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Forum topic by bill merritt posted 02-14-2010 08:54 AM 882 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bill merritt

203 posts in 2713 days

02-14-2010 08:54 AM

Can anyone tell me how to protect the end grain from turning dark when staining a piecs? I know there’s a way but can’t find notes or article. Thanks

-- Bill Merritt -Augusta Ga. woodworker

5 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3246 days

#1 posted 02-14-2010 01:47 PM

Bill, end grain is extremely porous and will readily absorb stains and finish. Think of it as a bunch of straws packed tightly together and standing on end. To keep the end grain from absorbing more stain and finish, thus giving it a darker appearance, than the rest of the wood in a project you can do the following:

- sand it to a higher grit. If I finish at 150 grit prior to staining I will sand end grain to 240 grit.
- size the end grain with a 1# cut of shellac to partially seal it before applying stain or addiitional finish.

I really prefer sanding as it is easier for me to control as opposed to selectively sealing the wood.

If you want more info just do a search for staining end grain.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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bill merritt

203 posts in 2713 days

#2 posted 02-14-2010 02:27 PM

Thanks, that’s a place to start. This maghogany is bad about the problem. Thanks for your info Tom and Scott.

-- Bill Merritt -Augusta Ga. woodworker

View JdCustomfurniture's profile


13 posts in 2446 days

#3 posted 02-16-2010 05:44 PM

Sand Sand and sand, you want to what they call close the grain. It should feel like a piece of glass when done. If you can see any marks like saw marks or sanding scratches then its not sanded enough or you must go to a finer grit paper. Also if you are currently brushing the stain on and then wiping it off try just swiping it with a little bit of stain on your cloth. Hope this helps.

-- Whatever you do,work at it with all your heart,as working for the lord,not for men. ( Colossians 3:23 )

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 2493 days

#4 posted 02-16-2010 06:31 PM

The only thing I would add to the above advice is to apply the stain to the end grain, then IMMEDIATELY wipe it off. This keeps it from soaking in too deeply which makes the end darker. If it’s too light, do it again. You can always add more, but it’s a real bear taking it away. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Fuzzy's profile


297 posts in 3413 days

#5 posted 02-16-2010 06:49 PM

Looks like it’s mostly been covered here ..

You can seal up the pores by sanding to a much finer grit .. by sealing with something to prevent the penetration (BLO can be your friend here .. it prevents the penetration because it is currently occupying those pores, but it will dissipate over time leaving a nice look) .. by applying less stain .. this can be accomplished by using a less-wet rag to apply or use a thicker, gel stain.

ANYTHING you do must keep the end grain pores from wicking up the stain .. .. think of this as the worst case scenario you’ll ever encounter for blotching, and take appropriate measures to defeat it.

-- - dabbling in sarcasm is foolish … if you’re not proficient at it, you end up looking stupid … ... ...

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