Help on pine finishing

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czhao1009

New User
Chen
Hi all, I'm new to woodworking in general and just finished staining the pine on my new project... however I think it looks very bad :(

I sanded with 120, then 150, wiped clean with tack cloth before applying the finish.
First I applied General Finishes pre stain wood conditioner, then applied the General Finishes gel stain candlelite.
I followed the instructions on the can and wiped the excess gel stain off almost immediately after applying.

I've attached pictures of how it looks after 48 hours. The drawer faces are unfinished at this point. I think it has too much contrast, as if part of the wood took more staining and part of it didn't any at all. I googled around and found this called the grain reversal effect?

What do you think, is this normal for pine? Now thinking back, I probably should have chosen the wood more carefully with the finish stain in mind, so lessons learned :)
Any way I can improve the look, I think I want a bit more uniform look to it, if possible.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Fishbucket

Joe
Senior User
You're kinda stuck with that. That's a product of the grain in pine. There are hard and soft growth rings that absorb stains at different rates ( or at all )
as you learned, pick your wood as to what look and finish you will use.
I think you should have went with a finer grain finish sanding too, maybe up to 220. It might be hard to fill 150 grit scratches and still might show.

as a lover of grain, I like it anyway.
 

patlaw

New User
Mike
Pine blotching is very normal when staining. Charles Neil has a product that he claims will reduce it dramatically, but that's not going to help your current project.

Charles Neil Pre-Color Conditioner

By the way, you do very impressive work for being new to woodworking!
 

Bill Clemmons

Bill
Corporate Member
Actually, that's not a bad finish for pine. I like it. The only thing you can do at this stage is apply a top coat w/ a little tint to it. If you have a sample piece, try putting some amber shellac over it. That will darken it a little, but also might give it a little more uniformity. Shellac lays on top without penetrating the grain.

Assuming that is the color you wanted, maybe walnut or mahogany would have looked good, and given a more consistent finish.
 

CDPeters

Master of None
Chris
Too late on this particular project, but something to think about in the future. Use a sanding sealer or de-waxed shellac as the first light coat. This will somewhat seal the softer grain and not really penetrate the denser grain. Sand lightly once the shellac is dry (doesn't take long!), and then apply the stain. The seal coat will keep the stain from penetrating as deep into to softer grain and even out the contrasts/blotchiness.

Charles' pre-color conditioner and the General Finishes conditioner products essentially do this. I would have thought that the GF product would have given you a more even finish.

Either way, I think it looks good as-is.
 

czhao1009

New User
Chen
Thank you all for the replies and I definitely had many lessons learned during this project :) fun and frustrating at the same time.

Actually, that's not a bad finish for pine. I like it. The only thing you can do at this stage is apply a top coat w/ a little tint to it. If you have a sample piece, try putting some amber shellac over it. That will darken it a little, but also might give it a little more uniformity. Shellac lays on top without penetrating the grain.

Assuming that is the color you wanted, maybe walnut or mahogany would have looked good, and given a more consistent finish.

I will give the amber shellac a try on a sample piece, if I use shellac, do I still need a topcoat, over the shellac?
 

Rick M

New User
Rick
Par for the course with pine but honestly I like it. Amber shellac looks fantastic on pine and you can add a toner (dye) that will even out the color. Try it on scrap first. Ditto for stains, always test on scrap first.

Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
 

Raymond

Raymond
Staff member
Corporate Member
I think what you have looks darn good, Chen. Take a piece of scrap pine, put some amber shellac on it and hold up in place of one of the drawers. I believe that the contrast of the frame against the shellac-covered drawer fronts will be outstanding. Just my two-cents worth.

Edit: OH BTW - Welcome back!
 

CDPeters

Master of None
Chris
I will give the amber shellac a try on a sample piece, if I use shellac, do I still need a topcoat, over the shellac?

The flipant answer is "that depends"... Shellac will be fine as a final finish, but be aware that any alcohol spill will affect shellac. If you need some added durability, a top coat or two of wipe-on poly is OK.
 

Jeff

New User
Jeff
+1 to that's the nature of pine and why it does that. However, I don't think that you're stuck with it as it is. A gel stain sits on the surfaces with very little penetration even on the softer portions of the pine.

1. Apply Candlelight oil based pigment stain, not the Candlelight gel stain.

https://generalfinishes.com/retail-.../gf-oil-based-liquid-wood-stains#.WGbjZ3fMxmA

2. A TransTint dye would be better.

http://homesteadfinishingproducts.com/transtint-liquid-dyes/

3. Shellac will seal the deal and keep the dye/stain from smudging, etc.

4. Final topcoats of your choice.
 

Bill Clemmons

Bill
Corporate Member
I will give the amber shellac a try on a sample piece, if I use shellac, do I still need a topcoat, over the shellac?

As Chris pointed out, shellac does not stand up to alcohol very well. On the top, where an alcoholic drink might somehow find it's way, I would use something on top of the shellac. My preference would be a brushing lacquer, but poly or varnish will also work.
 

Rick M

New User
Rick
FYI, I have a sloppy relative that occasionally spills whiskey on my shellacked tables. The damage is minor and fixing them is a breeze.

Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
 

TENdriver

New User
TENdriver
Chen, How and where will this be used?

I ask because most likely a non-Woodworker won't see what we see. I agree that for a pigment stain on pine it turned out pretty good. Frankly, it's a good looking project. I'd probably leave the drawers the natural color.

