I was intimidated when I first started learning how to stain wood, but I actually think staining is an easier process than painting. (This post contains affiliate links. So if you want additional control over your coloring, you can think about adjusting the type of sandpaper you are using. Step 3: Yes! Open and stir your polyurethane then brush a coat on. Woodworking and furniture craftsmanship can be tricky. Then, beginning on one side of the piece, start painting the stain on in the direction of the wood grain. Basically, conditioner will stabilize the wood to allow stain to penetrate more evenly. Step 2: When you’ve finished painting the stain on, let it sit for 5–15 minutes to soak in, then grab your rag and gently wipe the piece down. I started with maybe 1 part thinner to 4 parts polyurethane and adjusted the mix along the way. Use your fingers to feel the surface before and after sanding to see the difference. Rebrush the length of the stain with a dry white china bristle brush to soften and even out the staining as needed. For additional water resistance and durability, you can add a layer of polyurethane, shellac, lacquer, or some other type of sealer. Press Esc to cancel. Fills in wood grain after staining for a smooth finish. With those you would be better off to stop at 120 or 150. This will smooth out the surface and get rid of the bubbles that didn’t pop when the first coat was drying. Paint thinner works best for thinning varnish. … In  the second photo, I had completely finished sanding down the top, but I only gave a light sand to the body since I wasn’t staining that part–just painting it. To counteract this effect, try using a pre-stain or conditioner on the wood before you stain it. Open and stir your stain. To avoid or lessen this effect you can use a wood conditioner. 5. A wood stain helps to protect your wooden project. If you want a very smooth, finely sanded surface, try a higher grit, like 150 or 180, or even higher depending on the project. You have to have the right tools, the right kind of wood for the project, and plenty of time for the longer stages of the process, like sanding and finishing. So the stain doesn’t lodge and collects as heavily across the wood surface. Stain can also protect against the deteriorating effects of sunlight and strength the wood a bit more against impact and damage. If the stain begins to dry before you wipe it off, you're tackling too much area; this is more likely to happen using water-based stain. Pour some varnish into the tray and use it just like a paint rolling tray. When you’ve removed the finish completely, brush off the bulk of the dust and wipe down the entire piece using tack cloth. Major upgrade! After the stain has dried, it’s time for the first finishing coat. It is best to sand very lightly, using very fine sandpaper like 220 grit. What you probably have from using the birch ply, even with the minwax stain… In fact, many experts claim that sanding at the right stages is actually the most important element in achieving a truly professional-looking piece with the color and texture you want. Lacquer and varnish are film-forming top coats used to protect and add luster to wood, and are typically applied over stain after it's dry. Do you Need to Seal Wood After Staining it? Imagine that the first piece of wood was sanded with 120-grit sandpaper. This coarser type of sandpaper leaves a different scratch pattern on the surface of the wood. Cherry, mahogany, and similar woods don’t need much or any color, so it’s best to use light or transparent stains, so the natural grain and colors shine through. The right level of opacity depends on the type of surface and your personal preference. Staining results are always better when working with fresh, untreated wood. Talk to you soon! Do NOT do … It doesn't need much added in to get it to spray evenly. Do not raise the grain, eliminating the need for additional sanding. Applying polyurethane after staining is a little trickier, but the ability to sand out issues and apply multiple coats makes it pretty forgiving as well. Check boxes below for what you want to see—I won't send you anything else. For example, the piece I’m working with for this post will be the new top to an Ikea dresser. Medium grits are typically best for removing finishes (#120 and #150), and very fine grits (like#220) are used to buff a piece of wood before sanding or between finish coats. Otherwise, you end up with darker overlapping edges where you ended and then picked up again. Minwax tends to be the go-to name in pre-stains and pre-treatment, so if you are not sure where to begin, we would suggest starting out with a good Minwax wood conditioner, followed by a high-quality stain. Just dip the rag in the stain and wipe it on the piece!). Q: My childhood dresser is beautiful but the wood stain looks faded. Remember, you put the stain on unfinished wood, so you need to seal the stain to protect it. Do not dampen a cloth and wipe the area. Step 1: If you didn’t have to strip a finish off of your piece, go ahead and use a fine grit (like#220) sandpaper to polish your piece. Just make sure the existing finish is totally sanded down to the bare wood! Keep in mind that if you don’t sand the wood well enough and the flaws still show after you’ve applied the stain or finish, you can always remove the stain or finish at any time using a paint-and-varnish remover (or simply paint thinner for stain alone) and start over. Certain types of wood just don’t work well with traditional stains. Varnishes protect with a thin coating. And the process isn’t as difficult as you probably think it is, either. Oak, ash, and chestnut handle stain well, but wood such as maple, poplar, and birch do not handle stain very well at all. Here’s where we talk about what NOT to do when staining butcher block counters. That’s okay, just slowly brush over the bubbles to smooth them out. It’s important to wipe away excess stain as you apply each coat. If you want a darker coarser look, use a lower 120-grit sandpaper. Sandpaper comes in grades (or grits). our recommendation is that you avoid sanding after staining or simply use a very gentle scuff sanding method if you notice roughness. So I applied another coat of stain on top, thinking it would even things out. I’d love to update it with fresh paint and new hardware, but I’ve heard that you can’t get good results painting over stain. Overlapping stain … You don't need to remove all of the old stain to apply darker stain. That is certainly an option; however, it is important to note that paint does not provide the same kind of protection that stain does. Specializing in building and renovating homes, Thomas Luttrell has worked in homebuilding since 2002. ), (Remember to wear a mask and eye protection while sanding and working with wood, and wear an appropriate mask while working with paints, stains, and finishes. Staining and finishing wood is an easy way to make it beautiful and durable for any project. Oil-based varnishes generally add a slight amber tone to your final finish, while water-based varnishes are clear. Add a second coat if you’d like the color to soak in a bit more. Sometimes referred to generically, lacquer and varnish are not the same thing. Note: There are a number of finishes you can use. Brush the stain. Type above and press Enter to search. So, understand what type of finish or stain you are using and let it dry accordingly. Many of the bubbles will also pop as the finish dries. The type of wood you are using for the project has an effect on how well the stain is accepted. 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