Staining Wood Tips

by Ronald Scott

Staining Wood;A stain should reveal and enhance the natural beauty of a wood by improving the color and accenting natural grain patterns. Water, alcohol, and oil stains are all available, but oil stains are best for the home refinisher.

They are inexpensive and easily applied. There are two types of oil stains: pigment and penetrating. Pigment oil stains, the more common, consist of colored powder suspended in a mixture of oil and oleoresin. Penetrating stains are made of aniline dye dissolved in a similar mixture. Pigment stains act like a very Ii in paint, depositing particles of color within the wood surface. Penetrating stains strike deeper than pigment stains, dying the wood fibers rather than coating them. Because they soak in less deeply, and dry more slowly, pigment stains arc easier to control. However, care must be taken to avoid excessive buildup, since the particles of pigment may clog the wood pores and obscure the grain. In certain cases, this potential to conceal can be used to advantage for example, to blend dissimilar woods. Before applying stain, clean and smooth the surface. Using No. 220 or 280 finishing paper (the liner grit should be used on hardwoods, such as oak), sand lightly with h the grain.

Afterward, remove all dust and wipe with turpentine. Prior to staining, the more absorbent end grain areas (where the wood is crosscut, as in a chair seat) should he sealed with thinned shellac; otherwise, they will absorb more stain and become much darker than the rest of the piece. Before using a pigment stain, it is good practice to apply a coat of thinned shellac sealer over the entire piece to balance uneven porosity and restrain penetration of the stain.

This will make it easier to wipe off excess stain, allowing for more precise color control. Once the color is too dark, it is very hard to lighten, but with the wood sealed, it is an easy matter to make several applications, progressively increasing color intensity until you arrive at the exact shade desired. Once the wood is prepared. the next step is to test-stain a matching piece of scrap wood.

Experiment with penetration time and thinning to produce the desired tone. You might even apply a coat of finish over the test-stain to get a better idea of how the final job will look. When you are ready to stain the piece itself, start with the least conspicuous parts; first do the back, then the sides, then the front, and last of all the top. Whenever possible, adjust the item so that the surface you are working on is horizontal.

If you are forced to apply stain to a vertical surface, work from the top down. That way, excess stain will drip onto unstained areas, where it can be wiped away and compensated for as you sand. Be careful not to splatter or drip on to the wood that has already been stained. Because the degree of darkness is determined by how long the stain is allowed to penetrate before being wiped off, uniform appearance cannot be achieved unless each application receives the same amount of time for penetration.

Applying stain over too large an area will make it difficult to keep track of penetration time, and results will be uneven. For this reason, stain only a limited section at a time, one that can be stained and wiped within 15 minutes. Mix the stain thoroughly and continue stirring frequently during application. This is especially important with pigment stain, because the minute particles of color will settle out of suspension as you work. Use a brush or a clean, lint-free cloth to apply a thin, even coat of stain. Wipe the stain on with long, regular strokes, following the grain. Avoid over-lapping areas already stained. More staining wood tips.

While the stain is still wet, check for spots where is not penetrating and rub them with 3/0 steel wool to work the stain in. You may have to apply more stain to these areas. Allow the same penetration time that gave you the desired results on your test piece, t hen remove residual stain wit h a clean, lint-free cloth or by dry-brushing as explained below. When using a cloth, wipe with the grain. If the stain begins to dry before you start wiping it off, dampen the cloth with turpentine or benzine. This can also be used to blend out streaks or to lighten the stain's color, The dry-brushing technique permits more precise removal of excess stain. Use a clean, dry brush to stroke the stain off. Follow the grain, blending the stain over the surface and frequently wiping the brush bristles dry on a clean cloth. Dry-brush until all excess stain is removed. Let the stain dry thoroughly—at least 24 hours. More staining wood tips.

If you are satisfied with the results, brush on a sealer of thinned shellac and let it dry completely. Glazing: Results that are pale or uneven can be corrected with a glaze of diluted stain. The stain need not be the same color; a complementary tone can enhance the overall effect. First, apply a sealer and let it dry.

Next, dilute the stain with gum t tirpentine to make t he glaze. A 50/50 mixture will generally be satisfactory, but it the glaze is only being used to even out the color, thin it more. Wipe on the glaze with a lint-free cloth. Should the results still be disappointing, wipe the glaze off with a cloth dampened in thinner, and try again. When you are satisfied, let the glaze dry completely and seal the surface with thinned shellac. Thanks for reading this page on staining wood.

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