To stain or not to stain, that is the question

One of the first things I built was a Colorado flags made out of pallets for a friend.  As far as states go, Colorado has an above average amount of pride (Texas being the maximum of course).  Made of mostly transplanted people from all over the U.S., Denver anyway, the state consists of rugged individualistic explorers who pride themselves on the adventures they conquer, whether they be mountains, rivers, slopes or otherwise.  The flag is simple, but boasts of the adventurous individualism which settled this rugged land.

The flag, simple.  The pallets, free.  The plan, straightforward.  I built my first one and made the mistake of staging it on my own wall for pictures and to make sure it actually hung (you know what I am talking about).  The wife came home and loved it.  Loved it so much, it is still hanging in the same place I hung it that day.  Now, I had to build another one.  And if you must build another one, you should build as many as you can.

I set out and built three more with the clear intention to give one to my friend.  I ended up selling all three to people leaving the state who wanted something to mark their time in the rugged state of Colorado.  Welp, now I have to build another one to give to him.

This time, I used the wider bottom planks from the pallets.  The wider planks made construction go quickly and it also provided a larger surface to play with.  Instead of cutting a different piece of wood and placing it on top, I wanted to mess with the idea of cutting into the flag.

Cutting perfect circles is … let’s say … difficult at best.  To score these cuts I had to come up with a way.  I made this router “spoon” to move the router around the wood in a perfect circle.


Upsides: cheap, easy to make and use.

Downsides: the need to drill a screw in the pivot point.


After cutting the design into the wood, I played with the idea of staining the wood instead of painting it.  Inspiration found here.

So, stain or not to stain.  To STAIN!  Here is the line up:

Problem numbero uno: pallet wood is super dry and stain tends to soak in and go everywhere.  It is difficult to control.  To combat the wood’s thirstiness, I used wood conditioner.  This helps slakes the wood’s desire to suck up everything on it, in it and near it like an uncontrollable vacuum.  People do this everyday and I think it is some kind of voodoo magic because it never works for me.  Never.  Don’t believe me?  Check out my friends map of the world over at Artifact of Grace (they do good work!).


After conditioning the wood, I taped off the blue stain areas and jumped right in.  Knowing the danger of bleeding, I bought and used the most expensive blue tape I could find: 3M’s Edgelock.


The two punch combo of tape and wood conditioner did as well as I expected, not perfectly.  The outside the lines bleeding was helped out by the unevenness of the pallet wood even though I threw the best I could at it.  I tried and it looks good from across the room and under club lights, but up close she doesn’t look so pretty.


To finish it up, the scorelines got a bit of dark stain to make the lines blend in.

I took a poll of my best customers (read: wife and her good friends) and they decided I should white pickle the white part instead of leaving it natural wood.  Look to future posts for what that looks like.

W3_Stained CO copy

The danger now is, do I hang it and face the danger of not being able to take it down?

This entry was published on May 14, 2014 at 9:25 pm. It’s filed under Construction and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “To stain or not to stain, that is the question

  1. Thanks for the shout-out Eric!! 🙂

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