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Charles Neil Wood Conditioner

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Wood conditioner, pre-stain, pre-color conditioner, blotch control they all are the same thing but they certainly don’t work the same. I am by no means an expert when it comes to finishing wood, I wouldn’t even say I am any good but when I finish I take as much time as needed so that I don’t ruin all the fun and hard work that I already put into the build. So far….most everything has come out looking pretty good!

Have been working on my first commissioned project, a set of cabinets for DVDs and Blue-Ray discs, that have a mixture of different pine woods in them. Didn’t really think this would be an issue with the stain absorbing differently but after a few samples I thought the overall product would be much more appealing if it had a more uniform, less blotchy, look. Showed the samples to the client and he agreed. Off to google….

Shellac?
Read a LOT about people diluting de-waxed shellac 50/50 with denatured alcohol and pre-treating the wood, there is a great video (HERE) about this process posted my Marc from the wood whisperer. When a little extra time comes around I will probably test out this method, along with a few other ideas that have sprung up, to see how it works.

Charles Neil
BUT based on a glowing review by Marc and many others I decided to give the conditioner that is offered by Charles Neil a try. It is his own personal concoction and only available from his website store and its not cheep but its worth it!! I am not a guy that laughs very often but I was giggling like a child when I put the stain on after conditioning with this blotch control, it was not even comparable. Apparently it is a glue size formula….PVA glue watered way down, but in this case Charles has perfected the formula to a point that it still absorbs stain but evenly, amazing!


Below are several pictures with different types of conditioner and types of polyurethane.
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This is a piece of white pine with no conditioning at all. Red Mahogany Minwax stain.
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This is a piece of white pine with two coats of Minwax pre-sain conditioner. Red Mahogany Minwax stain.
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This is a piece of white pine. Conditioned with two coats of Charles Neil blotch control. Red mahogany Minwas stain. A coat of danish oil on the left side, none on the right. And two coats of polyurethane.
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This is a piece of radiata pine. No conditioner of any kind on the top. Two coats of Minwax pre-stain on the bottom. Red mahogany Minwas stain on the whole piece.
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This is a piece of radiata pine. Two coats of Charles Neil blotch control. Red mahogany Minwax stain. A coat of danish oil on the left, none on the right. And two brushed coats of polyurethane.
The pictures don’t do the actual finish justice but it still shows there is a pretty big improvement.

I was suspect that the danish oil would rub off the stain, this being that the conditioner is water based and the stain oil based, but I am a fan of danish oil so I wanted to see how it worked.

For finishing blotch susceptible wood I will have to prove that there is anything better but at the moment, and based off others reviews, this is the one to rule them all! Probably wont use on every pine project since its so expensive but when you want to put an item on display it will probably do you good to condition it first with Charles Neil Blotch Control.

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