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Hi All,
I'm a general Contractor and my painter and cabinet manufacturer have had problems in the past staining birch cabinets.
In fact my painter hates it when the client specs out birch. It seems no matter what preparation he does, the stain wants to go on blotchy. The last time he had to strip down the cabinets and re-stain and they turned out fine the second time, (for no apparent reason). But you don't really know what you're going to get until it's done.
He tried using top of the line conditioners, applied very heavily, and very lightly. Still having the same problem. Right now he's doing samples for the client to make stain selections but we're both afraid of what might happen when we get to the real deal. The samples are not good.
Has anyone had issues like this and what might the solution be?
Thank You
 

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That's strange. Usually a quality conditioner will solve the problem with the softer woods. I use the Dalys line. Is he sanding them down prior to applying the conditioner?
 

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blotchy birch

Thanks researchhound. My cabinet guy sands the cabinets numerous times prior to delivery. I'll check on the Daly brand. I'm sure there's a simple solution. I've seen some beautiful birch finished products.
 

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I've never had a problem with birch. Maple is more difficult.

Condition the wood first. Or use a washcoat. Or start with a dye.

Use "professional" stains - that means don't use minwax. Application methods will determine the final result. Toning helps even out the colour, even if it at first appears blotchy. Follow the manufacturers directions if you want to try toning (i.e. don't try to intermix incompatible products, or blotching may be the least of your concerns).

Your cabinetmaker should know how to do this, or know someone who does.
 

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That's strange. Usually a quality conditioner will solve the problem with the softer woods. I use the Dalys line. Is he sanding them down prior to applying the conditioner?
Birch is one of those odd woods that is hard and dense, but stains blotchy. Overstaining works best.
Sorry - my bad. I spaced out there a bit. I have conditioning and staining fir on the brain today.
 

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Imo wood has natural grain that takes stain differently. Last job I was on the GC was was staining some pine and the rosets got dark cause of the end grain the way it's cut. They didn't like the way it looked and had me prime over and paint it. People want the wood to look consistent like laminate. I like wood with different shades. I think it gives it more character.
 

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on woods such as birch and pine that tend to blotch, I prep by gradually going to super-fine(600) grit paper and then use a QUALITY pre-stain. this will help immensly to get the high end finish ur looking for:)
 

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Never had a problem when I've used a wood conditioner and then stained birch. I've been asked to look at problem jobs as described in and around my area and what I have noticed the majority of the time was that too much time had passed between the actual conditioning and the staining. By the time they get towards the end of the staining, they've exceeded the re-coat/stain time window. If you stay within the recommended time-lines on the directions you shouldn't run into problems.
 

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All Hardwoods with closed grains such as Cherry,Birch,Maple should have a wash coat of shellac prior to staining.If you do not do this you will get uneven finishes. the purpose of a wash coat is to even out the porosity of the wood prior to staining.

for a wash coat you need to take your shellac made from a 4 pound cut.
4:1 ( 4 pounds shellac resin into 1 gallon methyl hydrate)

and thin it further to make a wash coat a ratio of 6:1
6:1 (6 parts methyl hydrate into the 1 part shellac you made above)


this is the proper formula to make a wash coat prior to staining the above woods.
 

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Blotchy Birch Info. / Resource

I have recently found Charles Neil Woodworking and his pre stain conditioner treatment. Product worked as advertised and it worked as shown on his video demonstration.

This was on both Cabinet birch and some 7 ply Baltic Birch that I applied the pre satin conditioner. Then applied a clear poly over top, no staining. Worked well and better results I felt than a sanding sealer type of treatment. Did the 2 coat process prior to application of the Poly top coat.

This also worked excellent on Poplar trim pieces prior to a water based stain. Controlled blotching well then clear Lacquer on top. Seems pretty fool proof and worked well in both cases.
 
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