Sanded floorboards: to stain or not to stain?

OK, my old pine floorboards are freshly sanded and ready for a finishing coat. I'm now ruminating over whether to stain them first (or use colored varnish) - or whether to just use clear varnish.
On the one hand, I don't think you can't improve on the beauty of natural unstained wood, in most cases.
On the other hand, I have had to do a fair bit of filling using wood filler. I reckon that if I used a stain or coloured varnish those fillingss would be less obvious...
Any comments appreciated.
Frank
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On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 08:41:57 -0400, "jerrybuilt "

That's an interesting mix. Did you experiment much before ariving at that choice? Or was it that you just happenned to have some antique pine and some Indian rosewood to use up?
Thanks also for your orther tips and suggestions. I'm still not sure what to do! The cost of the stain is something to consider too. It's not cheap, I've noticed...
Frank
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You won't need much of it if you're only harmonising the colour. You can (and should in your case) mix Colron with at least 4 parts white spirit, more for a dark colour. IME this will not change the look of the filler though. Very easy to ruin the whole job at this point. I only ever use the light oak because of the garish look of the darker shades. I would start by wiping the floor with a wet rag to see how it would look with a clear finish. This is often very different from what you see with newly sanded boards. The dust gives them a nice mellow look which disappears whatever finish you use.
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On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 16:11:10 +0100, "stuart noble"

Hmmm... using diluted stain to harmonise the colours of the floor. That's a technique that hadn't occurred to me. Thanks for the tip.
Frank
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On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 08:41:57 -0400, "jerrybuilt "

Thank you for the input. I gather you don't favour water-based varnish. Why is that? (I have already bought 5ltrs from Wickes!)
Thanks
Frank
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Hi Frank.
TintEd varnishes should be avoided like the plague. They'll chip and look terrible after a bit.
Pine does mellow, and sanding removes the mellowing, so it will darken by itself anyway, tho not quickly.
Pine retains its dramatic contrasty look much better when it mellows naturally without stain. Stained is nice enough but it kills the character somewhat. I wouldn't colour it at all.
Regards, NT
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On 19 Aug 2003 15:56:25 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@meeow.co.uk (N. Thornton) wrote:

NT. Thanks for the input. I have decidd not to colour the floor at all. All I need to do now is choose a good but not-too-expencsive varnish (one where I'm not paying a high premium for the name)!
Frank
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