Staining Wood Tips

by Joseph Hardly
(New Jersey)

Stains provide a rich undertone and bring out the beauty of the grain. It is the first step in the standard finishing process, provided the wood is not bleached. Staining is extremely important to color harmony of furniture. Changing the kind and color of stain will make the same wood appear entirely different.

For example, dark red stain has been widely used in Traditional mahogany furniture. Many people even today think of mahogany as a dark colored wood. Actually, much Contemporary mahogany furniture is light, honey toned brown. Stains can also be used to make a less expensive wood look like a costly one. Gum, for example, is often stained to imitate mahogany. Stains are important in equalizing the color of a wood surface, as in sap staining.

When there is wide variation in wood color, especially between sapwood and heartwood, sap staining should precede regular staining. Use either an alcohol-base sap stain or a water soluble stain. Apply to the light areas, either by brushing or spraying. By continuing to apply the stain, the light areas can be made as dark as the rest of the wood. Then standard staining procedures can be followed.

Stain consists of two materials: coloring and vehicle. The coloring matter is soluble color ( dye) or pigment color. Soluble colors or dyes actually go into the solution; when they are applied to the wood, they penetrate the pores and dye the wood surface. Some are ma from natural substances such as cert plant and animal extracts. The modern industry chemicals obtained from coaltar. These dyes are very similar to fa dyes used in the textile industry. Pigment colors are finely ground co particles that disperse in the vehicle do not dissolve. When pigment color are used as stain, the particles of color remain on the wood surface, giving it uniform appearance.

Pigment colors m also be made from natural materials have a chemical base. The natural color pigments include iron oxide, yell oxide, burnt sienna, raw sienna, lumber, raw lumber, ochreorganic pigment, titanium oxide, zinc sulfate, cadmium sulfate yellow, cadmium sulfa orange, lead chromate yellow, orange chromate.

Water Stains Water stains are natural and acid dyes that are mixed in water. The water soluble powder is purchased and then mixed in hot water. From one to eight ounces of powder per gallon of water is used, depending on the color wanted. Generally, the mixture is about four ounces of powder per gallon. Water stains are available in common colors such as brown mahogany, mahogany, orange, green, yellow, golden oak, fumed oak, and red mahogany. Water stains have several important advantages: • The stain is absorbed by the wood and therefore shows a greater contrast in figure than is possible with other kinds of stains. • Water stains are easily applied with a brush and do not require extensive production equipment.

Water stains are cheaper than most other stains because they are purchased as dry powder and mixed in water. • Water stains do not bleach when exposed to light as much as pigment oil stains will.Water stains can be darkened by applying a second or third coat if the first is not suitable. Water stains dry quickly. Some disadvantages are: Water stains swell the wood fibers and raise the grain. If several coats must be applied, water stains may have an adverse effect on glue joints. Applying Water Stains Mix a small amount of powder in a gallon of boiling water, then test the stain on a piece of scrap wood of the same kind as the product.

The color of water stains will appear somewhat darker on larger surfaces than on the small test piece. Therefore it is a good idea to apply a slightly lighter coat than seems necessary. Before applying the water stain, sponge the surface lightly with water. It may help to add just a little hide glue to the water to hold the surface fibers in place. This should dry four to five hours and then be sanded with 5/0 sandpaper. Always sponge end grain with water before applying the stain to keep it from absorb-ing too much stain and darkening too much. Apply the stain evenly with a

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