Ben Moore Wood Conditioner or Minwax?

I am going to stain some pine doors. Is Ben Moore's "Wood Conditoner" a better product to use prior to staining, as opposed to the equivalent Minwax product? I intend to just use a "natural" stain.
I have about 6 doors to stain, so I don't want to make a mistake.
Any other finishing tips would be appreciated. I plan to use 2 or 3 coats of gloss poly followed by a coat of flat poly.
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If you have access to HVLP, I suggest spraying a dye stain. That will prevent blotching altogether. Otherwise you'll be at the mercy of a conditioner's ability to even out the stain.
David
Buck Turgidson wrote:

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On Sun, 24 Oct 2004 12:09:48 -0400, "Buck Turgidson"

With Natural stain, don't bother with a pre-coat. I often use Natural _as_ the pre-coat. You won't be able to see botching.

If you use oil based poly, you may be able to skip the stain altogether. Pick up a pine board, cut it in two, sand it, stain one, and poly both. See if you can see a difference.
Barry
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If you are using natural stain, you don't need conditioner. Natual is so light is is julylike putting a little oil on the door.
As for brands, they are mostly just mineral spirits anyway.

Thin the first coat of poly a bit. Apply, sand, apply full coat, sand, apply last coat, sand with 400 grit.
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Question... Why do you want to use a "natural" stain? Why not just leave it unstained? (which is what I think a "natural" stain does anyhow...)
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I don't know about that... natural stain is what I always use (mainly because I'm crappy at staining things and colored stain tends to wreck whatever I just built) and it makes the grain pop nicely, and makes it just a little darker. Looks nicer than unstained, IMO.
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The MinWax product works fine. I think mineral spirits will do pretty much the same thing.
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Having just asked the question about wood conditioner's make up on another board, I was told the conditioner is refined linseed oil.
Thunder
P.S. I was also told that using a gel stain doesn't require a wood conditioner.
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I think we are talking a different application. Pre-stain conditioner consists of aliphatic hydrocarbons according to the Minwax can.
My can of BLO says nothing about hydrocarbons. But it can be used to "condition" wood as a protective coating.
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I think those guys did you wrong.
http://www.bartleycollection.com/finish.htm From the Bartley's web page under finishing: Common Staining Problems
Certain woods like soft pine, maple, and birch often absorb stains unevenly. To help overcome this problem on soft woods and endgrains, first apply a coat of Gel Varnish, wipe it nearly dry, arid then follow immediately with a coat of gel stain. In this case, the varnish acts as a conditioner and eliminates much of the blotchiness.
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Q. What does a "wood conditioner" do?
A. Certain woods have areas of varying density. These areas absorb stains at different rates, creating darker spots, known as blotches. A wood conditioner simply soaks into the wood, with the more porous areas absorbing more conditioner. This controls the absorption of the colored stain, lessening the differences between the more and less porous areas of wood. This makes for less blotching.
Substances that I've successfully used as wood conditioner: Branded Wood Conditioners (Minwax, Ben Moore, etc...) Mineral spirits or turpentine "Natural" stain of the same brand in use A thin shellac (1/2-1 lb cut) spit coat Thinned varnishes Oils, such as thinned boiled linseed oil
In short, any substance that soaks in and is compatible with the stain will work. Some of the substances soak in faster than others, some need to dry before the colored stain is applied. Practice on scrap.
Barry
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Most conditioners are made from thinned finishes, for example 1/2 to 1 lb cut shellac. If you buy shellac at the store it will need to be diluted with denatured alcohol with a ratio of 1 part shellac to 2-5 parts alcohol. Also, mineral spirits can work, although you need to hurry a bit more with that, as it evaporates faster than wood conditioner. Run with the gel stain...forget conditioning. Especially important with cherry....
Mike
wrote:

much
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