Staining, varnishing, and wood grade

Normal procedure for staining wood is like this, according to all manuals: 1. Buy stain grade wood 2. Apply wood conditioner 3. Apply stain 4. Apply varnish
If I want to preserve the natural color of the wood (rather than make it darker), then they tell you to apply Natural Stain (#209 at Home Depot) at step 3.
But could I, instead, buy paint grade wood (which is much cheaper than stain grade), and just apply varnish alone, without stain ?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Sure, if that is the look you want. IMO, "natural" stain is a rip off. If it does not change the appearance, why do it? With some woods, tung oil or Danish oil brings out the natural grain. On pine, it seems to make no difference.
Right now I'm building a set of drawers to go under my workbench. I'm using some pine boards (free!) and when they are done I'll give it a couple of coats of shellac. The shellac will protect them from dust and give a little shine. The wood will remain natural.
For some reason, people have been conditioned that they must apply stain to wood to improve its appearance. In some cases, that is correct. In most cases, I prefer the natural wood. After all, if I'm paying the price for cherry, I want the look of cherry. Over time it takes on a very nice reddish, darker patina. If you put cherry stain on pine boards, you have the look of cherry stain on pine boards. If you like that, fine, if not, use something else or use nothing.
Take a look at my web page under Woodworking. the items at the top are made from pine and have been stained. All the others (starting with the oak desk) are natural with either an oil finish or shellac. The oak desk top is made from pallet wood that I planed.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Yes, after some experimenting, this is exactly what I found. Of all combinations of coatings on pine (that included the "natural" stain), simple 2 layers of Shellac seemed to provide the best look.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What is stain grade wood? Are you referring to select pine?

Conditioner helps make a stain uniform. If you will not be staining, conditioner is silly.

Okay, but natural stain is not a stain at all; it is just oil. There is no point to putting oil on something and then putting varnish over it. (well, some highly absorbant woods (butternut, spalted maple) respond well to that, but it is a waste on pine)

it. If you are satisfied with that, then you are all set.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This would be a great question to also post at rec.woodworking. It is an active group, and has keen interest from those who regularly finish wood projects of various kinds. Also, you need to be more specific about what wood you are using, and for what function. That determines your approach.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Wood conditioner needs only to be used if darker stain is used on certain woods like pine or birch to even the absorption of stain. Nat stain is not realy a stain unless it is pigmented
If you like the nat finish color just finish it without any treatment.
Depending on product usage and look desired you have many options of finishes to pick from
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There is not anything called "stain-grade wood." Any wood can be stained or painted, although typically unfinished wood is stained. A wood conditioner is used where blotching is a problem (such as pine or cherry). Applying stain is optional, but it will cause the wood grain lines to show if that's what you want. Applying stain will not "preserve the natural color of the wood." You can apply just a varnish. Most importantly, read the label carefully about preparation before you buy any finishing product. Whatever you do, buy a little extra wood and experiment (that's what experienced woodworkers do).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Phisherman wrote:

together with small pieces and finger joints.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ikon wrote:

1. There really isn't such a thing as "stain grade". Well, some talk about it to mean wood free of knots and the like that would show up with a clear finish. If the wood were to be painted, knots and the like would be hidden so that is "paint grade". Neither has anything to do with the actual hardwood grades (FAS, select, #1 common, #2 common, etc.)
2. The only reasons to use stain are... (a) to try to make cheap wood look like something it isn't (b) to color it (duh) (c) to decrease light/dark contrast integral in the wood; sapwood vs heartwood for example.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You left out sanding in your list of steps. Even new wood needs to be sanded some, assuming you want a smooth finish.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
scott snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com wrote:

Don't tell me, tell whoever left them out.
--
dadiOH
____________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.