Wood Conditioner - Yes or No?

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Forum topic by FireFitzy posted 07-03-2012 02:05 PM 2578 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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24 posts in 2397 days

07-03-2012 02:05 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi Everyone,
This is my first post since joining a couple months ago. I’m in total “awe” of what you people are capable of doing with wood. So thank you for all the amazing pictures and videos and tips.

I’ve built my first coffee table (pics to come) out of rough pine. It’s all sanded down to a nice and smooth finish with some amazing knots and colouring throughout. I’m about to stain it in the near future, and I’m wondering two things.

Firstly: Do you experts think that wood conditioner is needed before staining it? What does it do?

Secondly: What stain type would you suggest? Keep in mind, my only source right now is the Home Depot.

I’d appreciate any help in this matter.

Thanks in Advance.

-- Brian -

10 replies so far

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2449 days

#1 posted 07-03-2012 02:12 PM

1 – YES! Pine is tough to stain evenly without it. I have worked with pine a lot. Using a conditioner helps immensiely to keep the color even. The difference is night and day

2 – You have the entire internet :). If you need it quick and have to get it locally, you can go with the minwax. I have used it, it’s not bad.

I prefer the Charles Neil’s Pre-Color Conditioner – Blotch Control, but you are not going to find that at home depot.


View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5125 posts in 4162 days

#2 posted 07-03-2012 02:40 PM

Stay away fom the MWax crap. Use dewaxed sellac (Zinsser Seal Coat). Cures quickly, and you can use it on all projects as a sealer.
I have not used Neil’s product, but I’ve heard great things about it.


View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2449 days

#3 posted 07-03-2012 03:20 PM

Bill, why do you recommend staying away from the Minwax stuff? I have used it on pine with pretty good results. You have to be careful when applying it and keep the wood saturated (like with Danish oil). Some parts will dry really fast and require a little more. Since I got the Charles Neil stuff, the Minwax has been sitting on the shelf


View rance's profile


4266 posts in 3362 days

#4 posted 07-03-2012 03:44 PM

It depends on what condition the wood’s condition was in.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 3523 days

#5 posted 07-03-2012 04:37 PM

General Finishes also makes a Pre-stain conditioner that I have heard and seen great results from. It really helps even out the finish. Available at Woodcraft and on line.

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View Michigander's profile


220 posts in 2620 days

#6 posted 07-03-2012 06:58 PM

Look into Charles Neil’s Pre Stain Conditioner. Watch his video on you tube to find out why this is the best product. I would not use anything else. Thank me later ;~)
Good luck!

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3778 days

#7 posted 07-03-2012 10:47 PM

Pine needs conditioner and Charles Neil’s blotch control is #1 , for the most part I steer clear of Minwax products too.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View RogerM's profile


799 posts in 2600 days

#8 posted 07-03-2012 11:30 PM

When staining pine I always use a conditioner. I use Zinser’s Seal Coat mentioned above but thin it with at least equal parts of alcohol. For cherry I thin it with three parts alcohol to one part Seal Coat. This eliminates the blotching in cherry.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View FireFitzy's profile


24 posts in 2397 days

#9 posted 07-04-2012 02:31 PM

Where can I get this Charles Neil Pre Stain Conditioner?
I’m located in Southern, Ontario and can’t seem to find a definite place to get it.

Thanks again for all the great info.

-- Brian -

View Michigander's profile


220 posts in 2620 days

#10 posted 07-04-2012 05:32 PM

I purchased it directly from his website:
Follow his easy instructions and you should have no issues!
Good Luck,

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