How to Apply Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner

In case you do not know what it is, this solution acts just like a primer, but for stains. Wood grains typically absorb stains in an unevenly-distributed manner, especially when you use porous wood.

This issue can be resolved with the use of a wood conditioner to stabilize the grain and result in a gorgeous, even finish.

Types of Wood Conditioners

  • Oil-based

This product is used with oil-based stains. Apply this in an open and well-ventilated area since this type of wood conditioner has more volatile organic compounds. Use a foam brush that you can dispose of once done for easier cleanup.

  • Water-based

This is the most recommended conditioner for use with water-based stains. One big plus of using a water-based pre-stain wood conditioner is that it is easy to clean up with water and soap. On top of that, it does not make harmful fumes or strong smells.

  • Shellac

Dewaxed shellac or sanding sealer doubles as a finish and wood conditioner. For the latter, dilute it with denatured alcohol unless you have a trickier wood species that calls for its full strength.

  • DIY

The tannins found in tea and coffee make these liquids great for use as a wood conditioner in a pinch. Only use them for water-based stains. You may also create a solution out of wood glue, water, and a water-based finish.

Steps on Using Wood Conditioner

1. Sand

Use 180-grit sandpaper to smooth the wood. Always do this with the grain and in an even manner.

2. Fill in imperfections

Fix dents and holes with wood putty or wood filler. Always get stainable products for this.

3. Clean

Ensure that the wood is dustless and clean by wiping it with a tack cloth.

4. Apply the pre-stain

Apply pre-stain conditioner with a foam brush or rag.

5. Wait

Let it sit for five minutes before wiping away excess pre-stain.

6. Apply the stain

Consult the stain can to see the recommended time of application. Once ready, apply the color with a brush and rag before letting it soak in.

7. Wait and clean

After a few minutes, wipe away any excess stains.

8. Add topcoat

Apply a clear topcoat for protection from moisture.

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