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I'm working on a project with a few different types of wood and I'm struggling to get a consistent stain across them. They're all pine, but the troublesome piece is plywood.

I'm using minwax pre-stain and minwax wood finish, both oil-based, and I'm not doing additional sanding beforehand -- not sure if any of those are factors. I've also been leaving the stain on the same amount of time for all the pieces (~10 minutes).

Any advice on getting a more consistent look?

After one coat:

enter image description here

After two coats:

enter image description here

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This will still take some experimentation.

Plywood will always take the stain harder than solid wood. If you are using conditioner on the plywood only, that is a good start. You will definitely need to sand the plywood over the original, in one direction. The sanding from the producer is too coarse and will make the stain take darker besides the dryness of the veneer from the laminating process.

Start with 120G and do a sample with the conditioner and maybe that will do it, A finer grit, up to 220, maybe what you need to go to. be sure to sand with the grain.

A tip to insure complete sanding is lightly mark the top with a pencil and sand until the marks are gone, that will have the same scratch pattern everywhere. progerss your sanding with 100g 150g, then 220g

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    +1 I have found that the conditioner is essential with most softwoods, especially plywood, to get an even finish. – bib Nov 19 '16 at 18:23
  • Thanks @Jack for the suggestions -- I'll be giving the sanding a shot. Would you recommend I also try not using conditioner on the solid wood? I was using it on everything to prevent blotching. – Matt Nov 19 '16 at 20:42
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    I have not stained many softwoods only poplar never any pine. I would try without it at first but you may need to go back to it as @bib suggests. Poplar definately needs it, so does birch, but I have only stained pine come to think of it one time, but that was with Polyshades, not straight stain like you are. You may want to try wiping the stain on the plywood while using the brush on the solid stock – Jack Nov 19 '16 at 21:24
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From my own personal experience of trials and errors, I would not recommend using a stain on pine. The wood is too porous and the grain too varied across the board. The pine will never absorb a stain completely evenly and the oils in pine contribute to this issue as well. Even with a wood conditioner, and oil based stain, the results I have had were all unsatisfactory. (If there are others here who have had success with staining pine, please clue us in on your tricks!)

Using a shellac lacquer in a natural Amber hue (cutting down the first layer with denatured alcohal by 25%) and using a gravity feed paint sprayer to create straight even strokes that overlap by about 1 cm, will give the pine an even and natural tone. The next layer you don't need to cut with the DA. But do not exceed more than 2-3 coats with Shellac. Shellac will of "eat itself" after multiple coats.

You can also experiment with sanding sealer when using a stain on any wood following stain application and light sanding, as this will essentially lock on the work you have done before adding another layer.

Good luck, hope this helps someone!

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From my own personal experience of trials and errors, I would not recommend using a stain on pine. The wood is too porous and the too grain varied. The pine will never absorb a stain completely evenly, and the oils in pine contribute to this problem as well. Even with a wood conditioner, and oil based stain, the results I have had were all unsatisfactory. (If there are others here who have had success with staining pine, please clue us in on your tricks!)

Using a shellac lacquer in a natural Amber hue (cutting down the first layer with denatured alcohal by 25%) and using a gravity feed paint sprayer to create straight even strokes that overlap by about 1 cm, will give the pine an even and natural tone. The next layer you don't need to cut with the DA. But do not exceed more than 2-3 coats with Shellac. Sheac has the funny property of "eating itself" after multiple coats.

You can also experiment with sanding sealer when using a stain on any wood following stain application and light sanding, as this will essentially lock on the work you have done before adding another layer.

Good luck, hope this helps someone!

  • You seem to have posted this answer twice. – Chenmunka Sep 30 '18 at 18:50

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