Achieving great results when staining wood is easy if you avoid a few basic mistakes. Hey, are you new to woodworking and don’t know where to begin?
For some reason it seems as though a lot
of brand new woodworkers get the urge to
stain their projects I partially credit
those TV remodeling shows for this
popularity Now there isn't anything wrong
with wood staining but there are some
misconceptions about it and how to use
it that I thought I'd clear up my
goodness Steve and this is Woodworking
for Mere Mortals the channel dedicated
to helping total beginners get started
in woodworking I am confident that
anyone can build cool stuff without a
lot of space or expensive tools and I
want you to start building this weekend
by giving you free detailed plans to
build this the BMW the basic mobile
workbench join the thousands of other
people who have built the BMW as their
very first woodworking project by
heading over to download the free plans and
watch the first part of a step by step
video to get you started before staining
wood Ask yourself why you want to change
its color One of the decisions that goes
into selecting a type of wood for a
project is its natural color when we're
talking about hardwoods such as maple
walnut oak etc Most woodworkers prefer
to show off the natural wood tones with
a clear topcoat only Seeing thing the grain
and color pop immediately after applying
a protective finish is super satisfying
and wood will darken over time Here's
what cherry looks like after just a few
years so while staining hardwoods isn't
unheard of there are instances when you
might need to match existing furniture
or slightly alter the shade it's pretty
unusual but keep in mind these are just
personal preferences if you like the
colors you get by staining any kind of
wood and they make you happy go for it
don't limit yourself to arbitrary
woodworking rules when it comes to
aesthetics Personally I sometimes like
to stain oak with a golden oak stain It
gives it
rich natural color that doesn't look
fake The whole idea behind stain is that
you can color the wood but not cover up
the grain the way paint does wood stains
are probably most commonly used on pine
boards and plywood Typically pine is the
cheapest lumber you could buy and a
light color can make it seem like a
blank canvas it seems so commonplace
that we may feel the need to make it
appear more sophisticated by adding some
color again keep in mind like all woods
pine will also darken over time to a
rich yellowish hue
I think pine is a beautiful highly
underrated species and can look
fantastic with just a clear finish
consider it embracing its character
feature boards with knots and unusual
grain patterns but sometimes people
might find pine just too rustic looking
and since it's pretty inexpensive why
not experiment with some color this
makes sense and trying out different
stain colors could be a lot of fun some
stains can look unnatural When you go to
the home sitter or hardware store to
select a color you'll see all kinds of
samples but in my experience they don't
really look much like the wood species
their names imply but again if a bold
dyed look is what you like own it for a
more natural look go more subtle with
shades a slight alteration to a woods
color can go a long way on the entire
Stains don't protect wood stains color
wood aside from some stains that come
with a polyurethane blend or say color
danish oil you will need to apply a top
coat over your stain to protect the wood
from UV damage scratches spills etc for
some reason a lot of people begin
woodworking thinking that staining wood
is a requirement for her completed
project mostly they're confusing wood
stain with a wood finish and I do
believe a protective wood finish is a
requirement for most woodworking
projects Another thing to keep in mind
is that once you commit to a color and
apply it to your project that deed is
done there is no undo button
unlike paint which just sits on top of
the wood and could be sanded off wood
stain penetrates deep into the fibers of
the wood like a sponge absorbing water
make sure you sand the wood well before
applying stain any scratches will be
enhanced by stain sanding will also help
open up the pores of the wood so that
they can better absorb the stain start
out with 80 grit to remove big scratches
and imperfections then move up to 120
and finally 220 grit sandpaper make sure
you remove any sanding dust from the
surface vacuuming is ideal to remove any
dust from inside those wood pores
you cannot just brush on a coat of stain
like you would paint and just wait for
it to dry you'll end up frustrated and
disappointed when parts of it still feel
sticky after a few days when wood has
absorbed all the stain at once the rest
just sits on the surface and doesn't
like to drive to prevent this from
happening you must wipe off the excess
stain after applying it By the way this
isn't just some woodworking hack the
label on the can will tell you exactly
how to apply stain correctly so read it
The applicator you choose for applying
stain doesn't matter you can certainly
use a brush if you like but I would
rather use a foam brush because they're
cheap and disposable and they make
cleanup a lot easier but
go-to method for applying a stain is to
use a rag Old t-shirts are great for
this but sometimes I just use a paper
towel for smaller projects the idea is
to get plenty of stain all over the
surfaces then wait a short time for it
to soak in Usually twenty or thirty
minutes is fine then this is the
important part wipe everything down with
a clean rag if you want the shade to be
a little bit darker you can apply a
second coat this one won't soak in as
much since the pores of the wood are
mostly saturated so you can wipe it off
after maybe 10 minutes or so
I don't usually apply two coats wood
stains have a nasty habit of
distributing themselves unevenly on soft
woods such as pine which causes
blotching this is especially cruel since
pine is most likely the kind of wood you
want to stain to reduce blotching you
need to apply a wood conditioner or
sealer before applying stain stain
manufacturers will recommend their own
conditioners or you could use shellac as
a sealer coat under oil based stains
basically a conditioner will stabilise
the wood to allow the stain to penetrate
more evenly to use wood conditioner just
quickly brush it or wipe it on and let
it penetrate and then wipe it off just
like you would with a stain the only
difference here is that you need to
apply the stain before the conditioner
completely dries usually within two
hours or so
the biggest question that comes up here
is can you apply an oil finish such as
polyurethane over a water-based stain
and vice versa Technically as long as
the stain is completely dry you may have
to wait give it a few days any topcoat
will work fine personally I prefer not
to chance mixing oil and water products
and will use oil finishes over oil
stains and water-based finishes over
water-based stains and with lacquer I've
never had problems applying it over
either type of stain. Thanks for watching

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