By Nancy Mattia, CTW Features
One of the great things about staining wood furniture is that it’s easy to do and you’ll get amazing results. You can stain a wood dresser and completely change its personality depending on the color you choose, or you can use a stain that will bring out the wood’s natural hues and grain. But if you’ve never worked with stain products before, there are a few tips you should know before you pick up a brush to start staining. Watch a few tutorials so you can understand things like how to remove excess product (use a clean cloth and wipe with the grain, not against it). Below are six things to keep in mind before starting your project:
1 To stay healthy, work in a well-ventilated room
Fumes emanating from stain products can make you sick (headaches, eye irritation, nausea). By working in a space with good ventilation, though, the concentration of vapors in the air is reduced, making it healthier to breathe. Gloves are also a necessity in order to avoid chemicals getting on your skin—wear vinyl or latex gloves if using water-based stains and nitrile gloves for oil-based products.
2 There’s more to stain colors than brown
According to Zar, a manufacturer of interior wood finishes, whites, grays and blacks are becoming increasingly popular wood stain colors for indoor and outdoor furniture. If you want to make more of a bold statement, choose a non-neutral color such as red or gold.
3 It’s a good idea to test out the stain before starting the project
Before jumping in with a brush and your chosen stain, test it on an out-of-view section of the furniture to see exactly what the stain color will look like when dry. Testing helps you avoid surprises and disappointments later.
4 Stain may drip so lay down a drop cloth
Just as you would if painting a wall, before you start staining, put a drop cloth under your work station to protect the floor from drips.
5 There’s a big difference between oil-based and water-based stains
Wood stains that contain oil last longer and are more durable than water based, according to Zar. They also provide a darker, richer color as they bind with the wood to create a film that reflects light. Water-based stains give off less fumes, are easier to clean up, and have shorter drying times but they don’t penetrate the wood as deeply as oil-based products.
6 Renting a power sander makes doing the job easier
Sanding the furniture before staining it is essential because it’ll remove blemishes, rough spots, and discoloration that exist on your furniture. Use sand paper if the wood furniture is small like a chair; for anything bigger, use a power sander, which you can rent from your local home improvement center.