Okay, another pine finishing question

Folks -
I have used a fair amount of pine in projects, mostly painted adirondack chairs.... I am having trouble staining pine even tho' I am using a "wood conditioner" that is "supposed" kill the blotchiness of stained pine.
I used Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner and followed the directions to the letter. My shop was in the upper '60s, I put the conditioner on, let it sit 10 minutes, wiped off the excess and repeated the process, then I waited an hour before staining. The can said apply, wait 5-15 min, repeat, if needed, and apply finish within 2 hours. Rosta Ruck!
The stain was Minwax Spanish Oak and after couple of coats it looked okay, but I still wasn't happy with what I thought would solve a problem. Am I doing something wrong, or is what I got it, and it would have been "far worse" without the pre conditioner....????
I'd appreciate any experience y'all might have, and thanks in advance!
John Moorhead Lakeport, CA
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I've used the pre-conditioner too with about the same results you had. The only stain I've had any luck with is the Minwax Honey Pine which I used for a sideboard and looks the best of anything I've ever made with Pine. To keep the pine look, I started using Red Cedar and then using Danish oil which has worked very well for me.
Don

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On Mon, 29 Dec 2003 05:35:53 GMT, "john moorhead"

John: Pine is a strange creature when it comes to applying stains... the stuff i have had the best luck with is a combination of minwax sanding sealer, and bartley's gel stain
apply an easy coat of the sealer, then sand lightly to get rid of the nibs. apply the gel stain as directed on the can, but! wipe the excess off sooner than later. you'll get a bit more even of a finish, and lots less of the grain "reversal"
Traves
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Hi John, I found the Minwax stuff does not work very well too. I have switched to using Sealcoat (a dewaxed Shellac) in its place. The stain is sometimes not as dark with the same amount applied to untreated wood but it is even. Cheers, JG
john moorhead wrote:

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john moorhead said:

Piney wood is just like that! <g>
Pre-treatments reduce the tendency of the wood to absorb large amounts of stain. But they still blotch and streak to some degree. Lighter colored stains, and those diluted with mineral spirits reduce this tendency. I mix down my own, and test on scrap to arrive at the desired results. IMHO, canned stains generally do poorly on pine.
You might try a water-based dye instead of a pigmented stain. They tend to blotch less severely, because instead of filling the pores of the wood with pigment, they actually penetrate the wood fiber and dye it. The down side to this is that they don't hold up as well under U.V or sunlight exposure.
Another consideration is to stain lighter than the desired final result, and then mix a compatible stain in with your first finish coat. Obscures the grain somewhat, but pine is hardly a 'fine wood'.
Good Luck,
Greg G.
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On Mon, 29 Dec 2003 07:03:43 -0500, Greg G. Crawled out of the shop and said. . .:
snip

boy, don't let Jums see ya talking like that. . .
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On Mon, 29 Dec 2003 05:35:53 GMT, "john moorhead"

Try some other brands.
Mohawk / H. Behlen products give me far better results than Minwax. I find Zar and Olympic between the two, but plenty usable as well.
You could try a dye stain followed by a dry brushed pigment stain.
Steps:
Sand to 120-150, no further, maybe 180-220 on end grain to keep the color even. Apply dye stain w/ rag. Lock it down with dewaxed shellac or commercially available Seal Coat. Give a quick LIGHT 320 scuff Apply pigment stain w/ rag and dry brush, with the grain, until tacky. Another lock down coat Scuff lightly w/ 320 Apply your favorite protective finish.
Using the Mohawk / Behlens stuff you can do all of the above in one day, if the sanding is done the day before.
You'll need to practice and experiment to get the dye/pigment combo you want. The sealer coats will prevent the stains from altering each other, and the clear coat from messing with the pigment stain.
Practice, practice, practice... <G> You'll spend extra money on "product", but you'll save in the long run and your work will never have looked better!
Barry
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All the answers, including your own, say that "paint" is best. Painting is what you're doing with any pigment stain even over sealer. I think shellac, because it helps poorly resin-set boards stop oozing. Inconsistency in resin content is one reason why pine absorbs stain so unevenly, the difference between early and late wood in red pines is another.
If you're going to varnish, mix pigment with your varnish. Best thing after letting it age and look like pine.

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I use pine all the time, I do lots of reproductions. Staining pine can be tricky, sanding will affect how much stain is absorbed. Recently I have tried this water base stain that gives me excellent results. Here is the link for more info. http://www.sylteck.com/content_anglais/saman.asp
Daniel Martin

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Only thing that I have found to look good on pine is either clear shellac, or garnet shellac. You could use a blonde dewaxed shellac with an alcohol based aniline dye added to produce the desired color. That should be the extent of finish needed unless the surface will require wear resistance. In that case you could topcoat with a clear finish such as Behlen's Rockhard tabletop varnish.
Jon E

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John:
Try using Zinsser's SealCoat (dewaxed blonde shellac in a can) first, knocking off the fuzz (gently....very gently) and then staining per normal.
Good luck Rob
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john moorhead wrote:

That's 'cause that stuff doesn't work worth a damn.

The Rolling Stones had the perfect recipe for pineywood. Paint it black. :)
If you want to stain it, you've gotten some good suggestions so far. As of this reading, I haven't seen anyone mention what grit to use yet. If you go a bit rough on the sanding, like no more than 120 grit, you can usually improve your chances of getting even absorption. Except on end grain. End grain drinks stain like crazy. If you have exposed end grain, definitely think about Seal Coat just to have a fighting chance.
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