using the right stain.

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Blog entry by woodamateur posted 05-03-2012 09:37 PM 1196 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just start a new project for my kids. As i have learned from my forefather, everytime i want to stain soft wood such as Birch, Maple… i have conditioning the wood first, then stain it. Last time i went to local store, they ran out of wood conditioner, the owner recommend me to use stain from JAR. He said that with JAR, there is no need to conditioner the wood, look like it is al-in-one sort of thing. Have anyone tryied this? please advise. Thank you very much. Always value your experience.

10 comments so far

View StumpyNubs's profile


7598 posts in 2823 days

#1 posted 05-03-2012 09:55 PM

I have not tried JAR, but I do want to welcome you to Lumberjocks!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2508 days

#2 posted 05-04-2012 02:21 AM

Welcome. I haven’t tried what you mentioned, but I regard “all in one” finishes with extreme skepticism. It’s been my experience that when you try to take a shortcut in finishing, you end up making more work for yourself when you don’t like the results and do it over again.

-- Brian Timmons -

View woodtools's profile


21 posts in 2312 days

#3 posted 05-04-2012 04:42 AM

I share in the comments from BTimmons – in my experience, short cuts and all in one finishing products have led to disappointment with the finished product. Good luck and best wishes for a succesful project!

View FreshSawDust's profile


68 posts in 2352 days

#4 posted 05-04-2012 01:38 PM

If you are talking about Zar brand stain, I have heard good things but have yet to try it myself but I have become a fan of their waterbourne poly.

-- TJ - Perryville, Missouri

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3600 days

#5 posted 05-04-2012 02:06 PM

Welcome to Ljs
It might help if you told us what type of stain your talking about ,such as Gel,oil,water borne because this is not a brand I have heard of. In general the woods your talking about need some kind of treatment before staining .

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2510 days

#6 posted 05-04-2012 02:07 PM

Welcome to our little piece of the asylum.

I gave up on buying pre-stain conditioner. It costs too much and locally they don’t always have it in stock.

I started making my own by using water based polyurethane and cutting it about 50% with water. Put a light coat on the wood, let it dry and lightly sand.
It raises any fuzzies and stiffens them so they get sanded off better and it stops a lot of the blotching.

It may not be the perfect answer, but it seems to work for me!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View woodamateur's profile


3 posts in 2237 days

#7 posted 05-04-2012 05:00 PM


first and foremost, i appreciated all your responses. After many years in service (ARMY) i am now home for good, and slowly adjust to civilian life here at home. One thing i missed the most is all my friends. (both from the front line & at home. Due to the economy, many people move somewhere else, the neighborhood is not the same any more.) I feel like a lone wolf out here. All your quick responses make me feel connected, welcomed and alive again. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

To: a1Jim: I am using oil based wood stain from ZAR, lesser known than MINIWAX, i guess.

To Dallas: Could you please elaborate how to use water-based poly and cutting it 50% with water.

Thank you all.

View chrisstef's profile


17423 posts in 3029 days

#8 posted 05-04-2012 05:44 PM

woodamatuer – im not too keen on the all in ones but id like to thank you for your service and offer my welcome into this crazy gang we got here at LJ’s. Good luck peeling yourself away from the computer ;)

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3600 days

#9 posted 05-04-2012 09:05 PM

Hi Woodamaateur
Thank you so much for your service and personal sacrifice to our country and each an every one of us,welcome home. I think part of the misunderstanding the type of finish because of a typing error “JAR”instead of Zar. I would guess if it’s a Zar product it has a shellac base which helps prevent blochieness but not eliminate it all together, The kind of approach Dallas uses is good but not perfect. The only product that I’ve used that seem to work a hundred percent of the time for me is Charles Neil’s blotch control
Some of the other approaches is to pre-treat your wood with thinned down dewazed shellac or not using a penetrating stain and using a product like Gel stain and last but not least using a wood that is less lightly to blotch/

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2510 days

#10 posted 05-04-2012 09:28 PM

Thanks Jim. I agree, the watered down PU isn’t perfect. I just got tired of going to the local hardware emporium and either the shelf would be empty or there would be one dented up can that looked like the lid had been on and off of a few times.
My other choice is to wait until Sunday and go into the big city where they have a BORG and a bLowe’s, and if you knew how much I hate going to town…....

Woodameteur, I just mix up enough waterbased poly (PU) and water for each use. When doing pine, I mix it 50/50 because the SYP we get here blotches really badly. With maple I would mix it with a litle less PU and a little more water. Test it on some scrap to see how it comes out.
I use a foam brush and paint it on as fast as I can. It soaks in almost immediately. Don’t be tempted to go over spots that look like you didn’t paint them, it soaks in that quick. Once you are done, go back over with your bare hand on the spots you thought you missed. If they don’t feel a bit tacky, touch up those spots.
The stuff dries in a half hour or less, and I sand it down with 180grit to get rid of the fuzzy hairs that sometimes arise and take off the rough texture. All you need is a quick touch, no real hard sanding. Once that’s done, wipe the piece down to remove the dust and use your favorite stain.

Usually I have no problems with blotching, but I would make sure and test on scrap first!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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