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Testing Stain with Charles Neil's Pre-Color Conditioner

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Blog entry by Jimi_C posted 07-28-2010 08:25 AM 5813 reads 2 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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"



3 comments so far

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CharlesNeil

1610 posts in 3335 days


#1 posted 07-28-2010 02:24 PM

typically 2 coats are all you need on properly prepared surfaces ( sanded to 180) , sap wood in any species will absorb more colorant than the heart wood, I would suggest prepping the surface , before deciding on a 3rd coat, sometimes its needed, just be sure to well mix the prestain and apply liberal coats, we have to fill the soft grain, also you can let it dry as long as you like, 6 hours is a minimum , over night is better , 4 days wont hurt at all, also poplar is a fuzzy wood, so often as you mentioned a second light scuff sanding is needed , just do a light wipe with some 600 or so, as you do not want to break the seal and always avoid edges to avoid a sand thru , and as you are doing here , test, if you have sap wood it will be the worst to control, so test on it , to insure all is well

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Jimi_C

507 posts in 2699 days


#2 posted 07-28-2010 02:59 PM

Thanks Charles. I did let the coats dry quite a bit longer than your directions say – I believe both of them were done a day apart. As for the third coat – I’m just a complete newbie and have no idea if the end result above is what I should expect. To me, it looks pretty good, but like I’ve heard before “One man’s blotch is another man’s figure”. I guess that’s all that really matters, so I’ll stick with 2 coats and just make sure that I don’t over sand it to knock the fuzz down after the second coat.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1610 posts in 3335 days


#3 posted 07-28-2010 03:17 PM

Jimi , experiment some , I just did 2 pine hanging cabinets and I had alot of sap wood, I did 3 coats , sometimes depending on the density of the wood and grain structure it takes 3 ,not usually but sometimes

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