The old adage is true, even when you’re not “cutting;” it applies to anything you can only do once.
I’m building my first workbench, and wanted to class it up a bit. I have no issue with the look of Douglas Fir 2x4s, but figured it’d look nicer with a darker color. I bought some Verathane water-based tintable stain from Home Depot the other day. The tintable stain is just that – it’s a base to which they add tint to reach the target color; and there’s dozens of colors – normal “wood” colors, but blues and pinks and greens. Wanting something a little more traditional, I got two quarts of “Java Bean.” When I got the quarts from the paint associate, there was a little extra stain circling the top of one of the cans and when I wiped it up, it was gray. “Odd…. maybe that’s just the color of the liquid, and it’ll stain the wood to brown.”
MinWax’s website says “[s]ince wood is a product of nature, it can vary from tree to tree, even in the same wood species. Avoid surprises: first test any stain you are considering on an inconspicuous spot to ensure that the color of the stain—in conjunction with the natural color of the wood – produces the color you desire.” (yes, I know MinWax isn’t Varathane, but I couldn’t find a similar quote on Varathane’s site).
Not trusting the stain I just bought, when I got home I got a scrap of a 2×4 and applied the “stain.” “Hmmm… this isn’t really doing anything.” And as a test, I opened the other quart and applied that stain to another 2×4 scrap. You can see the results.
It would appear HD didn’t apply the required tint to one of the quarts. Less than ideal. Glad I didn’t just trust that it was correct and apply it to my cut pieces. Back to the store. But at least I like the one that was correct!