The bed I am building will have some exposed end grain - by design. The wood
is quarter sawn Douglas Fir.
I started staining parts of it today - pieces with end grain that will
be exposed (e.g. the side rails) - so I could see how the stain
looked. I used a liberal amount of Minwax Pre-Stain on all surfaces but
the end grain still came out much darker than the face/side grain. Too
dark. I lost all of the quarter sawn end grain pattern that I want to see.
Some sites I looked at said that end grain could be sealed with pre-stain
or shellac, implying that one was as good as the other. Is that true or
would shellac seal the end grain better?
I did find that if I used very little stain on the rag I could achieve
a lighter color, but I think it would be difficult to get an exact match
on all sections of exposed end grain. I don't expect to get an exact match
of end grain to side grain, but I don't want the vast difference I am seeing
even after using the pre-stain.
Would shellac do a better job than pre-stain? Is there something even better?
I also read that burnishing the end grain with a high-grit sandpaper (like
300+) will prevent the end grain from absorbing too much stain. Unfortunately
I have already assembled some parts where end grain is directly adjacent
to side grain, so burnishing just the end grain portions would be very
difficult. Applying shellac to the end grain pieces is doable, burnishing
just the end grain would be tough.
Thanks once again for your expertise.