I am looking for advice on the best way to stain a large surface. I have
a fairly large table top to stain. I want to avoid splotches/uneven
appearance. I am leaning toward spraying the stain vs. using a brush,
roller or rag. The stain I will be using is necessarily water-based.
(The final finish is a water-based poly....) Do I just do it in
manageable sections or flood the entire surface and wipe up with rags
I have succesfully stained smaller project but a table top is going to
offer a totally new experience for me.
Thanks, as always, in advance....
Depends on the type of wood. What is it?
Just better not be Cherry or the "Stain Police" will run you in.
If it is Maple everyone will suggest aniline dye -- see Lee Valley or
others. I have a collection here I use for unusual effects in carved
scroll work etc.
I have used Minwax pre-stain conditioner if I think that a finish will
"splotch" due to color additives. It works for me.
I have done large surfaces with the Danish oil/Tung Oil type finishes.
No problems with color etc.
As far as water based goes.... I find that they are a PITA - I would
rather use oil/solvent based wipe on poly. Had great luck with that.
Did a desk suite with water based -- won't do it again. Too many bubbles
- too much care required. I would rather put on my nice organic vapor
mask and use wipe on poly or an oil based finish.
$.02 please -- I need the cash :-)
The wood is white oak. Veneered in with 1/8" strips of Wenge. It
actually a desk top. But as big as a table top. A little more background
- I have been trying to keep my postings to a smaller size as I am at
work (and on a 50K dial-up vs home on broadband :( ). I have already
stained all the drawer fronts, the pedestals and center drawer supports.
The smaller items are easy to stain and all look great. Then I stained
the desktop only to find that it was badly streaked and splotchy. I
sanded the top back down to bare wood. I have intentionally filled the
pores using a Behlen grain filler too. The top is baby-butt smooth -
sanded to a 320 grit finish. I have never sprayed a stain to date and I
am using ProCoat waterbased semi-transparent stain. Anywhere I overlap
brush stroke leaves a markedly darker streak when I wipe the stain off
the surface to allow the grain to show through. I can wipe it on with
rags I guess but I have to adhere to following the grain closely or it
looks like hell. So.....spray? I do have an expensive gun (I used to
paint cars) in my tool crib. I was looking for advice on avoiding the
crappy look I so far have been getting.
Try the Minwax pre stain conditioner on a small sample piece. I suspect
it will help.
Even Pine stains ok after a coat of that stuff. Just follow the
directions on the can. -- about $12 CDN even.
Beyond that -- there are people more expert than I on spraying...
I have some (quarter sawn) white oak here for a project -- think I will
stick to a wipe on oil now. :-)
Spraying vs wipe on vs brush will only make a minimal difference. Even
surface prep is a big part of what will happen. Honestly, going to 320,
especially on a hard wood like WO is probably too fine. At this fine of
a surface then the variances in the density of the wood will show more
prominately, ie possibly blotchy. With a rougher grit, you are creating
more places for the stain to reside and the color of the stain will be
stronger and more even.
I'd wet the suface and let it dry, then do a light sanding with 150. I
know is seems sacreligious (sp?) but you will get a better more evben
tone. Just add a few more coats of the final finish and it'll flatten
out just fine.
Also, my experience with water based stains is that I like to really
sloch it on and grind it into the suface followed by almost buffing it
out to relly get it even.
WO should not be generally be blotchy.
If you could match the color sufficently, you could go with a premixed
NGR stain. Once the alcohol is gone, you can go water based over it. It
will give an even color on anything (in my experinece). However,
lapping marks are hard to avoid so it's kind tough for big surfaces.
Although I do it and just feather in any lapped areas with another wash
of stain. You can get this from the nice folks at Wood Finish Supply.
Try Watco Danish oil stain, goof proof , compatible with water based top
coat, let dry a couple of days before topcoating.
Apply with a rag try to keep top wet let set for 5-10 min. then wipe off
with grain. Follow instructions easy as pie.
I have no problem with large surfaces when using quality Gel stains. I
typically use Bartleys gel stains. Simply wipe on a generous amount to an
area and immediately wipe it off. Wipe on more and wipe it off. Practice a
bit on a scrap.
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