Asked on Jan 14, 2016

Staining wood- what to use instead of conditioner?

What can you use if you don't have conditioner before you stain?
  6 answers
  • 117135 117135 on Jan 14, 2016
    Here is a link to make your own if you have any of these on hand.
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Jan 14, 2016
    I don't use conditioner on all wood just certain types of wood like pine,cedar, fir ect. Because it is a soft wood it grabs unevenly, it takes stain unevenly. The conditioner helps give it a even stain. I don't use conditioner on hard woods because I have never had a problem
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Jan 14, 2016
    I recently read a post regarding pretreatment of wood prior to staining and they only used water - sponged on and wiped off followed by staining. I did do this on my last piece and it worked fine, but I was working on maple.
  • Louis Lieberman Louis Lieberman on Jan 15, 2016
    u put the stain on before the condiitioner- i use thinned out boiled linseed oil followed by very thin laquer- when dry a light sanding &then a thin topcoat to protect it.
  • the point is to get the wood to absorb the liquid so that when you lay down your stain, there isn't one spot that absorbs more than another spot. A conditioner is like a very light sealer. I condition any wood that I stain. Maple, pine, fir, or any soft wood, will be blotchy without conditioning. You can use water but if you are using an oil based stain, then I would switch to a water based stain. (don't soak it) just know that water will raise the grain and you will have to give it a light sanding before applying the stain. see pics for what it would look like... I've used both Pre-Stain from Minwax and another one called pre-stain conditioner. They both work fine. Check the can for what type of stain to use with that particular conditioner. Sometimes using the conditioner will result in the stain being a lighter color. If that's an issue, then you might want to pick a darker shade. You could also thin some shellac with denatured alcohol and use that for a conditioner.
  • Taffetal Taffetal on Jan 15, 2016
    Nooo . . . you do not put a "conditioner" on raw wood if you want to stain it. The wood needs to absorb the stain. The second step is to use wax, polyurethane or whatever. Some stains have a sealer mixed in with it.
    • @Taffeta yes it is customary to "condition' first. Sometimes certain woods absorb the stain unevenly and that causes blotchiness. Raw wood will still absorb the stain but will do so evenly because the drier parts have already absorbed some of the conditioner. Not every wood needs a conditioner. Just those with higher sap content, maybe? Like pine? I've found that maple and doug fir get very blotchy without using conditioners. And stay away from stain/sealer combos.