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Solstice Wall – The Perfect Stain

January 28, 2024

By: Lee LeFever

I write books and run a company called Common Craft. I recently moved from Seattle to a rural island. Here, I write about online business, book publishing, modern home construction, and occasionally, dumb jokes.

This article was published as an issue of my newsletter Ready for Rain

We chose to use Baltic birch plywood for the rays because the built-in cabinets and benches at Flattop are Baltic birch. We both love seeing the plies and plywood is exceptionally stable.

For the Solstice wall, we wanted to make the plies even more obvious, so I started experimenting with stains. I found that the stain we used for our western red cedar ceilings and soffits worked well.

After more experimenting, I developed a simple process that created consistency in every ray. I applied the stain and then immediately wiped it off.

The results were startling to me and exactly what I hoped to see. The stain soaked into and darkened the wood pleid, while keeping the laminated strips nice and light.

As a friend said online, the plies look like a cookie.

Here’s a short video on the process of staining the rays:

I’m sharing this process on social media. Follow along!

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On most Tuesdays, I share a story from my life on Orcas Island and a recommendation for something I love. I'm interested in how to design work and home for lifestyle, livability, and fluffy dogs. Learn more.

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