I am getting ready to stain a large project and just realized I may well not
have enough Minwax wood treatment to pretreat all the pine on the project.
It being 30 miles into town and remembering reading somewhere that you
could mix your own, does anyone have the mixing instructions/recipe?
You are getting ready to pour gas on yourself and start playing with
I never understand these things... you are going to finish a project
(probably some type of furniture) that you have spent money on
materials, tools, and all of your time completing and you are worried
about a 45 minute trip to town for some cheap insurance?
Here's the deal: Not all conditioners are alike or are even made for
the same thing. Proper use of a good conditioner takes good
scheduling skills and some practice if it is indeed a "large
project". Why take a chance on an ersatz conditioner? And I hope you
weren't thinking of using the Minwax until you ran out then starting
with your homebrew...
Here's the old school conditioner for oil based stains: 1 1/2 cups
FRESH (not that crap at the bottom of the cabinet that smells like
rancid nuts) in a clean (as in brand new) gallon of mineral spirits.
Apply to the surfaces liberally and keep the surface wet, touching up
the dry areas by applying more brew. After about 10 - 15 minutes
(less if hot, more if cold) wipe it all off. Stain within as soon as
possible, certainly within a half hour, noting how long you went from
application of homebrew to staining. Use that number to time your
applications on the rest of the project. Don't get ahead of yourself
and seal your whole piece.
Water based stain conditioner: Mix white (NOT carpenter's glue) 50/50
with distilled water. Apply liberally, wait about 10 minutes and
wipe down your surfaces to remove any excess. Start your staining
within 20 minutes, and write down your exact times as above.
This is a well known recipe for "glue sealer", but since I have not
used any of the water based staining agents, I don't know how well it
Although they say you can use water based conditioner under oil based
stain, I wouldn't. I have seen stain lift that water based sealer
stuff right up. Use the BLO/mineral spirits for oil based, and the
white glue for water based and don't cross them up.
If it were me, I would go buy more manufactured product and hang on to
the receipt for possible return. By the time you mix this stuff up
and PRACTICE ON YOUR SCRAPS WITH IT, you would be better off with
something you are familiar with.
If this is a large project, make sure you are organized with all your
implements and applicators at hand. Timing is important when applying
color because when all other things are equal, the amount of
coloration is determined by time on target.
If you haven't bought your stain yet, you might want to try some of
the gel stains that are out there as they don't blotch nearly as much
as a regular stain.
As always, just my 0.02.
IME, it's hit or miss with a pre-treatment when _attempting_ to stain pine.
The old standby "pre-coat" on pine was a brushed on, 1# cut of shellac, but
good luck with that as it still may not prevent blotches, depending upon the
amount of old/new wood on the board.
The absolute best chance of success when using a stain on pine is to go with
a Gel stain ... bar none.
Thanks to all, especially Nailshooter. It is so nice to have a place to go
for advice when you need it. It looks like I will be making a trip into
town. :-). I had some gel stain, but not enough to do the project and was
going to use some liquid I had here. But you are right, might as well do
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