Unfortunately the master has been a procrastinator lately and Chris has all the face frames built for our bed and I have been MIA on getting them stained
Finally on Tuesday I got to it. I brought out all of our Zar stain to test out
Chris already cut down some samples of cherry for me to test the stains on
The stack on the left is untreated and the stack on the right has been pre-treated with a conditioner to allow the stain to take to the wood more evenly. In the past I've never been impressed with pre-conditioners, but we thought we'd give it another try.
I labeled all the backs with the stain colors
The other marks on the wood indicate if the samples have been pre-conditioned or not (slash for no, wavy line for yes). Then I popped opened all the cans and stained the sample wood. Except for Dark Mahogany
Doh. I guess I never closed it properly after we used it before. The good news is that's the stain that we used for the hutch in the TV room, so we're very familiar with the color
After all the samples got stained with the first coat I set them out to see how things were looking
I wasn't a fan of the top two right off the bat (Provincial on the top left and Chestnut on the top right) but I really liked Early American (bottom left) and Moorish Teak (bottom right). When we were testing stains for the hutch I had really liked Moorish Teak and Chris had really liked Dark Mahogany, so it should really be no surprise that that's a top choice for me again :) And we eventually went with Dark Mahogany because Chris lets me win on so many things that it's definitely fair to let things even out from time to time.
After coat #2 on the samples, here's how things developed
Before we talk about what stain I like the best, let's talk about the weird finish you get on the pr-conditioned pieces. Between each coat of stain it's necessary to give the wood a light sanding. But look at how much it highlights the area that got sanded the most
Of course it's most desirable to give a perfect, even sanding, but that's basically impossible. There are always going to be areas that get a little more sanding than others because it's impossible to give the exact same pressure everywhere all the time. And it would suck to have all the imperfections in sanding highlighted. After coat 1 of the stain the pre-conditioned pieces of wood were looking a lot better, but after coat 2 I like the pieces of wood that weren't pre-conditioned better.
Now, that aside, I'm unsure of which stain I like the best. Though I do love Moorish Teak (the darkest stain) I think it might just be too dark for a bed. The bed will be large and I'm afraid it will just suck the life out of the room. I wasn't a fan of Provincial on the top left, but now I think I'm liking it a lot more
I'm still not a fan of Chestnut (the top right stain). So it looks like it might be between the two left samples: Provincial and Early American
Good thing those are the two Chris likes best too.
Which one is your favorite? Got any advice about the pre-conditioner?