This woodworker is trying to evenly stain a piece that involves a lot of end grain. Are there any methods for giving this an even look?
Michael Dresdner: There are many methods. Here’s a fairly common one. First, sand the wood uniformly up to 180 or 220 grit garnet paper (yes, garnet is important in this case.) Take dewaxed shellac (made from flakes) or buy Zinsser SealCoat, which is about a 2 lb. cut (25% solids) of dewaxed shellac. Flood it onto the wood using fineScotch Brite ® or a rag as your applicator, and IMMEDIATELY wipe it all off while it is still wet. This will allow the copious amounts of shellac to flood into the end grain areas and fill them, but prevent you from oversealing the flat grain areas. Let the shellac or SealCoat® dry several hours or overnight. Lightly scuff sand it if it is rough, using 400 grit or finer self lubricated paper, but sand VERY LIGHTLY. Don’t sand hard enough to remove the thin layer of shellac you’ve just applied. Choose a stain that contains only pigment — no dye — and wipe it on and off the lightly sealed wood. It should give you an even, albeit somewhat weak, color.