Applying Stains To Wood
by Larry Boggun
Applying stains to wood tips. Stains enhance the natural color of wood or dramatically change it, either highlighting or disguising the wood's grain patterns. If you choose a penetrating stain, such as an aniline dye, expect clear, transparent color and emphasized grain, because this type of stain actually soaks into the wood fibers. But because wood absorbs penetrating stain so readily, it can be difficult to avoid streaks and lap marks. By contrast, pigmented stains, called wiping stains, are easy to apply, but because they leave a thin film of colorant atop the wood, muddy grain often accompanies the rich color. A third category of wood stains, the gels,combines the advantages of penetrating and pigmented stains. Because they don't splatter or run, they are almost foolproof to apply. Products are also available that combine stain and finish in one step. While these result in a fast finish, it is often inferior to a conventional two-step finish.More tips on applying stains to wood tips
When choosing a stain and finish, consider their solvents; the stain and finish must be compatible. (It's always safest to use one manufacturer's products on a project.) Both penetrating and pigmented stains are available in water- and oil-soluble forms. Gel stains and combination products usually have an oil base.
Water-soluble stains are easy to clean up but can be more difficult to apply than oil-soluble ones. Perhaps the biggest disadvantage is that some water-soluble stains can swell the wood fibers, requiring you to raise the grain before staining. Alternatively, you can use a non-grain-raising stain (NGR), a predissolved aniline dye that contains no water. To achieve the best
results, NGR stains should be sprayed on. When selecting a stain, pick a shade' slightly lighter than the desired color it's easier to darken a light stain than vice versa. The color will vary according to the wood, so first test the stain on a - hidden area. Apply stain with a lint-fit cloth or a synthetic-bristle brush, according to the manufacturer's directions. In small areas use a foam brush. Some woods, such as pine, fir, birch, and hemlock, do not rake stain well. (When properly finished, any wood may be beautiful without staining.) If you stain these woods, seal the wood first and choose a water-base or gel npe in a color that's a little darker than the natural tone. You can lighten a wood's overall color by applying a commercial two-step bleach. Follow the label's directions.
It is difficult, however, CO remove disfiguring stains in wood, unless you know exactly what the stain is. For example, the blue-green to gray-black streaks found on an old mahogany, maple, or oak piece are usually caused by a reaction of iron hardware with the tannin in the wood. Oxalic acid, a liquid commonly sold as a deck brightener, will remove the stain without changing the color of the wood.Remember when applying stains to wood
Apply the acid and allow to dry. Thoroughly wash the dried crystals off the piece. Caution: Oxalic acid and sub-stances that contain high volatile organic compound (VOC), such as bleaches and alkyd resin- and oil-base stains and finishes, are toxic products are being reformulate Ventilate your work area well. low the maker's guidelines, and wear rubber gloves and goggles.