Charles Neil's Pre-Color Conditioner

Over 1,500,000 square feet of Wood Conditioned!

Easy to Apply.  Wipe On - Wipe Off - Dry - Lightly Sand - Wipe On - Wipe Off - Dry!  One quart is enough for 50 square feet of coverage the recommended two coats application.  

Woodworkers Photo Gallery of Results using Charles Neil's Pre-Color Conditioner

Pre-Color Conditoner FAQ (in pdf format)  updated 7/10/13 

If you have questions, email




Used the blotch control and love the results. My problem is that I have sanding swirl marks I noticed after staining, and now have to sand off stain to redo the pine top. Do I have to redo the blotch control, Charles?
Thanks, Rick

June 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRick

We're using on the 8th quart of Pre-Color Conditioner for GF gel staining all the craftsman style pine baseboards and door casings in all the living areas of a new 3000 SF home. It worked great!

We didn't exactly follow the instructions after the test pieces. There were 3 different pine sources with one taking stain much more readily than the other two. So we conditioned those from that source twice and the others only once. This gave us about the same shade on everything after a single coat of stain. This worked quite well, with less time and cost than 2 coats of conditioner everywhere and multiple coats of stain on most of the surfaces (the other option). What little blotching there was after a single coat was able to be cut out as pieces were selected for the various lengths needed.

If I were using all the same wood and didn't want to work around splotches, 2 coats would have been the correct choice, as Charles recommends. I'm buying 1 more quart to finish this project and will use this product again on all my future pine projects. Cheers.

August 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Swatek

I really like it for wood such as pine and poplar but I think it washes out the color on cherry. I have not tried it on maple yet.

July 30, 2013 | Registered CommenterKen Carpenter

WOW...I finished my latest project today and used the Pre-Color conditioner, it was great. In the past I would never build using woods known for blotching, but a family member ask me to build a chest of drawers and did not want to spend a lot of money on the type of wood I would normally use. I had some Poplar in the shop and remembered seeing your conditioner online and thought this would be a great time to try it. I was very pleased, this is the first time I stained Poplar and liked the results.



July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRonnie C

This stuff is great! Even a newbie can use it.

The only downside is that you'll have to strengthen your dye/ water mix if you want a dark color.


Paul Vickerman

July 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Vickerman

I am making a 32" Lazy Susan for my wife's entertaining out of Alaskan Yellow Cedar. There is a variation in grain from board to board so I thought to try CNW Pre-Color Conditioner. I did a sample board first and used the Conditioner only on one-half. Followed that the next day with a water-based dye. There was a huge difference between the two sides. The non-conditioned side showed a lot of blotching, but the conditioned side did not. Way to go, Charles!

July 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterForrest Bonner

Charles I just got done using your blotch control for the first time. All I can say is THANK YOU. I am building a new bathroom vanity for a co-worker and cost is an issue so I used poplar instead of a finer wood. Anyway I was worried because I have never had good luck with poplar and stains. I found a review for your product and gave it a try. It worked great! Thanks again for your dedication to the craft.

Steve Novak

July 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Works great. I used it on maple cabinets and the end result was beautiful color, consistent throughout.

July 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

I have indeed used the pre conditioner on my cherry kitchen cabinets. It performed exactly as promoted and I'm very pleased with the consistency of the staining component allowing the wood's beautiful grain characteristics to be revealed. I recently ordered a new supply in order to finish the project. I intend to use it in future as part of my finishing process.

I have recommend this product to others involved in finishing wood products without any qualms.

One Happy Customer

July 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrian G.

Great product. Use it all the time, especially on cherry. Wish I had known about it sooner.

July 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. Tice

My customers brought me a 100+ year old English hall mirror (veneered) and needless to say it was beat. After removing the years of dirt and original finishes, (piece was sentimental, not valuable enough to keep patina) I was scared that there would be no way for me to properly stain this piece. The age and condition of the veneer was at the brink of "just toss it and start over".
The first coat of stain was so terrible it looked like I shot it with a paintball gun.

I removed it, put on two coats of Charles Blotch control and followed his instructions....


Perfect, the piece stained out and finished like new wood.

I will never finish another inch of wood without this product.

July 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterT.S. Hauk

Being new to woodworking I did not know any of the myriad problems that could happen when I tried to finish my masterpieces.

This stuff works for me so I won’t be having the kinds of problems that I now know might happen until I got many years of experience.

Thanks for this good “stuff”.

July 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom

I recently purchased and used your pre-conditioner product (within the last few weeks). It worked great! No blotching on cherry at all. I used both, dye and oil stain, on two pieces of cherry furniture, and not blotching at all. What I have noticed is that it's important to put the pre-conditioner on the sample pieces to test the dye and/or stain colors. Not only does the pre-conditioner lighten the color compared to the wood not conditioned, but it also can slightly change the color. I learned quickly to always precondition my sample boards so I know exactly what the final color will look like. I also noticed that the pre-conditioner will decrease the level of direction of the wood compared to the boards not pre-conditioned. It's a trade off. No blotching, but a decrease in the depth/direction (I think it's also called chatoyance) of the wood. I don't think there's anything I can do about that since, just by the nature of what causes the depth/direction/chatoyance, it would be decreased by the pre-conditioner as it also removes the blotching.

I like the product. I've been building furniture as a hobby for 25 years and I've never seen a product completely remove blotching on wood, and do it so easily.

July 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDon Y.

