Staining Shelf Pin Holes

Tips for a pesky detail: coloring the inside of shelf pin holes so they won't stand out against the finished piece. August 30, 2007

Do any of you stain the inside of the shelf pin holes? I am working on a cherry library and it is a dark stain. The shelf holes are in cherry ply. Should I stain the holes? I've never seen them stained, although if they were, you wouldn't really notice because they wouldn't stick out. What do you do?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
We almost always use the shelf pin sleeves... it's an "upgrade" look, but doesn't cost much in terms of material (it does take time, however), and you don't have the issue of the inside of the holes. We did a job where we finished some cabs a weekend warrior built - we tried getting the stain in the holes and it was a nightmare.

From contributor C:
One word... Q-Tips!

From the original questioner:
I've done it one time with q-tips and it was still a real pain. So, does anyone do it on a standard basis or would this be something special?

From contributor O:
The trick behind staining the shelf pin holes is to do it once the cabinet has been completely finished. This way you simply wipe the stain off with a cotton rag. Yes, it's a pain in the butt, but it's a clean look. If you do decide to stain them, you should charge for the extra time that's involved. I found the Q-tip to be the most reasonable way to accomplish this task. If the holes were drilled with a dull drill bit and there is a bunch of chipped out veneer around the hole, you may decide to leave this step out of your finishing schedule.

From the original questioner:
I've thought about doing it after finishing but I am afraid to drip stain (Woodsong custom, heavy on the dyes) on the fresh finish (MagnaMax satin). How long do I need to wait before it won't eat into it?

From contributor O:
You can use an oil stain or an oil based paint, for that matter. All you want to do is put some color in the holes, even a black color is fine. If you happen to spill some of the color on the finished surface, just wipe it off with a rag. I'm not sure about that particular stain you're using, but if it's a lacquer or acetone based one, I wouldn't use it no matter how long the coating has dried.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. Now why didn't I think of that? So simple. Have a good weekend.

From contributor R:
If I were going to do it, I would just stick the tip of my SataJet in each hole and give it a squirt; maybe a couple of seconds per hole.

From contributor R:
I meant my Sata Deco or whatever they call it; it is a little bigger than an airbrush.

From contributor B:
Magic marker... comes in a brown that will work for cherry holes.