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Pros and Cons of using a Pre-Stain Conditioner

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Forum topic by andy_P posted 11-11-2011 09:15 PM 39937 views 2 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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andy_P

353 posts in 2672 days


11-11-2011 09:15 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I finally gave in to the theory of using a pre-stain product when staining “soft” woods. I used MinWax Pre-Stain Conditioner and followed the directions closely. I applied the stain to a picture frame made of Soft Maple with Mesquite, Sasafras and Cancharana accents. Outside of the Soft Maple none of the other woods would normally need a conditioner but there was no way of keeping from applying the conditioner to the entire frame.

The first thing that I noticed is that the conditioner alone darkened the woods. Because you need to apply the stain to the conditioned woods within two hours, I really don’t know if a complete drying would have lightened the wood.

Bottom line is that I found that after applying the stain, MinWax Oil Stain in Aged Oak color, the Maple still looked blotchy and the over all look of the piece was much darker than I had intended to be.

I have a long way to go before using up the one pint of conditioner that I purchased, but I think next time I will give the Zinzer product a try.

Anyone have any thoughts experiences or anything else to share along these lines?

-- Wood is a gift from God/Nature that maintains its beauty forever via the hand of a woodworker.


31 replies so far

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TheDane

4997 posts in 3127 days


#1 posted 11-11-2011 09:32 PM

I have used Charles Neil’s Blotch Control ( http://charlesneilwoodworking.3dcartstores.com/Charles-Neils-Pre-Color-Conditioner--Blotch-Control_p_47.html ) with excellent results, particularly on softer woods.

One thing I did discover (with Charles’ product, anyway) is that you should not over-sand. The first product I used it on was a pine monitor riser that I sanded to 600-grit, then stained with a gel stain. Results were terrible.

After conferring with Charles (he is great about answering emails and offering help), I sanded it back to bare wood (with 60-grit to get rid of the stain), then sanded up through the grits to 180, re-applied blotch control and re-stained it … results were terrific. I gave it several coats of lacquer (scuff-sanding between coats), and the finish has a shine a foot deep that is hard as a rock.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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andy_P

353 posts in 2672 days


#2 posted 11-13-2011 03:15 AM

thanks for the information, Gerry.

-- Wood is a gift from God/Nature that maintains its beauty forever via the hand of a woodworker.

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Fuzzy

297 posts in 3452 days


#3 posted 11-13-2011 07:04 PM

+1 for Charles Neil’s Blotch Control … watch the videos on his website for tips on using it … it is great stuff.

Using his product reminds me of some of the custom car finishes back in the 60’s. Back then, it was popular to lay down a gold of silver metal flake base or, maybe a pearl base coat, then topcoat it with candy apple colors.

With Charles’ product, you apply two coats of his conditioner, then apply colorant (dyes are preferred) to his product. Very little, if any of the dye ever gets into the wood … you are essentially coloring his product, which is protecting the wood from absorbing the dye, which is the cause of blotching. The really neat thing about this is, you can make full use of your lumber, completely ignoring the presence of sapwood, because once the dye goes on, the sapwood blends right in and disappears.

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

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TheDane

4997 posts in 3127 days


#4 posted 11-13-2011 07:08 PM

Fuzzy—2 great things about CN’s Blotch Control:

1) It works as advertised

2) If you have questions or need help/suggestions, Charles answers emails promptly and completely. No BS

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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andy_P

353 posts in 2672 days


#5 posted 11-13-2011 08:52 PM

I tried to watch Charles’ video both from his website and directly from YouTube but can’t get any sound. I wrote to him and hopfully he can somehow send me a video as an attachment that I can play. Wow, look at that YouTube site for finishing hints and you get as many opinions as there are trees in the forrest.

-- Wood is a gift from God/Nature that maintains its beauty forever via the hand of a woodworker.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4452 posts in 3424 days


#6 posted 11-13-2011 09:40 PM

I avoid MinWax whenever possible. I just don’t think that the product is designed for quality seal/stain/finish processes.
I am also a great advocate of using shellac as a wood conditioner. Quick dry time and reversable.
There are lots of dyes/stains/finishes that will yield great results.
Zinsser Seal Coat is a wonder sealer to be used prior to staining.
JMHO.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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andy_P

353 posts in 2672 days


#7 posted 11-13-2011 09:54 PM

Thanks for your input, Bill. I’m assuming you meant de-waxed shellac. Yes, I have heard good things about Zinsser products. My problem is living in a rural area I have to depend on getting things shipped in to me. Our local Home Depot and Lowe’s usually just carries the Big name products such as MinWax…etc. I’m really interested in chasing down more info regarding the Charles Neil products.

-- Wood is a gift from God/Nature that maintains its beauty forever via the hand of a woodworker.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3127 days


#8 posted 11-14-2011 01:10 AM

Andy—Give this link a shot ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfCYMdrP8rM ) ... I just tried it and it played audio & video just fine.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View ocwoodworker's profile

ocwoodworker

209 posts in 2468 days


#9 posted 11-14-2011 01:16 AM

I did the same thing you did. It was soooo frustrating to buy a blotch control only to have the pre-stain blotch your wood!!!! Used Charles Neil stuff after asking on the forum. Can’t speak more highly of it. Works great!!

-- I'd like to believe Murphy's Law haunts my woodshop, because if it's Karma it would mean I had something to do with it. - K.R.

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andy_P

353 posts in 2672 days


#10 posted 11-14-2011 01:22 AM

Gerry——-Same thing. No Sound but no problems with other videos on the same site. I sent an email to Charles. Maybe he can send me the video as an attachement to the email.

Kevin——— I really appreciate your comments. It is good to know someone else has had the exact same situation.

-- Wood is a gift from God/Nature that maintains its beauty forever via the hand of a woodworker.

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Fuzzy

297 posts in 3452 days


#11 posted 11-14-2011 07:52 AM

hmmm … I just watched the video on that link, and it worked fine …

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

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andy_P

353 posts in 2672 days


#12 posted 11-14-2011 05:52 PM

I don’t understand it, but I was able to watch the video on my wife’s computer. Neil is not the best spokesman in the world. He sure knows his stuff but explains things in a sort of drawn out way that leaves you wondering what he is geting at. Regardless, the product looks great and I am going to give it a try.

-- Wood is a gift from God/Nature that maintains its beauty forever via the hand of a woodworker.

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TheDane

4997 posts in 3127 days


#13 posted 11-14-2011 06:07 PM

Andy … You will not be sorry.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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andy_P

353 posts in 2672 days


#14 posted 11-17-2011 06:34 PM

cr1 …..I’m beginning to get that impression. I’ve had quite a few problems with their stuff over the years. Everything from old products still on shelves to my latest with the Pre-Stain. I bought a quart of gel stain once and the stuff was so old it hardly spread. They did send me a replacement can of stain. I will say that they do respond to emails and questions.

-- Wood is a gift from God/Nature that maintains its beauty forever via the hand of a woodworker.

View wildbill001's profile

wildbill001

111 posts in 2106 days


#15 posted 11-17-2011 07:10 PM

My local Orange box store has shellac, Zinser I believe, but it is over by the paint, not the stain. You have to really look for it. Of course, YMMV. But ask the paint-dept. critter if they have it. I usually also get a pint of alcohol to dilute so I can make “spit coat” (love that name) concentrations.

Bill

-- "You can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their back" -- Unknown

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