Pre-Conditioning with a Washcoat
A thinned-down version of your topcoat stain serves as an effective wood conditioner before staining. October 26, 2005
I am a frustrated cabinet builder looking for a wood pre-stain formula the we can mix in house, instead of buying an ever changing product like Bix. It seems the product differs from can to can. Thanks for your thoughts.
From what I read, it sounds like this product is nothing more than thinned down varnish. What you are calling a "pre-stain" is what others might call a wood conditioner. Also, this is a type of washcoat. Make your own washcoat out of your topcoat, your sealer or shellac. Reduce your coating so that you end up with 3% to 5% solids by volume. Spray it on evenly. It dries to the touch within minutes and it is ready for scuffing (320 grit or 220 grit if you do not mind more bite of the wiping stain into the wood). Now you are ready to stain.
Bix has a 12 hour wait time. This is not a production-friendly product at all. I have read but have not tried using a clear stain base as a conditioner. Apply it and let it set in. Let it sit out its dry time, whatever that is. Stain on top of that. If the clear stain base has dried enough time, then the wiping stain should not resolvate it and smear it around. StarFinishing.com has or had a technical sheet on this technique.
From Paul Snyder, forum technical advisor:
I'm not a fan of the pre-stain "conditioners." Instead, I like to use a washcoat as mentioned above. Depending on the wood and type of stain you're using, you will have to adjust the solids content to eliminate the blotching while getting good coloring. I generally use something in the 5% - 10% range.
The link below explains how to calculate the solids content of the washcoat. Try 5% and see how it works. If you get blotching, try a higher solids. You will likely find that solid wood needs a washcoat with higher solids content than ply. Do a sample or three, the larger the better, to test the washcoat. Small samples can look deceivingly good!
Using a Washcoat
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: General Wood Finishing
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.
335 Bedell Road
Montrose, PA 18801
Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.