How To Refinish Your Wood Table Or Dresser

It will begin eating away at the old finish almost immediately. Use a paint scraper or sponge to wipe off the old stain but be sure to protect your hands with rubber gloves. I cleaned up using just cold water and the cloth picked up a colored tint from the first staining. How can I protect my next coat of stain from the bleed-through of the original stain?

If your project is to be used indoors you can consider the project finished. You won’t need to seal, just apply a good polish every few weeks to give it a nice glow. You can control the shading, to a point, by how long you leave the stain on the wood before wiping up the excess.

how to stain wood

Unfortunately, gel stains are significantly more expensive that traditional oil-based wood stains. They can also be difficult to apply in tight corners, so it’s better to apply the stain before assembling the piece. After the stain has sat for a couple of minutes, you’re ready to remove the excess.

Polyurethane (water

Staining pads assist novices in controlling stain amounts. Make it a point to remove any excessive stain amounts from the wood over the course of application. Use your cloth, brush, or pad to then rub what cannot be removed back into the wood.

Once the project is dry, you can wipe it with a damp cloth. You want a topcoat at the end to protect the wood. Now that you know how to apply wood stain, you’re focused on the right way to finish your project. Shake the sealer container thoroughly and apply two thin coats using a small paintbrush.

Choosing a filler compound depends on what type of surface needs to be filled. Use this guide to filler compounds to pick the best one for the job. Stains are formulated to dry in the wood, not on the wood.

After the stain has dried thoroughly, and you’re happy with the result, it’s time to apply the top protective finishing coat. Remember that this top coat should be the same type as your pre-stain and stain products – oil-based to oil-based, water-based to water-based. This example uses clear coat polyurethane for the finishing top coat. Make sure your wood piece is clean and dry…and raw wood. There should be no other finishes on it, or this treatment will not work.


It’s always recommended that you seal your project after staining to protect your project and prolong the stain color. Most wood stains don’t require two coats, but you can apply multiple coats if you want to alter the color. Water-based stains dry in 1 hour and can be recoated 1-2 have a peek at these guys hours after applying the first coat. The key is less about how you wipe it on and more about how much you wipe on. If you can see that your color is starting to get lighter, it’s time to re-dip your brush or rag. You want a nice even layer and color when you wipe the stain on.

With your staining brush or cloth, dip into the wood stain and stroke both ways . This can be messy, but you want to lay down a generous and thick coat. The one thing to think about here is that the gel stain sits atop the wood and doesn’t get absorbed into the pores. Therefore, it works well for ‘sappy’ woods that don’t take well to traditional stain. For example, it’s possible to use them on fences and kitchen cabinets. You may also like them for birch, pine, and cherry wood.

  • So it’s important that you stay on top of wiping, that is, whisking away excess stain as you work.
  • Staining is a matter of preference and it is not always necessary.
  • Wait minutes for the conditioner to absorb and wipe off the excess.
  • Using a clean, high quality synthetic bristle brush, apply the polyurethane to the crate using long, even strokes in the direction of the wood grain.

Sucking up the sawdust with a shop-vac has always worked well for me, but a microfiber cloth works too. If you can, sand before assembling the piece, that way it’s easier to sand everything evenly because all surfaces will be flat. Sanding, which is something you should be doing anyway, is also a really effective way to close wood pores. The finer the sawdust, the more it gets into the pores of the wood and helps to control stain absorption. The amount of sanding you’ll need to do depends entirely on what kind of wood you purchased. Cheaper lumbers, like construction lumber furring strips, and common boards will need to be sanded a lot.

How To Refinish Your Wood Dresser Or Table

Using a medium-low grit sandpaper, sand off the old finish and smooth out any imperfections in the wood. To remove finishes quickly from a large surface, try a belt sander. Be careful not to damage the item by sanding too deeply. Sand carefully by hand around any decorative details and curved areas on dressers. Leave that to penetrate for several minutes, and then wipe off the excess with a clean rag. Take a look at the color and see if you like it.

how to stain wood

Siding stain protects against solar radiation especially UV radiation, water, fungus including mildew, and insects. Different siding stains are distinguished by the appearance they impart to wood. Certain solvent-based or oil-based siding stains contain small amounts of paraffin wax, which cannot be painted over, although re-staining is still possible. A combination of coffee and vinegar or water is a natural alternative to synthetic wood stain.

Step 4: Stain

It’s easy to tell that the sanded wood looks 100 times nicer. If you plan to work with wood with any regularity, an orbital sander will make the sanding process a breeze, and is 100% worth the cost. Otherwise, they’re more expensive without a ton of extra benefit. Water-based stains don’t penetrate as much as oil-based stains, and therefore take more coats to effectively stain the piece. Gel stains are ideal for sanding softwoods because they’re thick. This reduces the amount of stain that’s absorbed into the wood, resulting in a more-even stain appearance.

Grab a rag, and wipe away the stain in the direction of the grain so that any marks blend into the grain. As mentioned above, I usually dip a rag into the stain, blot it somewhere else, then rub the stain onto the wood. Always rub in the direction of the grain, so that any rub marks blend into the grain. If you’re working with less expensive lumber, check out this full post on sanding wood before staining. I highly recommend making a test sample for every project you do.

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