Flexner on Finishing: Battling Blotching

Forget wood conditioner and go for gel stain.
By Bob Flexner
Pages: 94-95

From the April 2004 issue #140
Buy this issue now

You’ve heard me say this before, and I’m sure you’ll hear me say it again: The worst single thing that can happen in wood finishing is blotching – that is, uneven stain coloration caused by uneven densities in the wood. Blotching is the only problem that can’t be fixed even by stripping and starting over; you have to sand or plane off as much as 1⁄32″ of wood to get below the dark areas.

In woods such as pine, spruce, fir, aspen, poplar and alder, blotching is almost always quite ugly. In woods such as cherry, birch and soft maple, blotching is usually ugly but can be attractive. In woods such as walnut, curly maple, bird’s eye maple and most burls, blotching is usually very attractive. Woods such as oak, ash and mahogany don’t tend to blotch.

From the April 2004 issue #140
Buy this issue now