious:
I'm wondering if you have actual Baltic Birch. As far as birch plywood goes it has always been the best quality plywood you could use. I've been using it since is was stamped "Made in USSR" and I've only found one sheet that was defective. It wasn't rough though, it had some veneer delaminating on it.

A pre-stain conditioner is a sealer so it would inhibit the wood from taking the stain. When you use a conditioner you have to use a darker stain than if you were putting it directly on the wood. It also a bad practice of letting any stain set for 15 minutes. The stain should be wiped off right away after applying it. Letting the stain set you can get the wood so embedded with linseed oil and other chemicals it may take weeks to dry. The chemicals can have an adverse affect with the topcoat causing anything from poor adhesion to chemical reactions which could turn the stain white or orange.

If you wish to try dyes, they are better sprayed at about 15-20 psi. They take a bit of getting used to. You kinda have to ignore what you are seeing as you apply it and spray a uniform coat. They dry so fast that when you start spraying by the time you get to the end of where you are spraying the first part looks like it has nothing on it. Instinctively you feel like you need to add some more stain but if you do it will be too dark. If you use the alcohol based dyes they can be topcoated in two minutes. It's better just to put clear over it and if it is slightly light you can scuff sand the first coat and put a light spray of the dye between the coats of finish. As with anything try it on scraps to get used to it before you use it on a project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Here's an update on this issue. I ended up trying 1lb and 2lb cuts of shellac to seal under the Minwax Gel Stain that I had selected, as well as some Miniwax Pre-Stain Conditioner. The shellac looked marginally more even than the pre-stain on the plywood, but eliminated most of the grain contast on the cherry. I ended up hitting everything with one coat of the pre-stain and one coat of the gel stain. It isn't perfect, but it is reasonably uniform. I am two coats deep with wipe-on oil based poly now. Once the finish is further along, I'll have a better idea of how this will look. The poly seems to be helping to tie it all together. No pics yet, but I will post some when done with the finishing.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f13/baby-needs-book-case-build-thread-running-start-57329/

Thanks for the input everyone!
 

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Hi, I think you are following the right steps for staining. It could be that you might be using different organic material oil. But, I sincerely prefer deck oil for suitable staining. It is also necessary to check the wood stain colour and it is always necessary to look at the pattern for stain. The exterior wood stain should be of simple colour and pattern.
For more details you should also check Wood_stain
 
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