Staining wood will not only bring out its beauty by enhancing the grain and imparting an attractive colour, it will also help to protect the wood from damage due to weather and UV radiation. All wood staining techniques begin with sound preparation and this should be completed before any actual staining is undertaken.

Preparation

  • Ensure the wood is free from dirt and grease.
  • Sand the surface until a finish of appropriate fineness for staining wood is achieved. This may be done in stages, sanding first with coarse sandpaper (say 60-80 grit) and then again with progressively finer papers (100 to 200 grit). The coarser the finish, the more stain the wood will absorb and the darker the final colour will be.
  • Clean away any debris produced during sanding and wipe the wood with a damp cloth.
  • Choose your stain. The colour is up to you but consider what type of stain best suits your project. Oil-based stains penetrate well and provide protection. Using these to stain wood will help enhance the grain. Water-based stains sit more on the surface and tend to obscure the grain.

Application

  • Apply your stain. There are a number of wood staining techniques to choose from. You can use a brush, sponge or clean cloth to spread the stain. Whichever you use, apply the stain liberally and work with the grain in long continuous movements. To stain wood so that it does not look patchy ensure thorough, even coverage at this stage.
  • Wipe off any excess stain. How long you wait to do this after application will depend on the stain. Read the manufacturer’s recommendations. The longer you wait, the darker the finished colour will be.
  • Allow the stain to dry for 6 – 8 hours.
  • For greater protection and to enhance the finish, coat the stained wood with polyurethane. To avoid sagging or running be careful to apply this lightly, waiting at least 2 hours between coats.
  • As with all DIY work, take appropriate safety precautions when you set out to stain wood. Ensure your work area is well ventilated. Wear rubber gloves and eye protection.

By following the steps above you’ll be able to prepare, stain and finish your wood in a way that will enhance the beauty of any wooden project.

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