What Can I Use As A Wood Conditioner Before Staining?

Staining wood for giving it a final touch is indeed a significant thing in the world of making wooden furniture and stuff. The stain has to be nice, polished, and perfect. But, for a stunning finish of the stain, using a good wood conditioner is a must.

But, did you know there are few easily available products that work as wood conditioners?

So, if you want to know what you can use as a wood conditioner before staining, without further ado, let’s get into it.

How Does A Wood Conditioner Work?

A wood conditioner acts as a thin layer on a piece of wood that protects it from initial stains. This layer is applied to a piece of wood before the staining process begins. In most cases, woods like elm, pine, far, and other softwoods stop being attractive after a while because they have irregular unwanted stains and patches around them. It is a wood conditioner that prevents it from losing brightness quickly.

The wood conditioner creates a flat layer that holds the stain so that it is absorbed into the woods and stays polished and new for a long time. However, it is still used in most softwoods; some hardwoods require a wood conditioner for a better finish. Wood conditioner not only improves the texture of wood furniture but also gives it a long life as well as improves its quality.

What Can You Use Instead Of A Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner?

Wood conditioning is a vital step to prevent every carpenter, woodworker, and DIYer from staining their wood here and there.

The formula for making an alternative wood conditioner is no obstacle as long as you have all the components in your home. There are many options for making your handmade wood conditioner. Let’s take a look at them.

  1. Shellac+ Denatured alcohol: You can mix an equal amount of shellac and denatured alcohol as an alternative to a conventional wood conditioner.
  2. Lacquer+ Lacquer thinner: Mix one portion of lacquer and three portions of lacquer thinner, and your homemade wood conditioner is ready.
  3. Polyurethane+ Mineral spirit: Blend these two in a 1:2 ratio, and you are good to go. This recipe is arguably the nearest to the traditional wood conditioner. 
  4. Varnish+ Mineral spirit/ turpentine: You can blend varnish with any of these two options and get an alternative for the actual pre-stain wood conditioner.

Here’s a quick two-component wood conditioner recipe for all DIYers who are looking for a more sustainable way to create a wood conditioner at home.

Vegetable / Canola / Olive Oil (3/4 cup) + Apple Cider / White Vinegar (1/4 cup)

Mix these two in a large pot and apply the recipe using a cloth or brush before staining your wood.

These are just some of the goal-setting shareware that you can use. Those who do not have a wood conditioner at home or want to try something new must try these formulas. Your wood will shine and won’t get patchy in the long run if you try out these formulas for sure.

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Kevin Nelson

I will always have a special place in my heart for woodworking. I have such fond memories working on projects with my parents on the weekends in the garage growing up. We built tables, shelves, a backyard shed, 10' base for a water slide into the pool, 2 story fort playhouse with a fire pole, and so much more. This woodworking blog allows me to write helpful articles so others can enjoy woodworking as much as we have.

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