How To Stain
|Tools: Sawhorses, sandpaper: medium (100)
and fine grade (220), paintbrush or paint sponge, drop
cloths, rags, latex gloves.
Materials: Stain, latex or oil base polyurethane.
Tip: Oil based polyurethane tends to yellow more with age
than latex, and brushes must be cleaned with paint thinner.
Latex can be cleaned with soap and water. Latex polyurethane
is just as durable as the oil based. Oil based polyurethane
may be more resistant to water.
Before you begin, try out your stain on a sample piece of
wood to make sure it is exactly what you want. The
polyurethane will deepen the color of the stain.
The main steps are sanding, staining, and a finishing coat
1. The first step is to sand out any roughness or
irregularities. Set up your sawhorses and lay several pieces
of trim out. Using your medium grade sandpaper, sand over
each piece till it is smooth. This step is to get the large
snags and irregularities out. Wipe with a dry cloth. Do all
the pieces you have, one at a time.
2. Using the fine grade sandpaper, gently sand over each
piece until perfectly smooth. Again use a dry cloth to
remove all dust. I sometimes use a paper towel I have
SLIGHTLY dampened with water to make sure I get it all, but
if you do this, you must wait until the wood is completely
dry to apply the stain.
3. Stain can be applied two ways. You can use a brush and
wipe off the surface stain immediately with a clean cloth,
or you can just dab the cloth right into the stain and apply
directly to the wood. You will want to wear gloves to do
this. Try both ways to see which one you prefer. Be sure to
get into every crack. The stain should be allowed to dry 24
4. Gently sand the stained wood with 220 grade sandpaper.
This is to help the polyurethane stick and provide a smooth
finished surface. Do not sand hard enough to remove the
color of the stain. Do not skip this step if you want your
woodwork to be nice and smooth.
5. Apply the polyurethane. You can use either a paint brush
or a paint sponge for this. I have tried both and I prefer
the sponge because it seems to coat more evenly than the
brush, although the brush will leave less air bubbles. You
want to apply a thin coat and let it dry thoroughly.
6. Gently sand again and re-coat with the polyurethane. I
recommend three coats of polyurethane with a gently sanding
in between each coat. The sanding in between is extremely
important for a smooth finish. Allow the trim to dry 48
hours before putting it on the wall.
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