Controlling Stain Absorption on Poplar End Grain

      Sanding and a sealer washcoat can help you fine-tune the way end grain takes up stain. June 28, 2013

I am staining some raised panel poplar columns and want to avoid having too much stain being absorbed by the end grain. I have stained all of the other woodwork in the house successfully by using Olympic's oil based wood conditioner and letting it dry for a minimum of four days before staining with Olympic oil based stain.

I know this goes against the instructions but it results in a nice finish and prevents the poplar from absorbing the stain in blotchy patterns. Instead it results in a nice, quiet grain pattern resembling cherry. This technique works reasonably well with the raised panels but still allows too much stain to be absorbed by the end grain of the raised panels. Can anyone suggest something to prevent stain from being absorbed into the end grain?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor E:
I donít know how many panels you have but you could use a bit of glue sizing or something along those lines.

From contributor N:
I have always had good results sanding that area with finer sand paper up to 380 grit and or sealing it with a coat of seal coat shellac which is a two pound cut, or thin it with denatured alcohol for a one pound cut. As with all finishing you would need to experiment first. Glue size would also work.

From contributor R:
Have you tried to just wet the end grain first with a rag soaked in paint thinner and then staining it. Try it out on a sample to see if you like the results.

From contributor B:
I always sand the end grain to a finer grit than face or edge grain then follow with a washcoat of shellac over the whole piece. I'm not a great finisher but this has worked for me in the past. One way to avoid the end grain on a raised panel is to edgeband the panel with solid wood then run the profile as normal. I've only done this where I have a large panel and I'm using MDF with a face veneer. More work for sure but you kill two birds with one stone. No end grain and if you know how to orient the grain on the edgeband no tear-out to deal with.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing: General Wood Finishing

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2017 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article