In this video I explain how to properly apply stain to interior wood surfaces. This video is part of a complete online course I’m building on WOOD FINISHING FOR BEGINNERS. The video here shows how to apply traditional stain properly, and several pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. Click below to watch:
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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: In this video, I want to give you a demonstration of stain application. Now, before I get going, just a couple of things. This is a piece of wood. This has been sanded thoroughly. It’s nice and smooth. It’s ready to go. It’s not a very fancy piece of wood. It’s just a chunk of construction grade spruce actually, but it will take a very nice finish as you’ll see.
I’ve got gloves on. Not essential, but a good idea, especially if you’re dealing with solvent-based stains like we are here just to make sure none of it gets on your skin and gets absorbed to your skin. It’s not lethally deadly or anything like that, but you’ll be cleaner and probably a little bit healthier at least if you wear gloves.
These gloves are interesting Green Monkey. They’re biodegradable. So I don’t know about you, I like to save my gloves as much as possible, but eventually you’ve got to throw them out. And a regular glove who knows how many centuries it’s going to last in the landfill. This is supposed to be rotten in 10 years. So there’s more and more glove like that coming out.
I’ve got my stain. It’s all stirred up. Very important to stir stain. Most stains will settle out. So if you want to get the full coloring power, you need to mix them. Power mixing as I’ve shown you before is an excellent thing to do. And then just a final stirring every so often as you’re doing it. If the job is taking a long time, you don’t want to have that stain settling out. So I’ll just leave the stir stick in there for now.
Step one, get the stain on the wood. It doesn’t really matter how you get it on. Neatness does not count at this stage. So I like to use a brush. It’s not so big of a deal here with a nice flat piece of wood with no intricate nooks and crannies, but a brush is great for getting stain right into profiles, say routed profiles or into corners and things. It’s hard to reproduce that with a rag. But as you’ll see, rags are still essential.
So with staining, you just want to get it on and wipe it all off. No stain should remain on the surface when you’re done. And that’s the way stain imparts color without fouling up the appearance of the Woodgreen. So you’re still going to get full Woodgreen results showing through, but then the ceiling coat’s going to go on top and give you that depth of finish. So now that doesn’t look so hot, does it? But luckily it doesn’t have to.
Now, I’m going to wipe this off. Now, this is a clean rag. It’s very thirsty. If I were to be doing a large project and over a period of time, this is going to get saturated and it’s going to get less thirsty. So I’m going to have to vary my pressure actually. So right now I’m not putting on a whole lot of pressure because I want to remove the stain, but I want it to be homogenous. I want it to leave some color behind too.
Now, this particular stuff I’m using dries a little bit faster than other stains. I can already feel it starting to stiffen up a bit. And there we go. And there we’ve got our color. And it’s nice and even. That’s essentially the staining process.
I’m going to let that dry. As I said, this is a solvent-based and oil-based stain. I have no problem using this underneath water-based urethane though, as long as it’s thoroughly dry first before I put the urethane on. So I would leave this for at least 24 hours. That should be plenty. But if you want to leave it longer, that there’s no problem with that either.
I just should mention something as an aside here, as you gain experience finishing wood, you’re going to discover approaches for making good things happen that don’t necessarily follow the regular rules. And this stain, so to speak, is one of those things because it’s not actually a stain in the usual sense. It is a stain and you can see it it’s a lovely brown color. I love this color.
I think do actually in order to make it even richer is, when this has dried thoroughly, I’m going to give it another coat just to make it deeper and richer. And then the urethane and I’ll come back and show you what that looks like.
But this actually Minwax PolyShades, this is marketed as a stain and a sealer all in one. And I usually prefer a greater degree of protection than this product alone can deliver. But technically speaking, it does offer a certain amount of protection. And for light duty items, this can be fine all on its own. At least that’s what it’s sold for.
I don’t actually use the stain, this poly shades in that way though. I always use it as a coloring agent with something else on top to give it a little more protection. But I do happen to love this particular color. It’s called American Chestnut. It’s a wonderful color and it even gets better over time actually as the wood matures and the finish starts to take on a patina, but essentially there you go. That’s the staining process.