I’ve had family in town since Friday, so work on the table has been put on hold for a few days. I did have time to test out Charles Neil’s Pre-Color Conditioner, which arrived on my doorstep Friday afternoon. This was a piece of poplar, with the normal streaks of light sapwood and darker brown areas (the corner facing the camera was pretty much very light in tone):
You can click on the links to see a larger version of the pic (hosted from my home webserver, sorry if it gets slow). Overall, I’m very happy with the results. This was done with two applications of General Finishes Georgian Cherry gel stain, about two days apart.
Compared with my attempt to pre-seal using shellac the results are way better. I didn’t even really prep this scrap surface at all, so there are some pretty obvious saw marks and whatnot on the surface. I may do a third coat of the conditioner, I haven’t decided yet. There are a couple of lighter spots on the piece, which could be from me sanding the seal coats too much. I let both coats dry longer than recommended, but after applying the second coat, the grain was still raised a bit so I did an extremely light pass with 400 grit sand paper. Not sure if that caused the light areas or not, but I figure a third coat wouldn’t hurt anything. I’m sure Charles can and will offer any suggestions :)
-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"