Oil Stain on Pine

If my questions have already been answered elsewhere please forgive me though I did search.
I have finished assembly/glue up of a small pine cabinet. I sanded the surface working from 80 to 800 grit paper. I'd hoped to build a dark stain. I know pine can be blotchy and figured I'd try to condition it before staining. I'd tried miniwax pre-stain conditioner with success on another project but this time I wanted to try something new. I shellac'ed, using Zinnser Amber. Since this was my first time using shellac I thought I'd do my best to screw it up unintentionally to turn more hair gray. I read an article which recommended putting on two coats. I can't say how many I put on because the first application kept running and I kept going over the runs with my brush. I tried to even what I had on out with a rag dipped in denatured alchohol, which helped some but left me wondering if I had areas which were entirely uncovered. I brushed more shellac on because I was feeling crazy. It all dried and didn't look half bad but my guess is any uneveness will show up in the final finish. That's question number one:
1. Will any uneven layers of a shellac topcoat produce an uneven looking stain/finish?
My fear is that no matter how hard I try I will produce an uneven coat of shellac though recent reading leads me to believe if I cut it next to nothing with alchohol and build several ultra thin layers I might have more luck.
Next, The cabinet is now what zinnser calls 'amber' and what I call 'orange'.
2. Have I used too much shellac? Should I use clear instead?
Next, the stain. I'm using Olympic stain out of the can. I put on one coat, let it sit five to ten minutes and wiped it off. When I wiped it off it looked as though I didn't do anything at all.
3. Does this stuff get darker or is this a joke perpetrated on my be Olympic where I spend my life savings and life buying and pretending to stain wood? There are some spots that will be hidden on the project and are not covered by shellac which took the stain like I would imagine stain should take. Have I blocked the stain from penetrating the wood with the amount of shellac I applied?
4. I work in a dusty environment and accept this as a fact of my life. If I were a multi-billionaire I'd contract NASA to build and orbit a space station which had the best dust control imaginable but I'm a guy on a budget working in his garage that also happens to be used for all wood working, car parking, leaf parties, bug parties, etc. Am I asking for too much to get my wood darkened and not blotchy? Is there any way to speed up the staining process (thinning stain using mineral spirits, etc.) or have more control over it? Am I doomed to guys telling me I should just slather the piece in boiled linseed, teak or some other oil and living with it?
Oh yeah, and I'm sure some one will tell me to run out and buy Bob Flexner's "Understanding Wood Finishing" book so I'll stop you there. Read it cover to cover and I still (obviously) don't understand, so please don't use big words and do talk slowly so that maybe I'll get it this time.
My temptation is to take off everything on the piece with thinner (stain, if it's actually on) and alchohol for the shellac, thin the shellac, apply two or more very thin coats, then retry the stain. I have a feeling this might work or could get me back right where I am now. Any thoughts?
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Chris, The 'usual' application of shellac - for this purpose - is a 'Spit Coat'. That is to 'dilute' the some of the stuff with about 3 or 4 times the volume of DENATURED alcohol. I would take a further step and use a NON-WAX shellac . . . Bullseye 'Seal Coat'.
Also . . . sanding TOO FINE actually makes the surface LESS penetrable for the stain. 120 grit is probably fine enough for Pine . . . which is a SOFT wood.
Additionally, I'd go with an Aniline DYE . . . water based. You'll get deeper penetration and less 'blotch'. DO EXPERIMENT !!! And KEEP NOTES !!!
I just did a shelf to match other Maple pieces I'd made for my wife. Even with 6 applications of 'stain' . . it wasn't dark enough for her eye. I took it back to bare wood, and this time I STARTED with 'Bombay Mahogany' stain. After that, it only took 2 coats of 'Antique Maple' to add the tonal highlights. 3 coats of Water-based Poly sealed everything - leaving a HARD surface.
Regards & Good Luck, Ron Magen Backyard Boatshop

SNIP
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Chrisgiraffe wrote:

<snip>
To obtain a dark finish I would not have sanded the wood to 800 grit. Sanding to the point of polishing the wood surface limits the amount of stain the wood can absorb. Sanding to 220 grit would have provided a smooth enough surface for any film finish to level out. The little "valleys" left by sanding to 220 grit would have trapped more of the stains pigments.
When using shellac as a pre-conditioner it's referred to as a "spit coat", which is an approximate "1/2 lb cut", which is about 1/2 pound of dewaxed shellac to a gallon of alcohol.
Out of the can Zinnser Bullseye Shellac is a three pound cut. It should be thinned about 6:1 for use as a sanding sealer. Applying Bullseye shellac straight out of the can will prevent any wood penetration of the stain. Any stain applied over a three pound cut will be a "glaze" remaining on top of the shellac. This glaze will most likely be disturbed by any solvent based finish applied over the top of it.
Zinnser Bullseye Shellac is also contains quite a bit of wax. For use as a sanding sealer, once mixed with alcohol, it should have been decanted (Allow the wax to settle to the bottom of the jar and carefully pour off the clear shellac on top for use). Zinnser "Seal Coat" is dewaxed shellac and if it were used, it would need to be decanted.
The best I can suggest is wipe off as much of the shellac as possible using an alcohol soaked rag (using proper ventilation of course), resand to 220 grit, and start over.
As Paul Radovanic used to say, "Practice on scrap first. Because if you don't you will be practicing on your project."
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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Nova wrote:

Correction - The last sentence above should have read:
Zinnser "Seal Coat" is dewaxed shellac and if it were used, it would NOT need to be decanted.
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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SNIP

