Staining End Grain

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Posted · Report post

Hey Guys and GAls,

Anyone have any suggestions on how to treat end grain oak so that when I stain it it'll match the long grain sides? O r how to treat it so it wont act like a sponge and become 3 shades darker that the rest of the project?

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Posted · Report post

I have heard that if you sand with a higher grit on the end grain, it will keep it from getting so dark. I havent tried it yet, but I will be soon.

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Posted · Report post

That is one way to do it, but here's another method I learned from Hendrik in his new DVDs about staining. Dramatically dilute the stain before applying (e.g. 9 parts thinner/1 part stain) then apply to the end grain and apply regular strength to long grain areas.

Or his other recommendation is to soak the end grain with the thinner first (apply very liberal amount with a rag or such) then apply regular strength stain to the end grain by blotting it gently with a rag. If it's not dark enough to match the long grain repeat until it comes up in color.

I haven't tried it myself, but the demonstration worked and it makes sense if you think about it.

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Posted · Report post

Being this is oak and the wood won't absorb much stain anyway, however, think about how much stain is going to be absorbed by the deep grain in the oak over the entire piece. To me, oaks grain can get thick or blotchy looking or overly "grainier" looking. A suggestion would be to coat the entire piece with a thin cut of shellac and sand back leaving the shellac in the grain. This will limit the amount of stain take-up by the grain. In my opinion, gives the oak a cleaner appearance, so by applying the shellac over the entire piece you address your end-grain concern, as well.

A caution for soaking "only" the end-grain with a thinner (the trick is how much thinner) If to much thinner is absorbed by the end-grain(soaking it) can/could leach to the flat-grain above, causing less stain being absorbed there, as well. So you could get a light/dark take-up. Maybe another Idea would be, apply the thinner over the entire piece and then apply stain so no chance of unevenness.

-Ace-

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Posted · Report post

That's a good point about the thinner absorption possibly affecting the remainder of the piece. In that situation perhaps you could stain them separately?

Stain the end grains at one point, wait a while for the thinner to evaporate and then continue the staining of the remainder. It would certainly add more time

to the project, but in the end the desired result could be achieved.

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Posted · Report post

Yup you could do that and careful not to slop your stain. Perhaps some masking tape along the top edge for a crisp line. Because one coat of stain over another coat of stain = 2 coats and darker you go. So if I'm staining the top for the first time and the end-grain already has a coat of stain and slop the stain back over the end-grain....oops darker

I like, and this is just me :) burnishing your end-grain with high grit sand paper...not a bad way to go.

-Ace-

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Posted · Report post

Burnishing is the old tried and true method for a lot of us lol!

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Posted · Report post

Hey Don,

A long with " burnishing" another traditional method is to apply a 'Spit coat" of shellac to the edge only, using a small brush or rag, sanding afterwords.

A spit coat is a very weak cut of shellac, probably about a 1/2 lb cut or less.

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