Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wood Staining Basics

Wood finishing usually includes staining the wood in some way. There are five main reasons why you should apply some sort of stain to wood.

1. The color harmony of the woodwork with the furnishings of a home requires staining. This is because wood in its natural tones on furniture from tables and chairs to end tables and wood fireplace inserts does not usually harmonize well with textiles and the colors of the walls. Changing a garish, unpleasant color to a softer more attractive one that will take a place in a color scheme is an important reason for staining.

2. You can often obtain greater beauty in a particular article by applying stain. Sometimes you can achieve this by changing an inferior or cheap wood to make it look like an expensive, beautiful one, such as imitation mahogany finish on birch through staining.

The coloring obtained through the stain may bring out unsuspected qualities and beauty in the wood itself, by accentuating contrasts and bringing before the eye attractive natural characteristics which are not emphasized in the unstained material.

The reaction of the stain upon flakes or cells of the medullary rays, its effect upon the mass of wood fibers, and its greater absorption by the open pores or broken cell cavities, are all elements of great surprise that are very interesting and vary with different kinds of wood.

3. Staining often tones down natural wood colors that are displeasing to the eye. Sometimes only one part of a rail needs to be changed in color, such as in staining a streak or edge of sapwood to match the general color of the rest of the wooden bar rails

4. Sometimes you may resort to staining as a way of giving new wood an aged effect, as in weathered oak.

5. You can get greater durability in the wood, when it has been or will be exposed to the elements of the weather by the use of preservative stains made with creosote oil. No other finish is applied over creosote-stains. Oil-stains, if they contain certain quantities of drying-oils such as linseed-oil, will protect or preserve wood through the varnishlike film which is left as a covering after the oil has dried.

What is wood staining?

Wood finishers are beginning to give a very definite and narrow meaning to the word "staining," and, at present, generally exclude all materials that add an opaque pigment to the surface, calling
such coatings, which remain largely or partly upon or outside the surface, paints, lacquers, or enamels.

With this exclusion in mind, staining is a changing of hue or tone which is due to a chemical reaction or to the application of a liquid that enters to some extent into the interior, and with coloring matter changes the color of a layer of wood near the surface of the portico, ornamental pediment, or wood surface while still allowing the grain with its different cell arrangements to be seen clearly.

Staining should leave a transparent effect instead of obscuring the surface with opaque material such as pigments. The coloring-matter in stains should be in a thoroughly dissolved condition, instead of being in a turbid muddy paste, when it is applied to the wood.

Autor: Allison Ryan

Allison Ryan is a freelance marketing writer from San Diego, CA. She specializes in do-it-yourself home improvement, such as staining of wooden bar rails or ornamental pediment. For the best in the hardwood moulding industry, check out

Added: March 18, 2009