Reply by Scott Bryan

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Posted on Is this overkill?

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3969 days

#1 posted 10-05-2009 08:56 PM

Tim, as far as pine or any other wood that blotches easily goes, you should use a preconditioner or a 1 lb cut of shellac to help prevent blotching. The finishing order should be sand to 150, if you are going to stain, or 180 if you are going to put a natural finish on the wood. Sanding to higher levels closes the pores of the wood and works against the staining process. Following sanding precondition the wood with either a preconditioner or shellac. Let it cure, in the case of the preconditioner this would be overnight. The manufacturers directions call for staining within a two hour period but this should be ignored and let the conditioner cure out before staining. Once the stain has been applied let it cure out- usually overnight. Then apply a 2 lb cut of shellac as a sealer. It should cure out in less than an hour and then lightly sand with 320 and begin applying your poly.

For a poly topcoat I would recommend using a wipe-on poly. This is commercially available but you can make your own by diluting oil base poly 50:50 with mineral spirits. Simply wipe a layer on with a clean paper towel or cotton cloth. Let cure (4-6 hours or overnight depending on your shop temp). Lightly sand with 400 grit and apply another coat. Keep building the finish in this manner until such time as you get the finish you want.

As far as the finishing routine goes I generally recommed developing a “story stick” for your finishing routine by using a piece a scrap and sanding it to the same level as your project. Apply your finishing routine on marked areas of the it showing the contribution of the individual finishing steps.

By the way sanding the end grain to a higher grit is a good idea since end grain will absorb finish/stain more readily. If you were to magnify the end grain of the wood it would appear as a packet of straws so it is going to absorb more finish than the rest of the wood.

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