Furniture Staining Tips

A simple staining guide for both finished and unfinished furniture.

If you have never stained furniture in before, here are a few tips to start you on your way to becoming a furniture staining pro.

With all of the recent advances of wood strippers, primers and stains, there is absolutely no reason for you to hesitate about your decision to engage in this project. All that you really need to start off with is patience. You probably won't get it right the first time and you need to realize this. Rest assured that you will learn from your mistakes. A local hardware store with a wide variety of products won't hurt you either.

If your furniture of choice already has stain, polyurethane or both on it, you will need to buy a good quality, low fume stripper to remove the surface. Follow the manufacturer's directions on the back of the product. A fine grit sand paper will finish the job nicely for you by both removing any excess stain and polyurethane from the surface, and giving your furniture surface a smooth, clean look and feel which is one of the keys to a successful staining project.



If possible, bring your furniture piece outside to be stained as the fumes can get to you quickly. Before staining, you will need to apply a high quality wood primer which is made for staining, not painting. This type of primer will help to even out the wood's grainy surface to ensure an even color and coat of stain throughout your project. Make sure that your wood primer is thoroughly dried according to the manufacturer's directions before you even think about applying the stain.

Before you start to stain your piece of furniture, be sure that you have ample drop cloths on the floor and anywhere the stain might flick. Stain is a very watery substance and can fly off of your brush quite quickly. Another item to have before staining your project is a rag. You will need this rag to wipe off the stain as you go, as when you stain wood it is very different from painting. While paint adheres itself to your project, stain seeps into the wood penetrating beyond the surface. The rag will help to ensure that there is not too much stain on the wood. When there is too much stain, it will run causing very unattractive drips on your furniture. You can always apply another coat of stain, wiping it with your rag after application, if you would like the color of your stain to be darker or more vibrant.

Now it's time to decide if you want a high gloss finish, low gloss finish or any other finish in between. For this step, you will need a wood sealer or polyurethane. These types of sealers come in a wide variety of glosses, shines and fume levels. If you want a very shiny product, use an ultra-high gloss sealer. You don't need to wipe down the sealer with a rag after applying, but you do need to be very careful to not leave any drips. Remember once again, you can always apply another coat of sealer, but it would not be pleasant to have to re-do your entire project because of one, ugly drip.

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