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7 Wood Staining Tips For A Perfect Finish

Old wood texture (for background)There’s no question that the rustic look is making a comeback, and why should anyone be surprised? The right wood with the right stain can look absolutely beautiful and bring both a feeling of returning to classic roots and embracing an air of sophistication.

If you’re looking to stain anything in your workshop or even wood flooring, then you’ll want to follow these seven tips to make sure you get the best possible look!

Tip #1:

Always test stain an unimportant piece of scrap wood first. This will help you test out what type of color or shade you’re getting and make sure you have the look you envision before committing to your entire project. You even have the option of double coating a piece of scrap wood to see if that creates the dark shade you’re looking for.

A very important part of this tip: make sure the scrap wood is the same species/tree type as what you’ll be applying the stain to. Every type of wood will stain differently.

Tip #2:

Apply a thin coat of waterproof pre-stain wood conditioner first, at least 15 minutes prior to stain. This will help protect against blotching and darker areas of stain. This might seem like a little extra work early on but it leads to a much better finished product!

Tip #3:

Mix the wood stain thoroughly before applying, especially with oil based stains. This is critical to make sure you get the smooth and deep coloring that you’re looking for. Oil based stains also tend to have ingredients that need to be thoroughly mixed to create the texture and feel that you’re looking for.

Tip #4:

While many people use a brush, consider using a rag to have more control of the solid and even spread of the stain. This also eliminates the potential for uneven staining that can come from the dripping that happens at the end of brush strokes.

Tip #5:

Wipe the stain in the direction of the grain. You don’t want to go against the grain or the stain won’t take! This is a common mistake, but so easy to fix. Going the direction of the grain means more stain is absorbed for a better look.

Tip #6:

Apply for a smooth coat and don’t use too much. You can always add a second layer for a deeper stain! If you put too much on all at once all it does is congeal and have to be scraped off. Go for a smooth coat and if it’s lighter than you like, another layer of stain once it’s dry can darken it even more.

Tip #7:

If you are sensitive to fumes, consider taking a water based stain over the more common oil based options. This will have far fewer fumes to deal with.

That’s it! Getting a beautiful finish on your project or floor you can enjoy for years to come is as simple as following those seven helpful tips!

Updated: March 19, 2015 — 4:38 pm
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