Minimizing grain on fir

Old 07-13-02, 06:07 PM
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Minimizing grain on fir

Help! This isn't a refinishing question as much as a finishing of new wood question, but I'm still hoping folks on this board can help. I am building false (hollow) mantle beams into our italian country-themed dining room. We are trying to get a medium-reddish-brown stained look often seen in that style. I am working with clear 1x6 fir, I think it's douglas fir. I am following these steps: sanding (80-120-220 grits), conditioning (Minwax pre-stain conditioner), then 2 coats of Minwax Polyshades satin in old maple. I have also tried using Zar oil stain in cherry, but haven't gone to the finishing stage with that yet. The problem is, after a few test boards, the grain is very pronounced. I get high contrast light and dark areas, looking something like long zebra stripes. Not really what we're going for. Did I get the wrong type of wood? Is the conditioner not being absorbed enough? Do I need more stain coats? Is there anything else I should do to minimize the contrast?
Old 07-13-02, 06:27 PM
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You left out one step I would have used - a clear coat of poly after the conditioner and before the polyshades. That would have helped the polyshades color more evenly.

Let's face it, though - Doug Fir and Hemlock Fir both have rather pronounced grain. Basswood or poplar would have a been a better (though more expensive) choice for the uniformity of color you're after.

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