Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 178 June 2020 Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
 
Finishing: Wood Conditioners
By Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher

Wood conditioners are very useful in many finishing situations and are very effective when used properly. Wood conditioners can be made in the shop using whatever finish you plan to apply to your projects. Simply thin the material to about 75% thinner to 25% finishing material. Types of finishes that lend themselves to this process would be oil based varnish, oil based polyurethane, shellac and lacquer. The species of woods that would benefit the most are the softer woods such as pine, fur, spruce and most of all plywood. Plywood has a tendency to blotch very badly if no conditioner is used and if blotching occurs, trying to sand out the mess is extremely hard to do, especially on ply.

To apply wood conditioner, if oil based, just apply with a rag deliberately and let set for 15-20 minutes but no more than 2 hours then move on with your stain. When using shellac, brush or spray on a liberal coat. Since shellac is thinned with alcohol it will dry virtually as soon as it is applied and is ready for staining. Lacquer can be used with the same results as shellac but should be sprayed on for best results with a dry time of a couple of minutes. As for water based wood conditioners there are some available however I would refrain from using these with any oil based stains, unless the conditioner is completely dry, as the results may be disappointing.

As always a little practice on scrap will give you a clear understanding of what to expect on your projects.

Click here to visit the Highland Woodworking Finishing Department


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

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