How to Stain Wood Furniture


Stained wood furniture can be a beautiful accent for an interior design project. Usually, wood is stained to bring out the grain’s natural beauty. Most of the time after it is stained it is varnished to protect the wood. Some of the modern products provide both stain and a protective layer which can be applied at the same time. Staining and finishing a piece of bare wood furniture can be a fun weekend project.

If you are going to stain a piece of bare wood furniture you will first need to prepare it by sanding it properly. Remember that lower numbers are for the coarser textures and higher numbers indicate finer textures in sandpaper. For preparing the wood you will generally use coarse sandpaper. Sand the furniture until the wood is totally smooth when you rub your hand across the surface. When you are sanding, make sure to sand with the grain and not against it. Periodically, use a piece of tack cloth to remove the dust so it does not build up.

Before you start staining and finishing the piece, clean the wood furniture with mineral spirits. This can be applied with a sponge or an old rag. It will help distinguish the varying colors in the natural wood grain. After cleaning the wood, apply wood conditioner. Using a wood conditioner will especially help softer woods absorb the stain more evenly. Now the piece is ready for staining and finishing.

There are two types of stains oil based or water based. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type. Many prefer water based because they are not toxic and can be cleaned up with water. The problem with water based satins is that they can leave a lot of streaking. Oil based stains tend to be easier to get the desired look, but they are more difficult to clean up and they do put off very strong fumes. Whichever type of stain you choose to use can be put on with a brush or a soft sponge. Make sure that the movements used are with the grain once again. You will put the stain on, and then wipe it off with a soft rag. The longer the stain is left on the surface of the wood, the darker it will be.

Once the stain is dry you will want to apply a finish. Polyurethane is one of the more popular finishes. There are different options depending on the type of end result desired. Tung oil, varnish and lacquer are also very popular choices. There are many different New Jersey interior design specialists who can help you decide on the types of products that are best to use on various staining and finishing projects.

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