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Stain or no stain?

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Forum topic by woodrookiepatriot posted 07-10-2021 05:34 AM 675 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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woodrookiepatriot

16 posts in 104 days


07-10-2021 05:34 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tip pine finishing

I was fortunate enough to come across some beautiful flat grained old growth Douglas Fir planks. Now that the cabinet is starting to come together, I’m really starting to envision the piece, but I can’t decide what I should do to finish this. The natural grain is so beautiful, I almost hate to put stain on it, but I did a few color samples on a scrap and they all are very different looking. I have always stained the handful of cabinets that I have made previous, but this seems like I need to showcase the wood itself. Any suggestions/ opinions are welcome! I am also looking for suggestions on what to use for a clear-coat to best bring out a natural grain look, if I do decide to go that direction? Thanks in advance. I’m new to this forum, so I hope it is ok for me to post this question here…

Sidenote, when I started this post, I didn’t realize I can’t attach any photos… Sorry, still trying to figure out how to navigate this format. ;)

-- BAM


23 replies so far

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Andre

4731 posts in 3043 days


#1 posted 07-10-2021 05:48 AM

If wood needed stain it wouldn’t come in so many colors?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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Fred Hargis

7224 posts in 3730 days


#2 posted 07-10-2021 10:37 AM

When my choice is stain versus no-stain, I always (always) go without the stain.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Thedustydutchman

79 posts in 145 days


#3 posted 07-10-2021 10:51 AM

Old Douglas fir is my favorite wood to work with! Its beautiful. I like to finish with arm r seal. It does add an amber color that I am a big fan of on fir.

-- Jerry H - Holland Michigan

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Aj2

4063 posts in 3035 days


#4 posted 07-10-2021 03:02 PM

Douglas fir naturally darkens over time. I think it looks like cinnamon sticks.
There is one treatment to help it along but you rely have to have a good pre sealer treatment or you’ll end up with splotches.
The generals finish pecan oil based.
I 100% agree with others natural is best. A clear finish with a little bit of amber would look good I think.
Good Luck

-- Aj

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woodrookiepatriot

16 posts in 104 days


#5 posted 07-11-2021 06:12 AM

When you say “a little bit of amber” I don’t know what you mean? I’ve only used storebought stains, as-is. What products should I use to do a clear, and “add a little amber” ? Sorry for my ignorance…

-- BAM

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woodrookiepatriot

16 posts in 104 days


#6 posted 07-11-2021 06:30 AM


I wanted to include some photos. I apologize that I’m struggling with the format of this message board… Lol I’ll figure it out, eventually!

-- BAM

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Fred Hargis

7224 posts in 3730 days


#7 posted 07-11-2021 10:45 AM

Oil based finishes typically have an amber caste to them once applied to lighter colored woods. It’s the oil in the formula Linseed oil formulas aren’t as dark as those with tung oil, and there used to be soya oil formulas (I think they’ve all been discontinued) that are lighter than linseed oil. It would be worth trying a dab of some kind of varnish on a scrap piece of your wood with no stain to see how you like it. After all, it how it looks to you that matters most.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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woodrookiepatriot

16 posts in 104 days


#8 posted 07-12-2021 05:22 AM

I really appreciate the information and opinions. Thanks to everyone who has commented. I am definitely leaning towards doing a fine sanding and going with a natural finish. I feel like this grain doesn’t need color. I have a product that I imagine most people have used at some point called Polycrylic from Minwax. I have only used it once on a previous project, but I was very happy with the ease of application, and the water-based clean-up, and obviously the result. (It’s what I used on the Whiskey Cabinet I posted about). I am gonna follow advice and do some testing on a scrap to see what looks best. It’s definitely good to know that I might expect to see some color shift after the fact depending on what I use. I didn’t think about that. Thanks again to all the experts helping a rookie! I will follow up on my progress…

-- BAM

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SMP

4812 posts in 1143 days


#9 posted 07-12-2021 01:29 PM

i have used polycrylic before. it is definitely one of the least yellowing poly that i have ever used. show some pics when done!

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pottz

20555 posts in 2221 days


#10 posted 07-12-2021 03:40 PM

ill add my vote for no stain,i rarely use em,i wanna see the real natural wood color.i use oil finishes 95% of the time.general finishes are excellent.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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therealSteveN

8812 posts in 1811 days


#11 posted 07-12-2021 06:40 PM

That grain is like a natural maze. I wouldn’t color it. A nice oil based finish like Arm r Seal will give it a poly protection, and add just the right amount of yellowing. Easy to apply you can apply with a cloth, brush, or spray it on.

Follow their instructions for an almost too easy, perfect finish. One of the primary reasons I like General Finishes so much is the huge amount of reliable information they provide. They cover all phases of the weather, temp, RH. How to properly prep the surface, apply the product, and dry time, plus what to do between coats. Hard to mess up if you follow the bouncing ball.

https://thewoodsmithstore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Instructions-General-Finishes-Arm-R-Seal.pdf

On the link below, scroll down for the real info.

https://generalfinishes.com/wood-finishes-retail/oil-based-topcoats/arm-r-seal-oil-based-topcoat

-- Think safe, be safe

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Aj2

4063 posts in 3035 days


#12 posted 07-12-2021 10:05 PM

I hate minwax stains and finishes. I do use their paste wax the poly acrylic clear finish is probably the softest finish you can find.
Generals finish is very good getting harder to find in my area.
Good Luck

-- Aj

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Bob Gnann

143 posts in 910 days


#13 posted 07-12-2021 10:15 PM

Minwax makes a semi a transparent oil stain their Natural 209. I have used it on applications similar to what you are describing. But, like they say on TV, your results may vary. And always try it some scrap first.

-- Bob Gnann. "Don't cloud the issue with facts.". Groucho Marx

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AlaskaGuy

6748 posts in 3546 days


#14 posted 07-12-2021 10:44 PM

NO STAIN

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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woodrookiepatriot

16 posts in 104 days


#15 posted 07-13-2021 04:12 AM

I did some searching about the Arm R Seal, and it seems to only be available in a satin finish? Am I just not seeing a gloss option or do they only make it in satin? So far, I’m leaning towards the Polycrylic gloss from Minwax. I suppose durability is a consideration (it was mentioned that Polycrylic may not be as hard or durable as others), it is not a huge concern on this cabinet. It’s most likely going to be used for a spice cabinet or some other fashion that probably won’t see a high level of wear and tear. I really appreciate everyone’s advice!

-- BAM

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