Making Wood Beautiful with Wood Stains
Wood stains provide a very simple way to transform and beautify your tired, old wooden furniture. But application can be tricky and if you don’t do it correctly you can ruin an otherwise great piece of furniture. So what do you need to know?
Firstly, you can’t simply buy some wood stain and slap it onto a piece of furniture any old how. No. Preparation is everything. You will need to strip the surface from the piece. This means removing any old varnish, lacquer, wax or years of polish that may have built up. This stage in the process can take a lot of effort, but there are some great products on the market today that make it a lot easier than it used to be. But nevertheless, some elbow grease is likely to be required to get back to the bare wood.
Once stripped you will want to sand the surface. Not only will this remove any small bumps and irregularities, it will also prepare the surface for the application of your chosen stain. Wood stain needs to penetrate into the wood grain and sanding will open this up to allow the wood stain to penetrate evenly.
You are now almost ready to apply the stain. I say almost because the next stage is vitally important. Find an area of the piece which is not highly visible, like the back of a chair or the underside of a table, and apply just a little of the selected wood stain. Let it dry and then inspect the area. Is the staining even? Are there any signs that the stain couldn’t penetrate? Did it dry evenly? If all is looking good then you are ready to apply your first coat to the whole item.
Clean off any dust with a damp cloth before applying your wood stain and be sure to apply evenly using a brush or soft cloth. Let the first coat dry thoroughly and then apply a second. You may find that you need to apply multiple coats in order to get an even finish and the depth of wood staining that you are after. But if you are using a good quality water based wood stain then no more than one coat may be needed.
You need to remember that applying your wood stain isn’t the final step. You need to finish by applying a protective top coat. This is best achieved with wood varnish or lacquer. This is what will protect your beautiful wood from the ravages of the sun and normal wear and tear. You will normally need to apply at least two coats of varnish to get a suitable finish. And if your wood is in an area that gets damp, such as kitchen work surfaces, then be sure that your varnish is waterproof.
So now your wood should be looking great and protected enough to last for many years with minimal maintenance.