You’ve seen it in furniture stores. You’ve smelled it at the lumberyard. Wood conditioner is a staple of any woodworking shop, and you can find all sorts of brands on store shelves or online.
So why would you want to make your own? It turns out that making your own wood conditioner is not only possible, but it can also be quite easy. Here are a few reasons why you might want to try making your own wood conditioner:
- You can save money. Commercial wood conditioners can be expensive, and if you use it regularly, the cost can add up quickly. Making your own wood conditioner is a great way to save money on this essential woodworking product.
- You can customize the scent. Many commercial wood conditioners have a strong chemical smell that some people find unpleasant. When you make your own wood conditioner, you can choose a scent that is more to your liking.
- You can control the ingredients. If you are concerned about the chemicals in commercial wood conditioners, making your own allows you to use all-natural ingredients that you can feel good about using.
Make Your Own Wood Conditioner
Now that we’ve looked at a few reasons why you might want to make your own wood conditioner, let’s take a look at how to do it. The first step is to gather the following ingredients:
- 1 cup of beeswax
- 1 cup of linseed oil
- 1 cup of turpentine
- A double boiler
Once you have gathered the ingredients, you will need to follow the steps below:
1. Place the ingredients in the double boiler and heat until the beeswax is melted.
2. Remove from heat and stir until all ingredients are combined.
3. Pour into a container and allow to cool completely before using.
4. Apply to wood as desired.
Step by Step Guide
As you can see, making your own wood conditioner is a simple process that anyone can do. To make it further easier, let’s go in-depth with step-by-step instructions as well as some tips.
Beeswax, linseed oil, and turpentine are the main ingredients you’ll need for this project. You can find all of these items at your local hardware store.
Step One: Melt the beeswax.
You can do this by placing the beeswax in a double boiler or in a metal bowl placed on top of a saucepan filled with water. Bring the water to a simmer and stir the beeswax until it has melted.
Step Two: Add the linseed oil and turpentine.
Stir until everything is combined. When adding the turpentine, be sure to do so in a well-ventilated area as the fumes can be strong.
Step Three: Pour the mixture into a container.
Allow it to cool and solidify before using. The wood conditioner can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to six months.
To use, simply apply a thin layer to clean, dry wood with a lint-free cloth. Wipe off any excess and allow the conditioner to soak in for at least an hour before using or finishing the piece.
Step Four: Finish the project.
Sand the wood smooth before applying a finish of your choice.
Making your own wood conditioner is a simple and affordable way to keep your wood projects looking their best. By following these four easy steps, you can create a durable and long-lasting finish that will protect your projects for years to come.
Tips to Keep in Mind
There are a few things to keep in mind when making your own wood conditioner.
- Be sure to use a clean, dry cloth when applying the conditioner.
- Wipe off any excess before allowing it to soak in.
- Be sure to finish the project by sanding the wood smooth and applying a finish of your choice.
- Store the wood conditioner in a cool, dark place for up to six months.
With these tips in mind, you can be sure that your wood projects will turn out looking their best.
What’s The Best Alternative to Wood Conditioner?
Wood conditioner is used to prep wood for staining. It does this by evening out the porosity of the wood, making it more receptive to accepting stain.
Option #01: (Vinegar + Water)
Many commercial wood conditioners are available on the market, but you can also make your own at home. The most common homemade wood conditioner is a mixture of one part vinegar to one part water.
To use this DIY wood conditioner, simply apply it to the wood with a clean cloth and then wipe away any excess. You can also make a larger batch and store it in a spray bottle for easy application.
Option #02: (Beeswax + Mineral Oil)
The next popular homemade wood conditioner is a mixture of beeswax and mineral oil. This option works well for both unfinished and finished wood.
To use, simply melt the beeswax and then mix in an equal amount of mineral oil. Once it’s cooled, apply it to the wood with a clean cloth. You can also store this mixture in a jar for future use.
Option #03: (Linseed Oil + Turpentine)
Another option for a homemade wood conditioner is a mix of linseed oil and turpentine. This mixture works best on unfinished wood.
To use, simply combine equal parts of each ingredient and then apply it to the wood with a clean cloth. Let it sit for about 20 minutes before wiping away any excess.
