Stain Wood the “Wright” Way

So you’ve gotten the wood you need from the lumberyard, and built something beautiful. Congratulations! Now it is time to start staining. Staining is a fantastic option for finishing wood, because it adds shine and protection without completely hiding the grainy look of the wood. When painting wood, paint usually steals the show, but with stain, you really highlight the natural wooden look. One thing to keep in mind however, is to make sure you are getting quality wood from a trusted lumberyard that won’t crack, and ensure that you are applying the stain evenly. Stain is trickier than paint, in that if it is unevenly applied, you can usually tell. Don’t get discouraged if your first staining project doesn’t meet your expectations; staining takes a while to master, but soon you will be a DIY expert! 

Make sure to use Test Pieces from your Lumberyard

When you first buy wood from the lumberyard, make sure to set aside some test pieces. These are just a few extra boards or trim that you can test the stain on first before moving onto the real deal. If you are working with furniture, using the underside of a shelf or leg is usually the best option for stain testing. Testing lets you know just how much sealant you need and how many coasts to apply, to make your wood look great! Make sure you are getting your test pieces form the same lumberyard, and are using the same wood to ensure the tests are accurate to your project. 

Sanding your Wood 

Make sure you are sanding your wood thoroughly. Getting the smoothest possible finish on your wood is key to a clean look. Any part of the wood that is a little rougher than the others will absorb more stain, and thus be darker than the rest of your wood. You should be spending most of your project time sanding the wood. It will pay off, when you have a clean, smooth surface that will take the stain evenly. Before you start sanding, it is always good practice to use a stainable wood filler to fill in any cracks you may have in your wood pieces. Start with 80 to 120 grit sandpaper, and slowly work your way up to 180. Your final run through should be with about 220 grit sandpaper. If you want a more rugged finish, you can sand corners and edges less for a more vintage look. 

Apply Sealant 

Always cover your wood with sealant before staining. It is possible to stain unsealed wood, but it really is not recommended. Mark three sections of a test piece of wood. Apply the sealant at full strength to one section, water down the sealant by half for the second section, and leave the third section unsealed. Then test all three sections to see which one you like the best. Use the same brand sealant and stain to ensure you are going to get compatible results. 

Apply Stain and finish the Edges 

Once you have made the decisions regarding how much sealant and stain to apply, and you are happy with the look of your test pieces, you are ready to apply the sealant. Be generous with the amount of stain you add on the initial brush. You can rub off any excess stain with a lint-free painters rag by gently rubbing the stained area. Make sure to rub the stain in a circular motion, like you are buffing a car, to distribute the stain evenly. 

Finish with Another Coat of Sealant 

While stain itself is a protective coating, it will last longer and shine more if you add another layer of sealant on top of your last coat of sealant. Keep in mind that outdoor items will need a different sealant than indoor items. 

Your trusted, Local Lumberyard 

Staining becomes easier and easier with practice. If you need more help, are looking to purchase stain, or wood, do not hesitate to contact the lumber experts at Wright Building Center today! We would love to hear about your project, and help you make it special, the “Wright” way!

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