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Dustijam

How to show the grain on pine

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The attached photo is a sample of a pine finish that really makes the grain stand out.  I have been blowing my brains out trying to duplicate that affect.  All my tries with gel, dye to oil stains come out way too dark masking the grain.  There is likely a simple method to this, but being a simple guy, I can not for the world figure it out.

Thus, I beg for help from the forum mavens. (Not concerned with the blotchiness) 

Thank you!

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Are you wiping off the excess stain after applying it? Here is General Finishes gel stain, I think Antique Walnut is the color, on pine. One coat wiped on generously with a rag, then excess wiped/buffed off after 10-15min. 

Color stain in your pic is much darker, but similar effect. Pictures of your attempts may give some additional insight into what you could do differently.

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Some pictures of you "failed" attempts might help us help you.

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On the first board to the left I got the most success using Old Masters Walnut Gel, but it is too light.  Also pretty good is the next which is SamaN water based stain Cognac.  But the next two both Minwax their Special Walnut oil stain and their Coffee gel stain - both are horrible.  I can not figure out why I can get a grain look on one then another totally obscures.  I used similar procedures on all four (and I have done others) wipe on, let sit a few minutes then wipe the excess off.

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The effect you seek is sometimes called 'grain reversal'. It appears most prominently in species with large density differences in the early and late growth, such as Souther Yellow Pine. 

The most effective method in my experience is with liquid stains, not gel. Flood on heavily and wipe back quickly.

Beware that all colors from the same mfg. may have different formulations, not just different pigments. The ratio and type of carriers and solvents influence how each color is absorbed.

You might enhance the effect with carefull application of fine sandpaper once the stain dries.

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lewisc beat me to it.  I was going to suggest a light charring followed by sanding or scraping and a clear coat.

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Sorry to be late to the party, but I was looking at the current issue of Wood magazine this evening, and noticed a short blurb about a product that, based on the picture that went with the blurb, seems like it might get you the look you're after.  It's called Varathane Charred Wood Accelerator.  Might be worth investigating.

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I wonder if that works like ammonium chloride 'scorching'? As I recall, application of mild heat is necessary to facilitate the chemical reaction in that method.

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From what I've read, with the ammonium chloride method, the heat breaks the ammonium chloride down into ammonia gas and hydrochloric acid, and the acid actually burns the wood.  The info I've been able to find on the Varathane product says it "reacts with the tannins in the wood" to create the scorched look - no heat required.  It also seems that with the Varathane product, you can reverse (or maybe just reduce) the scorching by wiping with bleach - so it sounds like it's a different sort of chemical process.

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Somewhat of a newby here but I could really use some advice from some of you pros. Building a small bookcase for my grandson. Purchased some better quality pine (looked it anyway). Saw article in Popular Woodworking on finishing pine with water based dye. Had never used before. Followed the instructions. Sanded to 220 g. Raised the grain and resanded. Applied water based sanding sealer. 2 coats (apply/wait /wipe off) 400 gr sand. Applied water based dye and look is horrible! Not uniform at all. Horribly splotchy. Not glue marks. Should I have skipped the sanding sealer? Is the project salvageable? Will try to add pic but I am not computer savvy.

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Products labeled 'dye' are intended to penetrate the wood, more so than 'stain'. The sanding sealer might be affecting absorption in a negative way.

My suggestion is to sand back to bare wood. Sand to 320, even higher on any exposed end grain. Raise grain & repeat final grit. The finer sanding will reduce absorption, giving you more control. Flood the surface evenly with dye, foam brushes or spray is usually a good method. Wipe it back (with the grain) before it starts to dry, typically after just a couple of minutes. The result will probably be lighter than your target color, but multiple coats allow better control of the final result.

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12 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

Wipe it back (with the grain) before it starts to dry,

That is the answer...

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