Staining your own hardwood furniture is a relatively simple task. However there are certain steps that you have to take in order to achieve a rich, deep, well stained finish.
If possible, this is a process that you are going to want to undertake outside, or at least in a large well ventilated space. The fumes that can rise from open stain cans are toxic and can be a health hazard if you work with them in an enclosed area. Lay out a tarp, and cover any nearby possessions that might be damaged if a can spills or if wind causes the stain to splutter.
The first thing you want to do is sand the entire piece. Use light grade sandpaper and donít press too hard. The idea is to gently score the surface so that it will absorb the stain more readily. However you donít want to press too hard and cause gouges or irregularities in the flow of the wood.
If you are staining an object with a lot of straight lines and flat surfaces then you can use a power sander to speed up the process. If there are curves, such as found on spindles and chair legs, then you can use sand paper, or foam sanding blocks to wrap around edges.
When youíre finished sanding, wipe the piece down with a slightly damp cloth to remove excess sawdust. Then use a completely dry cloth to soak up any remaining moisture. You should then shake the tarp out into the trash to get rid of any sawdust which might be lingering in its folds. Place a plastic sheet down where you are going to be doing the actual staining, and place a few sheets of newspaper over that to soak up excess drips or spills.
Once you open the can, use a paint stir stick to mix the stain thoroughly, so that the color will be true throughout. You can apply it to the wood using a standard four inch paintbrush. Dip the brush in the stain and then dab any excess off onto a piece of newspaper. You want the brush to be damp, but not dripping. Draw the brush across the surface of the piece in smooth, even strokes, going with the grain of the wood.
As you work, use a cloth to wipe off any excess that ends up on the surface. You want the first coat to be light, just a tint of color that shows the natural markings of the wood through it. Allow this to dry for a few hours, and then if you want to achieve a darker effect, apply another layer of stain in the same way, with light even brush strokes, and a cloth to remove any excess. Be especially careful of droplets in the stain as these will dry dimensionally and can be very difficult to sand off later.
Once you are happy with the depth of color, allow it to dry overnight so that the stain can set thoroughly into the wood. The next day, apply a finishing agent, either wax, or polyurethane, which will not only give the piece a sense of depth and luster, but will also create a clear covering over its surface that will protect it from harm.
This article is sponsored on behalf of the round kitchen tables which are hand crafted by the artists at PebbleZ using natural, mosaic cut pieces of mountain born stone. The article itself was written by interior artist and designer Joey Pebble.
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