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Blotching

wood finishing

by Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher



It's always scary to stain a piece that one has put a lot of time and effort into just to have a big blotchy mess when you are done.

Here are some tips on ways to achieve a more even color.

  1. Plywood should always have a "wash coat" or "wood conditioner" applied per instructions on the can before staining.
  2. Wood conditioner can be made by using lacquer, shellac or varnish thinned at least 75% with the appropriate thinner. Lacquer, lacquer thinner, shellac, alcohol/varnish, or mineral spirits.
  3. Solid woods usually, but not always, take stain much more evenly than ply.
  4. Harder woods tend to stain more evenly.
  5. Softer woods will tend to blotch.
  6. When using water-based dyes, it's always best to wet the surface first before applying the color.
  7. NGR or "non grain raising" stains are designed for spray application.
  8. As always, practicing on scraps tends to save on aspirin. Above all, all surfaces to be stained must be sanded evenly in the same exact way for good results.


Visiting Atlanta? Attend one of Alan's upcoming highly informative Highland Woodworking wood finishing seminars:


Oct 11-12, 2014  Antique Restoration
Oct 25, 2014  Finishing 101
Nov 5, 2014  Finishing the Finish
Nov 15, 2014  Spray Finishing
Nov 19, 2014  French Polish Workshop



Visit Highland Woodworking's Online Wood Finishing Supplies Department




Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at anoelfurniturere@bellsouth.net.


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