I have used the Pre-Color Conditioner with great results! I am attaching pictures (in gallery above) of two of the projects -- Both are made of Cherry. The Drop Leaf Dining Table was made by the Virginia furniture company, Clore. I refinished this table for a friend--it had a large water spot that had been on the table for many years. I removed the finish and sanded it down to the bare wood. I was left with two 'pucker factors'. First was to match the original stain and the second to coat with urethane to a like-new finish. Of course, my big concern was the potential blotching! I used your product closely following the directions! The stain went on without any blotching! Yeah!!! Thanks to the product formulation!! The other table was made from scrap pieces of cherry (primarily from a leftover cherry panel cabinet door). Again--no indication of blotching!

As for the finish coat--I used the wipe on urethane product from Arm-R-Seal. Great results!

July 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharles B.

I have tried every blotch control method out there. Bottom line is, his out performs them all.

Eric Reason

July 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterEric Reason

A friend wanted an octagon poker table. I picked out some exotic woods, but he choked on the price. So I got some 8 quarter poplar, green stripes and all. Routed some slots for the chips, which were totally end grain. The end result is indistinguishable from cherry and the green stripes are invisible.
Also got some poplar handrails from the box store for the basement project. It was finger jointed and VERY noticeable, same result. You can't find the joints.
I was afraid to start some projects because of the finishing issues, not anymore.
Thanks Charles, this stuff is great.
Works a lot better than Tuna Oil'll have to ask Charles about that.

July 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterWilliam Wayland

I volunteered to refinish a high-end cherry drop leaf dining table for a friend. Wanting to provide a finish equal to the quality of this table, I tested a number of wash coat products that did not produce an acceptable end-result. I came across Charles Neil's Pre-Color Conditioner--IT WORKS!! The refinished table has been returned to my friends home along with very happy friends. I have since used this blotch control formula on other cherry furniture and have recommended it to other woodworkers. Thanks Charles Neil for making this product available to us weekend saw-dust makers!

July 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCeB

I have used the product on different projects and I really like the way it works. If you follow the video the way Charles tells you to you can't make a mistake. I know when I run out of it I will surely buy more, great stuff. Thank you.

July 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRon Stryker

I've been applying finishes to furniture as a professional for a decade now and have learned many techniques during that time. Preventing blotch is something I've gotten good at doing but it's always been a touchy and time-consuming process involving the use of thinned shellac. Shellac works well but getting the right amount applied evenly across the entire piece is not always easy.

Customers are always requesting dark finishes on woods such as polar, maple and cherry and those woods are very prone to blotching. When we were hired to build the cabinetry for a wine bar, I decided to try out Neil's Blotch Control because based upon good reviews that I'd seen. I was hoping to find something that would be easier to apply evenly than shellac.

This product performed as I'd hoped. The stain went on smoothly over the Blotch Control and every woodworker that saw them was impressed with how even the color was. I will add that I still prefer using shellac on the end grain but for everything else, Blotch Control is easier and faster to use.

Thanks for putting out a great product. We now keep this product stocked in our finishing cabinet.

July 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJacob Aune

I am replacing old baseboards in our house as we go through each room and update them. Used major brand pre-stain with very mixed results. Color would shift plus the results were blotchy. Better than nothing, but not very consistent.

Ordered Charles pre-stain and did 3 test boards using nothing, old pre-stain and Charles pre-stain. Charles pre-stain looked so good the wife would not let me even put on the final coat of finish! It was amazing how good it came out. Color is much more consistent and grain of wood is still there, but blotching is almost gone. I will definitely make this part of all my stained projects from now on. Great product!

July 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRandy

I would have to say that I genuinely love this conditioner! I also found that my local Woodcraft store had some on the shelf so another plus!! Thanks to Charles for coming up with this formula or at least marketing it. I am a weekend woodworker (software engineer by trade) and someone who absolutely HATES to come up with a finishing plan. His conditioner takes some of the pain and frustration way!

July 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Used the conditioner on an unfinished pine door for my bathroom. Worked fantastic-no blotching whatsoever! Door looks fantastic! Highly recommended product!

July 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

I was able to use the product with good success on a 60+ year old pine floor in our kitchen. We were able to salvage the original flooring during our kitchen remodel and used the pre-stain conditioner on the entire floor as directed and the results were great. There is no visible blotching at all. The only issue we had was that the pre-stain quite drastically limited the amount of stain the wood floor would absorb which made color matching more difficult. The first coat of stain turned out much much lighter than we anticipated. We then mixed a few different varieties of Min-wax stains to get the desired color and delicately applied a second coat followed by two coats of poly. I really enjoy carpentry and woodworking as a hobby and plan to use this pre-stain on any projects that could benefit from it.

CNW Note: We've had great success on flooring as well and in fact have a couple of flooring companies who use the product regularly. We would like to take the opportunity to say that we do recommend using stains that are higher in pigment for this reason - that color retention, like Bobby experienced may happen with these lesser pigmented stains.

July 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby

I have used Charles' Pre Color Conditioner on projects ranging from natural finished maple counter tops to dyed and stained (water and oil based) furniture pieces. I have always had excellent results. I have recommend this product to fellow woodworkers and they have all had excellent results.


July 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason

I've used Charles Neil's Blotch Control on literally over a dozen projects to date. I don't want to spend hours and hours building something nice and then take a chance on ruining it because of uneven coloring. Give it a try, you won't regret it!

As a side note, I just finished a bookshelf for my daughter and I opened a new jar of Blotch Control for it. When finished, there was about a 1/2" of blotch control left in the jar. Just for the heck of it, I figured out how many square feet of wood I covered (using 2 coats), and it came out to 53.6 sq. feet.

July 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Letts

PostCreate a New Post

Enter your information below to create a new post.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>