How good will my end product be if I stain it in cold weather? I'm about to stain an armoire made of pine and I keep it in my garage/shop, temps. in there overnight can reach below freezing point, is there a different kind of stain that can withstand cold temps. and still come out nice?
Thanks to all.
The cold is really not an issue. Its the moisture content of the timber. I assume it sitting on a garage concrete floor. If your shop doesnt stay at a fairly constant temp with a lower humidity level your pine is like a sponge. The closest part to the floor should have a higher moisture content. So the pieces thin pieces or botom section will not take stain like the more dry parts. I would suggest moving it into the house for about two weeks prior to staining. You dont have to stain it in the house you just have to dry it. Ideally the content should be about 6 percent but up to 9 is fairly common. If you do alot of WW I would also suggest a cheap moisture meter just to get a general idea of what is really happening around your shop. The cheap little meters are a great way to put a end to timber damage (cupping and warping).
Firstly, once a stain (or any finish) has been frozen, it's no good. There is a very good reason why most manufactures print recommended temperatures for applying their products, I always advise that those instructions be followed. As a rule I never apply any type of finish below 60.
I'd highly suggest that you get an electric space heater or apply the stain indoors....
The cold is very much an issue. Ive finished in cold weather before and the main problem i run into is drying time. Its going to take much longer before you can apply the next coat. You could put a little heater in your shop, or stain it then bring in the heated part of the house. Give it a litte time before you bring it in so the fumes arent so bad.
Actually "staining" can be done in the cold. Finishing cannot. Stain must be applied to lumber dried to a content of moisture less than 9 percent. To high of moisture affect absortion and causes blotches.
Finish however (poly and other plastics) need heat to evaporate at the right speed to eliminate problems. Shellac on the other hand can be used when its very cold out it may take longer to dry but it doesnt sound like production time is the issue. As stated above in Dons post moisture is actually the key to staining. If you wait for the spring thaw you may never get it done.
Staining Pine? Have you had success in staining pine before? I find staining pine to be more trouble than it's worth (i.e. prestain conditioner then follow with a gel stain) in that pine is tends to suffer the blotchies. If I'm looking for a darker color I apply a few coats of dewaxed garnet shellac, with a small amount of transtint medium brown analine dye added. The shellac is a film finish and works well on blotchy woods, besides it works very well in cold weather. In any case, follow the manufactures directions for the stain you are using and most important TRY YOUR COMPLETE FINISHING SEQUENCE ON SCRAP FIRST !!!!!