Pine, Transtint, Shellac Sealcoat

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Forum topic by ownafixerupper posted 05-11-2012 04:14 AM 6162 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 3449 days

05-11-2012 04:14 AM

Topic tags/keywords: pine shellac transtint dye blotch grain reversal

Long story short, I am making a small pedestal table for a prop for a wedding (not mine). My requirements were to keep it cheap and rustic, preferably using scrap wood where I had it. Being the new woodworker that I am, that implies pine! (and not the select kind either…)

So, oh ye most knowledgeable ones:

I am trying to Transtint the pine. (yes—-this may ultimately violate the rustic requirement, in which case I may default to BLO) I have tried various combinations of tinting shellac (unwaxed), dissolving the dye in alcohol, dissolving the dye in water, and applying these to scrap wood, with and without seal coats of #1 shellac.

It seems that no matter what I try, some blotching/grain reversal happens. The least blotchiness seemed to occur with a single seal coat and water-dissolved dye; two seal-coats actually seemed to make the grain reversal worse, but I need to try the single seal on more scrap wood before being certain of that. Sanding did not matter. From what I’ve read, these are all typical things to try with pine. Will some blotchiness/grain reversal occur no matter what?

5 replies so far

View JAAune's profile


1941 posts in 3404 days

#1 posted 05-11-2012 09:30 PM

Grain reversal is normal and unavoidable when staining softwoods like pine. This is due to the lighter portion of the wood being far more porous than the dark portion so it absorbs more stain.

Blotching is avoidable but it often takes a combination of techniques to completely eliminate it. You can use the Sealcoat or a pre-stain conditioner before the stain to minimize blotching. Sanding to a higher grit (320-400 or so) will tend to reduce it as well.

I prefer using a straight water solution for the Transtint as it tends to be easier to for me to stain evenly with that than alcohol stain.

Also, if you’re going for a dark color avoid trying to achieve it with a single, dark stain. Instead, use several steps with lighter stains, glazes and toners to build up to the final color.

If you have a spray gun, spraying on the water-based dye is a highly effective method for getting an even color without blotching. Just take light passes and avoid spraying so much that the stain puddles, runs or drips. Do not wipe off the excess either.

-- See my work at

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

1279 posts in 3321 days

#2 posted 05-12-2012 02:27 PM

I use hide glue sizing, one ounce in one quart of water (hot). Brush it on and let it dry for 24 hours. Sand with 150-180 grit. Spray/wipe on the stain. We first tried this with a Doulas fir mantel and even the end grain took the dye evenly.

-- Jerry

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


5987 posts in 3438 days

#3 posted 05-12-2012 05:32 PM

I work with pine from time to time and generally prefer to either put a clear finish, ex., on it or paint it, ex. Staining pine has led to way more problems that I like to deal with.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ownafixerupper's profile


11 posts in 3449 days

#4 posted 05-13-2012 02:53 AM

JAAune—thanks, that cleared up some differences between and details about blotching and grain reversal that I was not aware.

Jerry—hide glue, interesting. Haven’t heard of that one before. Not sure I can get hide glue in time (would have to special order it), but that’s a trick I will definitely try out sometime, thanks.

Bondo—given the rustic theme, I may be doing just a clear coat, possibly with some BLO to give it a bit of extra warmth. That pine bed you linked is certainly a nice build, by the way.

View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 3373 days

#5 posted 05-13-2012 03:18 AM

If you’re going to put a finish on pine, better get some of this first.

I swear by it.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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