Blotch reduction

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Forum topic by Kirk650 posted 10-05-2016 02:57 PM 843 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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743 posts in 2090 days

10-05-2016 02:57 PM

I’m putting the final coats of Waterlox on that blanket chest/toy box that I made from Hard Maple. I stained that white blotch-prone wood a dark walnut with red undertones. Prior to using the water based dyes on the final product, I ran tests on a dozen or more chunks of scrap wood, with this type dye or that type surface stain, water and oil based, and the blotch was beyond horrible on every test piece. Why in the world it ever occurred to me to make this thing from Hard Maple when I could have used Walnut, I just don’t know. Dumb idea, for sure.

So, I researched blotch control. I wasn’t new to the concept, having tried several different products and home made concoctions. None ever worked that well, so when I found myself with a large pile of Hard Maple that blotched as bad as anything I had ever seen, I was in despair. The wife would kill me if I scrapped the Maple and bought a bunch of Walnut. Being a desperate man at that point, I ordered some of that Charles Neil pre-color conditioner (blotch control) and tried more tests on the Maple. It worked pretty good. It gave me hope. I used it on the blanket chest, and blotch was not eliminated completely, but neither was it a problem of any consequence. I am a happy man, having dodged the blotch bullet. The chest looks great. My niece will never guess that the underlying wood is white, unless her kids attack the box with a hammer.

Thank you, Charles Neil. You saved me.

7 replies so far

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Gerald Thompson

1310 posts in 3576 days

#1 posted 10-06-2016 01:14 AM

+1 on Charles’ blotch control.

-- Jerry

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217 posts in 3503 days

#2 posted 10-06-2016 01:44 AM

Yep, glue sizing has been around for a long time, same stuff you bought…......probably had glue and water in the shop.

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743 posts in 2090 days

#3 posted 10-06-2016 02:51 AM

I do have glue and water in the shop, but have never seemed to get the combination to work as well as Charles’s stuff does. Maybe he has pixie dust in it. Whatever…it works, and I’ll buy more, as needed. If he took the time and did the research and testing till he finally got it right, more power to him. Saves me from having to further experiment on that. I’ll happily pay him for the quality and consistency this stuff offers.

View Carloz's profile


1147 posts in 1933 days

#4 posted 10-12-2016 08:06 PM

I had some intermittent success with Charles Niel’s stuff on maple + water dyes. Smaller pieces worked wonderfully. The bigger ones had to be resanded many times before I managed to get something more or less acceptable. Because I already used it on other parts and it does change color so I had no choice but to continue using it for the whole piece.
The blotch control is water soluble after it dries and you literally have seconds to apply your finish. On bare wood you can just flood the surface at once and wipe the excess. No need to maintain the wet edge as there is no edge. This does not work with blotch control. The water dye dissolves the sealer, mixes with it and creates incredible mess.

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743 posts in 2090 days

#5 posted 10-13-2016 12:49 AM

Carlos, I just finished that big Blanket Chest. Put the antique bronze carry handles on it today. I had none of the problems that you mention. It was a white Hard Maple chest that I should have made from Walnut, but I bought the Maple so I gave it a go. It blotched horribly. I really thought that I had made a major mistake in buying that wood. I had tried many different blotch controllers over the years, but nothing worked that well, so I was in despair. I figured that I might as well try the Charles Neil version and pray that it would work. I must have worn out 8 bf of the Maple trying the blotch control and various water based dye combinations, but I finally found one that I liked. So, I put the blotch controller on the chest as suggested in the instructions, and let the second coat dry an extra day. Then I applied the first dye, which was a very strong mixture of Coffee Brown, and let it dry for two days. I applied it liberally with a wide foam brush. The second dye was mostly Dark Wine Cherry from JE Moser, and it was a bit less strong. It actually dissolved some of the first dye, which turned out to be a good thing, and the final result was dark brown, with some reddish tones. The grain is clearly visible and it isn’t blotched except for a few small spots where the grain reversed.

I saw no indication that the water based dye softened or removed the dried blotch controller to any degree. I can see a few places where the first die, the darker coffee brown dye, streaked slightly when I put on the cherry dye. I can see it, but to the untrained eye it’s just wood grain.

All in all, I am delighted. The project turned out just as I had hoped, and that would not have been the case without the Charles Neil pre-color conditioner. It saved my project. The next blanket chest sure as heck won’t be from Hard Maple. I learned my lesson. I made a bad wood decision and escaped an ugly outcome. Thank you Charles Neil.

And I’m sorry to hear that you had problems with your project. Just guessing that you didn’t let the blotch controller dry completely. Concerns about that was why I let it dry an extra day.

And nobody will ever know that this box was originally white.

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2944 posts in 3331 days

#6 posted 10-13-2016 11:44 AM

Other, cheaper alternatives for blotch control. If zero blotching is desired, the surface needs to be completely sealed and a color coat laid on top, then the finish coats. A little wb finish mixed with the wb dye, providing a binder, will prevent the 1st dye coat rewetting and mixing. 10-20% works.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2501 posts in 5212 days

#7 posted 10-13-2016 12:23 PM

The BC has to dry and you have to move with a dye, and yes the BC is designed to soften under a WB dye or stain, so it can actually take some color, over working ( keep wetting and wiping) will soften it too much… Here is a blog I wrote that explains more ,

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