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Applying Solvent-Based Stain

Stain is really easy to apply. These instructions pertain to solvent-based stains, not aniline dyes or water-based stains. You should always try out the process on a scrap first.

Items you will need:

  1. Stain
  2. Latex gloves
  3. White cotton cloth or brush
  4. Sand paper

Step 1:

Make sure that the surface you want to stain is properly prepared. This includes final sanding and sealing, if necessary (Fig. 1). Woods that are prone to "blotching" need to be sealed. These woods include pine, cherry, maple (sometimes) and other woods that include irregular grain patterns. Sealers that may be used are generic "sanding sealers" or a spit-coat of shellac. These sealers should be sanded after application.

Step 2:

Make sure that you stir the stain before you use it. If you don't, the pigment that does the staining will remain on the bottom of the can (Fig. 2). The stirring stick should come up clean if you scrape the bottom of the can (Fig. 3).

Step 3:

Put on your latex gloves and pick up the rag (or brush if you prefer) (Fig. 4). Dip the rag in the stain and begin wiping the stain onto the surface (Fig. 5). Make sure that you cover the surface thoroughly. If you allow the latex gloves drag on the surface they will wipe the stain off.

Step 4:

Wipe the excess stain from the piece (Fig. 6). The amount of time that you wait depends on how deep you want the color to be. Check the product container for further instructions. I always try out the process on a scrap first.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 3

Fig. 4

Fig. 5

Fig. 6


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