Staining flat boards

Something that I haven't quite got the gist of doing well yet.
How to stain a flat board **without** getting drips down the sides or staining the sides of the board so that it turns out with the same finish as the top and sides.
Problem I run into is that the sides of the board are typically without grain, so you end up with a uniform color - unlike the top where the grain takes varying degrees of color from the stain.
Second question, correlation to the first, applying a polyeurothane coat to the stain. If I want it done right it takes about 3 days to do - flat part of board, dry 5 hours, then do sides, dry for 5 hours, flip, bottom, dry for 5. Sand, and repeat as needed. I seriously want to do the whole board and set it on a wire rack to dry, but inevitably I get pools of coating on the bottom of the board where the finish slowly accumulates.
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There are a couple of strategies for clean edges.
1. Coat the edge with shellac first. If it drips to the flat face, just sand it afgter it's dry, about an hour.
2. Sand or cut the edges after staining.
For somewhat faster finishing, with poly, you can try a wipe on poly. You should never leave enough on the surface per coat so it drips to the edge, you can do all sides and rest the piece (lightly) on a bed of nails as it dries.

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wrote:

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SonomaProducts.com wrote:

What keeps the nail points from disrupting the film and that disruption from showing when dry? Or is the film so thin (wipe on) that it doesn't matter?
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dadiOH
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Yeah. it's not a perfect solution but better than a typical rack. If the wipe on is thin enough and your careful enough it works out OK. I've actually done it more often with lacquer or painted pieces. I did it first on project I didn't care so much about the back side (can't remember exactly what it was but I remember the process (Lacquer will do that to you)). I had a bunch of long strips and I needed to coat both sides quickly. So I made a bed of screws actually and the Red Oak grain pretty much hide any pin holes because I couldn't find even one after I was done but I did see the thumb marks where I flipped the pieces so I know the lacquer was still pretty wet.

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Eigenvector wrote:

They aren't without grain, the grain is just different. If you want more color variation on the edges try combing with a comb, then wipe lightly with a rag. Might have to dip the comb in thinner first. Or just wipe off some in a differential manner. ________________

You are putting on too much finish. Some suggestions...
Never - NEVER- move your brush across the edge toward the center of the board. That will scrape off a flood of finish.
When I do a board I start at the junction of one end and a side and apply the finish so that my brush is gradually running off the side edge. Doing that means that there will be a little more finish on the top along the edge. I then go back and brush lengthwise holding the brush so it is touching the entire side and overlapping the top a bit. That pulls off the edge pool on the top and puts it on the edge. It also spreads any drips that ran down from the top. After a minute or two, I run my finger along the bottom edge to wipe off any drips there may be. I do that more than once at intervals. Actually, I am sort of bending my finger so that it is not only wiping the bottom but the bottom edge is depressing the finger flesh a bit and that smooths out any finish accumulation on the side at the bottom. If necessary (it usually isn't) I also use a small brush to smooth the edges.
After that side and edges are dry, I flip the board. If there are any drips on that side - a very rare occurance - I chisel/sand them off. I also sand the edges smooth. I then repeat what I did for the other side except that this time when I wipe the bottom edge to get any drips I *also* wipe the edges.
The small brush I mentioned earlier is an artist's brush with very fine hair (squirrel? sable?). They aren't cheap but are very useful. I have a 1/2" and a 1", use the 1/2" the most.
There is no way to finish 2 sides and 2 edges of a board at the same time without suspending it from brackets by nails into the ends.
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That sounds about like what I typically do. From the looks of it I suspect I just need to cut down on the amount of finish applied - take it a little slower and not slop it on. Really its not like I'm gloppping it on there, and I always start from the center and work outward so that the brush is pretty dry by the time it hits the edges. So it sounds like my problem is in the clean up - not wiping down enough and perhaps changing to a better brand of finish - one that's not so runny. Right now I'm using Minwax - gives it a decent surface look, but it is rather watery - and it also has a tendency to remove the stain from the board. Perhaps a tad too much solvent in it?
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Eigenvector wrote:

No, not too much solvent. I haven't stained anything in deccades but my guess would be too much stain and/or not dry.
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dadiOH
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