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TIP: Grain Reversal in Stained Pine

Jun 30, 2016 | Expert's Corner | 0 comments

Pine is often stained to make it resemble a higher quality wood such as walnut, cherry or mahogany. You need to be aware, however, that the staining reverses the grain color, making what was the lighter-colored grain now the darker-colored grain. This happens because the softer, lighter-colored grain absorbs more of the stain than the much harder and denser darker-colored grain.

An example of this is shown in the first accompanying picture. The left side has been finished with a clear finish. The right side has been stained and finished.

The only way to keep this from happening is to spray the stain and not wipe off the excess. The problem is that this is similar to painting and obscures the figure of the pine.

An example is shown in the second picture where the same stain was applied and wiped off the left side and sprayed and not wiped off the right side.

Spraying and not wiping off solves the problem of grain reversal (and also blotching), but it produces an entirely different look.