Pine Picture Frame - What did I miss when staining?

Posted by Bruce Dean on

So what is it about woodworking we like so much, and yet, hate, well not hate but frustrates us.

You know, pull out that chunk of maple, no wait the walnut looks great, oooh what about the hickory? or that knotty pine standing in the corner. Yeah......Then you start thinking what can I make today? ......... That my wife won't ask, what is it? Where are we going to put that? Why would you do that, when the leaves need to be picked up!

Sorry, I lost track there for a minute.

For me it was that Pine frame I was working on, I was placing a piece of tanned leather in the frame with a darker hide in the centre and wanted the frame to be a little darker (to match the hide). I would get it sanded and cleaned ready for stain, and then, wham, it would not look how I pictured it would look. It seems the grain would completely change on me, the colour contrast seemed, off, it wasn't uniform very blotchy.

So build another frame..... oh and this time try staining a couple of small pieces to see what it would look like, yep, same look as before blotchy, not uniform and well not very pretty.

So off to the big box store to ask some nice person behind a counter, what did I do wrong? What did I miss? Well after some discussion and a little research I found that those manufacturers of stain really do have some knowledge on their product(s).

The one I tried, and so far has worked well for me is Minwax you can get more info @

Tip; when staining pine (or any bare softwood) it is best to use a pre-stain wood conditioner. After I did this as recommended - a much better result, and a happy client.


Thanks for listening!

Happy Staining Everyone.