You need to open the pores before staining so start with a medium grade sandpaper (about #120) and work your way to a fine grade sandpaper (about #220). Stains need to soak into the wood grain so require open pores to absorb properly. If you apply stain over a surface already covered with a finishing coat , the stain will not change the colour of the wood. Two or even three coats of varnish are often necessary to provide a good protective coat.

Stain is meant to interact with the actual wood surface. You can add stain on top of stain to mix colors, but if the surface has been sealed, it can no longer be sanded without removing the top coat. Attempting to brush one of these fast drying stains onto a large surface is a sure ticket for uneven coloring.

how to stain wood

Repeat this process until you get to the desired color depth. Sand off any sealer that gets on the face of the board before you stain. Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality. To be fair, Minwax does present the option of wiping on the stain in the instructions on its cans – but the accompanying illustration still shows brushing. A surprising number have explained they thought a brush was best because they saw one used on the Minwax television ad, which has run off and on for years.

Ten Finishing Rules That Explain So Much

And be sure to wipe off the stain in the same direction as the wood grain, just like how you applied the wood stain. Once dry, lightly sand that coat with 320 grit sandpaper, vacuum or wipe the dust, and apply the next coat letting it once again dry overnight. After your piece is pre-stained, you have a small window to apply the stain itself for best results – within 2 hours, in fact. Stir your wood stain (remember, it should be oil-based if your pre-stain is oil-based), taking care to avoid making air bubbles. You may want to stir the stain throughout your staining process, depending on the size of your project. Additionally, where you live and the local climate, weather, and humidity can affect drying time as well.

How To Refinish Your Wood Dresser Or Table

What it does do is fill your wood pores with wood conditioner, so that when wood stain is applied the wood pores don’t absorb quite as a much of it. Unfortunately, gel stains are significantly more expensive that traditional oil-based wood stains. They can also be difficult to apply in tight corners, so it’s better to apply the stain before assembling the piece.

Make sure to read the instructions before you apply the pre-stain conditioner. In some cases, the manufacturer advises that you wipe the conditioner off after a few minutes, and then apply the stain within two hours. Also, some pre-stain conditioners tend to lighten the color of the stain, but you can combat this by applying a second coat of stain.

Tips For Staining Softwoods

There should be a display placard with a bunch of stain samples that are usually applied to oak. Buy the indicated stain and apply as directed. The 220-grit sandpaper is a finer grit that will leave a very smooth finish.

Make any necessary repairs before refinishing any part. Select a well-ventilated work area such as a garage or outdoor deck. Make sure your furniture refinishing area is dry and dust-free—water and dirt can ruin a fresh coat of stain.

Oil-based stains take longer to dry than water-based stains do, so they allow you to work for longer. If this is your first staining project, an oil-based stain will make it less likely that your coats will be uneven. Also, oil-based stains won’t raise the grain on the wood, so you won’t need to worry about sanding the finish. Clean your furniture with a tack cloth to gently remove any dust or grime from the wood.

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