To stain or paint:

I have noticed when using wood like pine , spruce ,fir and other softwoods for furniture projects that when stained produce an amateurish looking result my question ,is paint a more suitable finish?
Sal
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 4/20/2012 4:06 PM, sal wrote:

IME, amateur is as amateur does. :)
Seriously, part of a professional looking project is the experience and know how to choose the appropriate wood for the project, and that includes being experienced enough to know how to finish the chosen wood.
There have been beautiful projects done from all the woods you mention, although most of those may not that be easy to finish.
A good book, like Bob Flexnor's "Understanding Wood Finishing", will take you a long way to getting a professional look from any wood.
--
www.eWoodShop.com
Last update: 4/15/2010
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 4/20/2012 4:29 PM, Swingman wrote:

Sorry, that's "Flexner":
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
--
www.eWoodShop.com
Last update: 4/15/2010
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Thanks for the info, I knew I would receive some excellent advice.
Sal
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Friday, April 20, 2012 2:29:14 PM UTC-7, Swingman wrote:

What he said. You can learn to create beautiful results, often using the exact same finishing materials that look "amateurish", just being applied with a bit more knowledge.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes, it can be. But also consider clear finishes, such as shellac, Waterlox varnish (my favorite), other varnishes, lacquer (usually sprayed), or just plain Johnson's Wax.
Swingy suggested Flexner's book while I recommend Jeff Jewitt's _Hand Applied Finishes_. Different tastes. See if your local library has those two and/or Dresdner's original _Wood Finishing Book_, which rounds out books by the trio of recent experts.
-- That's the thing about needs. Sometimes, when you get them met, you don't need them anymore. -- Michael Patrick King
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Sal,

First, many of us ARE amateurs, and paint should only be used on MDF or sheetrock. :)
The vast majority of the projects I have built have been made from cedar, redwood, pine, and poplar.
I don't put anything on cedar or redwood except an oil based polyurethane. The poly really brings out the natural color and grain, and offers protection for the soft woods. In fact, we used T&G cedar for the ceilings throughout our house, with nothing more than two coats of poly on them. Beautiful! I built my wife a small bookshelf from redwood I recycled from our old deck. It looks great and has held up well despite being a soft wood.
Pine and poplar can be tricky to stain as they blotch easily. I almost always apply Minwax Prestain Conditioner to these woods before staining and usually have great results.
I built all of our kitchen and bath cabinets from regular #2 pine. I used the Minwax conditioner, followed by Minwax "Windsor Oak" gel stain, and three coats of Minwax poly. Yep, I buy most of my supplies at the local home center. Such an amateur. :) We are very happy with the results. The rustic knotty appearance looks great in our house. The only thing I wish I had done differently was to stain the door panels before assembling the doors. I always do that now, but didn't know about it back then. So, we did end up with a bit of bare wood around the door panels when the panel shrank. Thankfully, the Windsor Oak stain is fairly light anyway so it's not really noticeable unless you go up to the door and look. I've never gotten around to touching them up.
Poplar has always been the hardest for me to stain, as it blotches really bad. The prestain conditioner usually helps, but not always. Still, I built our entertainment center, computer desk, and many other items with poplar. My favorite finish has been the prestain conditioner, Varethane "Golden Mahogany" stain, and three coats of polyurethane.
I am currently working on an armoire for my in-laws, built mostly out of poplar. For this project I used General Finishes "American Oak" gel stain. I experimented with and without preconditioner, and found the gel stain by itself actually looked better. I stained the entire poplar armoire with the GF gel stain and didn't have any splotching anywhere. I'm applying three coats of General Finishes "Arm-R-Seal" on top of that. I am very happy with the way it's turning out.
By the way, if the stain job turns out horrible, you can always paint over it. :)
Anthony
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Hi Anthony , don't get me wrong I'm not knocking amateurs ,we all have to learn,I'm just not satisfied with my work.
Sal
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 4/21/2012 11:27 AM, sal wrote:

Usually the sign that you are quickly losing amateur status. :)
--
www.eWoodShop.com
Last update: 4/15/2010
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Sal,

No problem, I agree completely. I was just pointing out that you can get good results with hard to stain woods like pine and poplar. It just takes a bit more work than something like oak.
But, I'm always learning and trying to improve my woodworking and finishing skills. I'm getting better, but still have plenty of room to grow.
Anthony
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ed,

I used a few of the redwood scraps to build corner shelves for our walk-in shower. While they are out of the direct water flow in our 6'x6' shower area, they're still exposed to water daily from soap dishes, shampoo bottles, etc. I coated them with 4 coats of a spar varnish and didn't expect them to last more than a year or two. It's now more than 7 years later and there's no sign of any problems. I haven't done anything to them other than basic cleaning.
Then again, a lot of the longevity is probably due to the redwood itself. The deck boards were out in the elements for over 13 years before I recycled them. They were the underlying support structure, not the surface decking. I had to cut away a few rough ends and edges that had started to decay, but the rest looked brand new after a pass through the planer.

I may have to give that a try some day.
I tried Charles Neil's Pre-Color conditioner, and did not have very good results despite the positive reviews. Considering the price and extra steps involved, the Minwax conditioner worked just as well.
Anthony
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Softwoods like pine have a tendency to splotch - the darker the stain the worse it can look. It is a good idea, even necessary, to pre- condition the wood just before staining. Minwax has a pretty good conditioner. I have also read that mineral spirits will do the same job but I have never tried it. Conditioner will, in itself, darken the wood a little.
None of the above is a substitute for careful sanding and preparation. Conditioning is just one of the final steps. Pine, fir, etc, will provide a very nice appearance with preparation.
RonB
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I've had good luck using a glue-size to precondition pine before staining. I keep my glue brushes in a glass of water, and after a time long enough that you have between a 20:1 and 10:1 ratio of glue to water, the water can be applied to the pine and left to dry prior to staining. This will prevent the uneven absorbtion of stain which results in blotchiness (birch also responds well to this).
You can also make the glue-size yourself by dissolving white glue in the appropriate ratio with water.
scott
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You can easily use shellac as a prestain and get excellent results. Just cut it down a lot with Alchy. Dewaxed or sanding sealer btw.
On 4/21/2012 1:06 PM, Scott Lurndal wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

'... and the voice from above says "Re-paint! and thin no more." '
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 4/24/2012 1:08 PM, Robert Bonomi wrote:

GROAN....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.