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How can I make the endgrain finish match the rest and not be darker?

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Forum topic by JohnMcD348 posted 09-01-2014 02:21 PM 1279 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JohnMcD348

50 posts in 1061 days


09-01-2014 02:21 PM

Maybe I’m not searching correctly. I’m sure it’s come up before. Anyway, I’m just asking for my own learning experience. No projects yet.

I know that the ends of the wood will adsorb a finish more readily than the finished sides will. I’ve seen solid wood furniture though that has an even finish top, bottom and sides. It’s not too dark on the end compared to the sides. Just thinking of finishes other than paints. Shellac, varnish, danish oil, etc. Is there a video, tutorial, or just simple tip about controlling or applying the product so it creates a uniform color?

Is it more a question of the selection of woods since some woods take a finish more readily than others? Is it the type of finish that’s applied? Does it have to do with how smooth you make one side compared to the other? Say sand the sides to 400 grit and the ends to 600 grit?

I’d like to learn these thins before I start really building things. Something I can play with scrap wood on for awhile and learn from.

Thanks.


15 replies so far

View Dano46's profile

Dano46

80 posts in 2633 days


#1 posted 09-01-2014 02:56 PM

You are on the right track JohnMcD348. I use a 150 grit for most of my finish sanding, then go to a 400 or better grit for the end grain. It needs to be smooth. Then I always use lacquer finish.

-- You can't trust a dog to guard your food.

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

550 posts in 2462 days


#2 posted 09-01-2014 03:42 PM

Check out Charles Neil’s webiste, forum and book. Very informative. Me may even come on along and offer some words of wisdom.

In addition to sanding to a higher grit, I think that you can “seal” the end grain before you put the rest of the finish on it.

Alternatively, you could put moulding on the exposed end grain there by avoiding the entire situation.

Greg

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bondogaposis

4028 posts in 1815 days


#3 posted 09-01-2014 04:33 PM

Sand the endgrain to a finer grit than the rest. So if you sand to 180 git for a project then sand the end grain first to the same level as the rest of the project then hit the endgrain with two more grit levels, first 220 then 320, on most woods that is sufficient. As always work out your finishing schedule on scraps from the project before you commit to the project.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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CharlesA

3022 posts in 1261 days


#4 posted 09-01-2014 04:49 PM

It also depends on what kind of finish you are using. If it is a stain, then there is a big difference in color, the same with dye. On the other hand if you are using something like Danish Oil or Arm-R-Seal with no stain or dye, the end grain comes out just fine.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

1441 posts in 1321 days


#5 posted 09-01-2014 04:50 PM

I hand plane it with a freshly sharpened blade at a higher grit then normal. Then use a wipe on poly on just the end grain to seal it. Then after drying sand it with a 400 just to knock off the poly on the surface and finish.

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6570 posts in 1614 days


#6 posted 09-01-2014 04:51 PM

Go one step further when sanding end grain. And no need to sand a project to 400 grit. I go to 220 grit on face/edge grain, and 320 on end grain.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View skogie1's profile

skogie1

95 posts in 827 days


#7 posted 09-01-2014 07:14 PM

I just finished a douglas fir table top. When I used mineral spirits on it before staining the end grain absorbed A LOT more and was very dark. I sanded the ends down to a smooth polish with 400 grit and even used a 600 on it a little bit. Then I used wood conditioner on the entire piece. It came out great. The ends didn’t absorb noticeably more stain.

View JohnMcD348's profile

JohnMcD348

50 posts in 1061 days


#8 posted 09-01-2014 07:42 PM

Thanks all for the input.


Go one step further when sanding end grain. And no need to sand a project to 400 grit. I go to 220 grit on face/edge grain, and 320 on end grain.

- jmartel

I was just watching a Mr Sellers video on sharpening plane blades and I caught a mention of how planes sharpened too high would require being hit with a 220 sand paper in order to finish it. I think he had 3 different sharpnesses: first 220, 1,500 and 15,000. He mentioned that even with the 1500 sharpened plane, he’d have to go back with sandpaper in order to finish it, so he was just fine with 220 sharp for the plane blade. That was on side wood, not end grain though.

I’d not thought about getting a tool so sharp you make more work for yourself.

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

1441 posts in 1321 days


#9 posted 09-01-2014 08:33 PM

Sellers has a lot of good info but like other high profile woodworkers he is opinionated about his way and how others do things. Kind of like old martial artists stuck to one way and now we have mixed martial arts(thanks Bruce Lee).
I sharpen mine to a black Arkansas stone so around 1500 gritish for the end grain and only use that plane for end grain. The other planes are done to around 1000 and I strop on my hand as it’s always right( or should we say left) there. It works for me just fine but may not for you. Try out different ideas on scrap and see what you like. Like all my tools and benches are 4 to 6 inches higher then most recommend (Schwartz).

View jacquesr's profile

jacquesr

339 posts in 887 days


#10 posted 09-01-2014 08:56 PM

I saw a wood whisperer video about just that:

http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/articles/how-to-finish-end-grain/

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

303 posts in 1926 days


#11 posted 09-02-2014 01:05 AM

You could sand the EG fine, then thin some clear shellac, let it dry, this will slow down the absorption, and wipe off the colorant quickly after applied, and slowly creep up on the color you want.

View JohnMcD348's profile

JohnMcD348

50 posts in 1061 days


#12 posted 09-02-2014 02:51 AM

thanks for the input again. It gives me something to think about and what to start working with and playing with. I think I’ll be spending some quality time with sand paper and 2×4 cut offs.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3022 posts in 1261 days


#13 posted 09-02-2014 02:53 AM

just remember that different types of wood respond differently. Cherry and maple respond quite differently, for instance, than the generic softwood in a 2×4.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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JohnMcD348

50 posts in 1061 days


#14 posted 09-02-2014 10:36 PM

Well,most of my work will be in pine for now. As I go and Grow, I’ll take cut offs from what I’m using and play with it to learn more.

It’s funny, I’m a serious BBQer and the idea that I’ll be using Oak, Hickory, Cherry and Maple for things other than to create wonderful food is kinda Ironic. I can take any of the hardwoods and blend them together to create just the right color and flavor profile for whatever meats I’m smoking. I spent years learning how much of one wood with how much of another together creates just the right bark and smoke ring and how they interact with particular blends of rubs and sauces.

Now, I’m learning a whole new aspect of the woods.

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

808 posts in 1698 days


#15 posted 09-03-2014 12:30 AM

I use hide glue sizing, e.g., thin hide glue. I brush it on an let it set for 24 hrs. I then lightly go over the project with #0000 steel wool and apply the dye/stain. I use the sizing on all if the project. So far it has been great. The end and long grain have been the same.
Yes it can be used with water based products just don’t rub it hard.
Another great product is by Charles Neil and can be found on his Web site.
Remember test on scrap first.

-- Jerry

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