I also agree that you did not get blotching which is excellent. You did get grain reversal like you mentioned. Only taking the sanding through 150 grit is an invitation to absorb more stain into the softer wood and that contributed to the reversal affect. In maple (another blotch prone wood), I sometimes go to very fine grits to cut the overall absorption.

If you keep it mostly as is, you might consider using a toner to even out the color. The furniture industry relied on this for years to hide woods that weren't color matched very well like you would see in cherry. For production pieces, the cherry rarely matches and they have to hit it with a toner. The toner is heavily pigmented, almost like paint. It does work though. You might get a similar effect with a heavy glaze.



IMG_7813.jpg IMG_7813.jpg
If you decide to do more pine, here is how I used to do a pumpkin pine finish 20-years ago. You'll note there is no grain reversal or splotches.

I can't recall how far I took the sanding but 400-grit is possible and the end grain areas may be even finer grit. You can see it in the end grain. Notice that the end grain looks pretty much like the long grain areas. Then, like Chris mentioned, I hit it with a sanding sealer and sanded again.

To get the pumpkin pine, I used a pigmented cherry stain as more of a glaze. Left it on thick (minimal wiping) but tried to make it even coloring. There's no grain reversal. The early and late wood look natural. The stain isn't heavy enough to conceal the heartwood versus sapwood.
 

CrealBilly

New User
Jeff
I think stain is a bad 5 letter word on any wood species. Its one of those very rare things in life where a manufacture tells you exactly what it is "stain". Stains are bad... and people spend big bucks and a lot of time trying to remove stains - think about it... I know you'll see the light.
 

czhao1009

New User
Chen
Thanks everyone again for their wonderful advices and knowledge!

This will be placed in the dining room as sort of a side table to store some things in the drawers and perhaps some decorative pieces on the top.

I just got the amber shellac from Home Depot and tried it on a scrap piece, wife thinks it has improved the look :) the original look was too "red". I was trying to mimic a furniture I saw online where the drawers are painted white to create a two tone look. But since the wood stain turned out rather dark, I might leave the drawer fronts natural like TENdriver mentioned. So just a few coats of clear shellac? The drawer fronts are 3/4 birch plywood btw.
And I completely forgot to sand finer on the end grain. So now it was very dark after the stain :icon_scra

Thanks again for the kind words, I don't feel as bad about it now.


Happy New Year!
 

jlimey

Jeff
Senior User
Hi Chen,

I agree with others that thinks it looks better than you do!

I hadn't heard the term "grain reversal" effect (and I have a bunch of books and magazines), but the attached article explains it. It is a confusing term as it doesn't refer to actual reversal of grain in the wood, but the reversal of the light and dark portions of the board after staining.

I don't use pine much, but this article gives a nice step-by-step approach.

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/techniques/aw-extra-101013-staining-pine
 

Jeff

New User
Jeff
I just got the amber shellac from Home Depot and tried it on a scrap piece,

Chen, for your information as you start out. The shellac(s) available at Home Depot, Lowe's, etc contain a natural wax from the lac bug which hasn't been removed in the refining process. That's a problem if you plan to add another topcoat/finish besides shellac because the wax results in poor adhesion. However, you can buy 100% dewaxed shellac in a can: Zinsser SealCoat (blonde, 2 lb.cut).

http://www.rockler.com/zinsser-bullseye-sealcoat

You can also buy 100% dewaxed shellac flakes in a variety of colors and mix your own as you need it.

http://www.shellacshack.com/purchase-shellac-flakes.html

These folks are excellent and I like the video too.

http://www.shellacfinishes.com/product/dewaxed-shellac-flakes/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQcQ0yuekZ0
 

NCJim

Jim
User
I apply Zinsser Bullseye amber shellac all my pine furniture before I stain. I thin it with denatured alcohol by a much as half and half. Then I apply a top coat(s) of uncut amber shellac.
 

Jeff

New User
Jeff
That is a 3 lb cut in the can before thinning. Thinned (1:1) is your wash coat/sealer coat to prevent blotching or grain reversal before staining but it still contains the lac wax.

I'm curious if you've tried other top coats besides more of the same shellac and whether or not you had adhesion problems. :confused:


I apply Zinsser Bullseye amber shellac all my pine furniture before I stain. I thin it with denatured alcohol by a much as half and half. Then I apply a top coat(s) of uncut amber shellac.
 

CrealBilly

New User
Jeff
I apply Zinsser Bullseye amber shellac all my pine furniture before I stain. I thin it with denatured alcohol by a much as half and half. Then I apply a top coat(s) of uncut amber shellac.

That's more like toning than it is staining. Your laying down a consistant semi transparent color inbetween finish coats to partially obsure the grain. Usally this method is done inbetween sanding sealer and lacquer. The best example of toning i can think of is the classic les paul guitar starburst finish.

Google images
original.jpg

Sometimes sunburst finishes get a little crazy and almost to the point of glazing on the edges.
Goggle images
images (6).jpg


Some mentioned wood conditioner and some other product to apply to bare wood before staining. Im not sure what those products are and what the are supposed to do.

Sanding sealer has been around a long time and is the classic method used to seal wood prior to applying any color. i suppose there are many new products meant to accomplish the same goal. But honestly sanding sealer is hard to beat... Especially heavy bonded sanding sealer. Theres really no need to reinvent the wheel when the old methods work wonderfully.

Glazing is pretty cool - you can take a piece of smooth wood and make it look like something else. In this case textured stone. During the early 80's when i worked at a place called furniture arts studio, we lined a lot of elevators in chicago with particle board glazed to look like marble and jade. The process is easy but it really is a art that I dont think to many people have today.

Google images
maxresdefault.jpg
 
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