What stain do you recommend for staining birch? Will it take a cherry or oak
stain? I would like to build a cabinet and book case. I was able to buy 4
sheets cheap from a friend of mine. Thanks for your help.
A gel stain will do a pretty good job, but if you want a dark rich color you
should spray on a dye first. The birch doesn't absorb stains very well but
will color easily with dye. Spraying it is the best way to get it even.
I recently had good luck getting a light clear cherry finish on birch
without spraying by using boiled linseed oil followed by ZAR Cherry gel
stain and then 2 coats of wipe-on poly. The best thing you can do is to try
your planned finishing technique on about a foot square piece of scrap
project wood before applying it to your project. Perform each step exactly
the way you plan to finish your project so you get a true sample. Then if
you don't like the results you haven't ruined the project and you can look
for another finish.
If you decide to dye it you should put a sealer coat over the dye. A
de-waxed shellac works great for this and dries quickly. Zinser Seal Coat
works great for this. Always lightly sand (or 0000 steel wool) between each
coat of finish to give the surface texture for the next coat to bond to
(sand the dye layer very lightly or not at all). Then make sure you clean
the surface and use a tack cloth to remove all sanding debris and steel wool
particles before applying the next coat. Everybody develops their own
finishing tricks. What works for them they tend to stay with. Making a test
piece is the best (and safest) way to develop your own technique without
creating a disaster. I save my test pieces and write down the finishing
steps on the back of them so I can refer to them and use them again in the
"Dave" < email@example.com> wrote in message
Are you sure this is needed with shellac? My understanding was that
with shellac (and lacquer) the new layers will "melt" into the old layers.
I can see sanding for smoothness, but I don't think its necessary for
I'm a "home center woodworker" which means all my lumber and finishing
supplies come from Home Depot or Lowes. :)
So, I have built a lot of different projects using 3/4" birch plywood
with poplar trim/face frames (entertainment center, bookshelves, computer
desk, wall cabinets, etc.).
I typically sand to 150 grit paper, vacuum the dust with a shopvac brush,
then wipe on a coat of Minwax "Pre-conditioner". I follow that with my
choice of stain (I used Varethane "Golden Mahogany" for my computer desk)
that I wipe on with a rag. I wipe off the excess stain, then let it set
overnight before brushing on two or three coats of an oil based
polyurethane (letting each coat dry overnight, and sanding lightly with
220 grit paper before applying the next coat).
I used the same technique with our kitchen cabinets, except the face
frames were made of pine, and I used a MinWax "windsor oak" gel stain.
I also use 3/4" birch plywood to build cabinets and carts for my garage
shop, and I simply apply the poly coats directly to the bare wood after
sanding. It's a lighter color, but a lot less work for things that will
take a beating in the garage.
In any case, I agree with others, practice your techniques on scraps
first. Stains always look different on the wood you are using than they
do on the samples at the store. You may end up with a collection of
stains before you find the color you like. If you can find a store that
sells Varethane stains, they usually have little sample packets that let
you try a variety of stains without spending $10 on a full can.
I'm a big believer in the pre-conditioner, especially when trying to
stain soft woods like pine. Without it, the stain ends up really splotchy
looking and/or the different woods accept stain differently. The
conditioner makes for a much more even appearance.
Remember to follow the instructions on the conditioner and stain cans.
Gel stains usually go on more evenly, but lately it seems like the color
choices have been limited. But as long as you use the pre-conditioner,
you can use pretty much any stain you want.
Finally, I haven't had much luck with the "all-in-one" stain and poly
blends. Every attempt I have made at using them ends up streaky and
splotchy, no matter how much prep work or care I use applying it.
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