Option #04: (Olive Oil + Vinegar)
The final homemade wood conditioner option is a mix of olive oil and vinegar. This mixture works well on both unfinished and finished wood.
To use, mix equal parts olive oil and vinegar in a bowl. Then, using a clean cloth, apply the mixture to your wood in a circular motion. Let it sit for five minutes before wiping away any excess with a second clean cloth.
Also: Maple Wood Stain
Is Water a Good Alternative to Wood Conditioner?
Water can be used as an alternative to wood conditioner, but it’s not the best option. Water will raise the grain of the wood, making it more difficult to sand smooth. It can also cause the wood to warp or cup if it’s not properly dried before applying a finish.
For instance, if you’re going to stain the wood, water can cause the stain to blotch and look uneven.
If you do decide to use water as an alternative to wood conditioner, be sure to apply it evenly and allow the wood to completely dry before staining or finishing.
Is Coconut Oil the Best Alternative?
Coconut oil is sometimes used as an alternative to wood conditioner. While it’s a good option for protecting unfinished wood, it can cause problems when used on finished wood.
Coconut oil can darken the finish of finished wood, so it’s not the best option if you’re looking to maintain the original color. It can also leave a greasy residue on the surface of the wood.
If you do decide to use coconut oil as an alternative to wood conditioner, be sure to apply it sparingly and buff away any excess before finishing.
What’s The Best Way to Apply Wood Conditioner?
Follow these tips for the best results:
- Read the label to make sure the product is right for your project.
- Apply a generous amount of wood conditioner to bare, unfinished wood using a natural bristle brush, lint-free cloth, or foam pad.
- Wipe off any excess.
- Let the conditioner soak in for several minutes.
- Remove any excess before staining or sealing.
- Finish by sanding the wood smooth and applying a finish of your choice.
Wood Conditioner vs None at All
So, is a wood conditioner really necessary? The answer depends on the project. For instance, if you’re working with a softwood like pine or cedar, a wood conditioner isn’t always necessary. These woods accept stain evenly without it.
However, if you’re working with hardwood like oak or maple, a wood conditioner is a good idea. Hardwoods have a tendency to absorb stain unevenly, resulting in a blotchy finish. Wood conditioner helps to even out the absorption and gives you a more consistent color.
It’s also a good idea to use wood conditioner on woods that are difficult to sand smooth. Softwoods like pine can be sanded easily, but hardwoods like oak often require a lot of effort to get a smooth finish. Applying wood conditioner before the stain can help to minimize the appearance of any imperfections.
Is Wood Conditioner Necessary for Oak?
While wood conditioner isn’t always necessary, it’s a good idea to use it on oak. Oak is a hardwood that tends to absorb stain unevenly. This can result in a blotchy finish.
Wood conditioner helps to even out the absorption and gives you a more consistent color. It’s also a good idea to use wood conditioner on woods that are difficult to sand smooth. Oak is a hardwood that can be sanded easily, but it often requires a lot of effort to get a smooth finish. Applying wood conditioner before the stain can help to minimize the appearance of any imperfections.
Is Conditioning Wood After Staining a Good Idea?
It’s not a good idea to condition wood after staining. Wood conditioner is designed to be applied before staining. Applying it after the stain has been applied can cause the color to blotch and look uneven.
If you’re not happy with the way the stain looks, sand it off and start over. Be sure to apply the wood conditioner before applying the stain.
Do I Need to Condition Wood Before Painting?
No, you don’t need to condition wood before painting. Wood conditioner is designed for use with stain, not paint. Paint doesn’t penetrate into the wood like stain does, so there’s no need to apply a conditioner beforehand.
The Bottom Line
While there are many alternatives to wood conditioners, the best option is still to use a commercial product designed specifically for prepping wood for staining. These products are designed to evenly saturate the wood and prevent blotching or unevenness. If you’re looking for a natural alternative, beeswax and mineral oil is your best bet. Just be sure to apply it sparingly and buff away any excess before finishing. And if you’re using water as an alternative, be sure to allow the wood to completely dry before staining or finishing.