An oldie, but goodie. Actually, a classic.
I first heard that when I entered the trades about 35 years ago (had nothing to do with finishing), and it still hasn't lost its punch.
Robert
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Yet so many ignore it. <G>
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yuu sanded tou much max 220ift the grain with water, and consider a past stain which gives a more even coat.
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SNIP

it's actually on) and alchohol for the >shellac, thin the shellac, apply two or more very thin >coats, then retry the stain. I have a feeling this might >work or could get me back right where I am now. Any >thoughts?
I would recreate your first finish attempts on a piece of material used in your construction, and see how well stripping, sanding, etc. worked. Maybe a good idea, maybe a bad one.
Make sure you take a piece or two in your test finish and nail them up at 90 degrees to simulate what you would be doing to the cabinet as you will probably find it harder to get all the finish and certainly the stain colorant out of the corners than you think.
In all honesty, it if was a fun little project and I didn't want to spend too much more time on it I would just sand and paint at this point. Stripping/sanding/refinshing/restaining pine and having it come out to be something that looks really nice s difficult for anyone to do.
Absolutely no insult intended.
Robert
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Chrisgiraffe wrote:

Oh, man...talk about overkill...
--

dadiOH
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A _very light_ application of shellac can be used to even out a stain on some wood, but if you've applied more than one coat, the stain will likely not take at all. Shellac builds a surface coat like varnish or lacquer and once the wood is sealed, it can't be stained.
It might be possible to change the color somewhat by "toning", (IIRC the right term) i.e. tinting one of the top coats. Good luck.
--
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation
with the average voter. (Winston Churchill)
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Larry W wrote:

Pro quality "wiping" pigment stains, like Mohawk / H. Behlen, work very well over a barrier coat of shellac. You wipe it on, and even it out with a dry brush worked parallel to the grain. 20 minutes later you can add the next step.

It does, and is not the same as the step I mentioned above.
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As all have stated you have completly sealed the wood so penetrating stains will not do anything now.
I would suggest MinWax Polyshades. It is polyurethane with color in it. You can get it as dark as you want by selecting various colors and by applying multiple layers (per instructions). and it will go right over your shellac.Just be vary careful about getting even coats, even overlapping edges while applying can cause darker patches so "practice first" and be careful.
Beware, some here will fire theri cannons at any minwax product and especially Polyshades but as long as you don't try to use it on Cherry, they may let you (and I ) live.
BW

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I couldn't agree more. And whatever pigment penetrated before will discolor the wood to the point of having to sand or plane it out.

SNIP
I laughed my ass off at that one. Absolutely nothing wrong with that product for a great deal of applications. I have used it with great success, although I haven't in a couple of years. It isn't my choice for everyday use, but you should see me drive my handsome self down to HD and get some when I have a contractor (or buddy) that says "I have this much money, this much time, and all I really want is some color on the cabinet(s)".
My response? "Meet me here tomorrow with a check."
And, thanks to Mike Marlow, I use the "hanging tack coat" method of application and I can spray two coats of regular drying poly in a day. Off and on a finish job in a day? I'll take it.
In my opinion, I think probably 90% of the reasons that people don't like Minwax is due to operator error, not specific lack of product performance. Just my opinion...
Robert (still snickering at BW!)
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Sincere thanks to everyone who replied. I'm going to strip it down and start over. The next step is deciding whether to return to the reliable miniwax wood conditioner or retry the shellac. I also read somewhere that I could avoid blotching on pine by spreading on "a thin coat of oil mixed, boiled linseed oil and turpentine." Has anyone ever tried this route?
Also, I've read about tinting shellac with analine dyes (transtint). Has anyone ever tried to tint shellac with an oil stain?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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Chrisgiraffe wrote:

Yeah. It's pretty much the same as using "Natural" stain as a pre-coat.
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Chrisgiraffe wrote:

Applying a coat of boiled linseed oil will help in evening out the stain as it would pre saturate the areas that would absorb more stain if dry. For the same reason the BLO would also cause the final outcome to be much lighter in color.
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Nova wrote:

It's interesting to see how complicated this type of issue can get. For years my company manufactured "country pine furniture" for the "Bale Mill" furniture designers in Napa Valley, CA. I can tell you a great way to get an even color of stain on that wood, even if you are trying to stain it very dark but still want it even. Get a gel stain. There are several out there. I personally like Olympic because they make an interior/exterior gel tinting base that can be custom tinted. The gels are excellent for unpredictable wood, even helping to hide glue problems. You are on the right track to strip that shellac. You will be very pleased with the results and amazed at how easily achieved a great looking finish can be. For your dusty environment, spray your project with laquer (nitro cellulose). It's fast drying. Your first coat will be a sanding sealer. After the final coat is dry, take some 0000 steal wool and a few gentle wipes with "wool lube" from Mowhawk to easily remove any residual air borne dust particles that have stuck, and you will have the most velvet finish your heart could desire.
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Gel stains have some percentage of polyurethane in them so they are a derivation of the tinted varnish concept but in a thicker medium with other interesting cohorts. So unlike an oil to carry a pigment that penetrates well on very porous areas and less so on harder areas, the gels carry the tint in a material that can film over the suface and dry with the pigments captured in suspension. Oil does this a little, but only a little. The gels don't penetrate any better, they just more easily leave behind a tinted film is the easy way to say it.

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"Chrisgiraffe" wrote:
I read somewhere that I could avoid blotching on pine by spreading on "a thin coat of oil mixed, boiled linseed oil and turpentine." Has anyone ever tried this route?
Look at the can of BLO.
That is the standard factory suggested method of cutting BLO for application.
Lew
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