|Norm's Top Tips For Staining Interior Woodwork|
David: Remove hardware, such as knobs and hinges, before starting.
A stain might change the color of the metal, and unlike paint, you can't just peel it off when it's dry.
Make sure your workspace is well ventilated and relatively dry.
Hot, humid days are not ideal for staining, as the airborne moisture interferes with drying. Use a fan or open a window to keep air circulating; if the weather?s right, you can work outdoors. When using oil-based products, wear a respirator to avoid inhaling harmful fumes.
Know how water-based and oil-based stains differ.
The right pick for your project is largely a matter of preference. Water-based stains are low in order, clean up with soap and water, and dry a lot faster, so if you're not careful, they can leave lap marks or streaks from application. Plus, you'll need to lightly sand the wood between coats to knock back the grain. Oil-based stains have a longer working time, giving you more control over the finished look, but they release fumes and must be cleaned up with solvents. Both types have to be topped with a protective clear coat to safeguard the wood and the finish.
Always test first. The same stain-and-finish combo can look very different when applied to wood of different species and color-and even to woods that are prepped with sandpaper of varying grits. "It's a trial-and-error process," says Norm. Test either in a small, unobtrusive area of your project, or make samples of the same species so that you can try out different options side by side. Use the same prep technique on your project and your samples.
When in doubt, go lighter.
Unlike paint, you can't cover up a dark stain with a light one. So if you're not sure if that chocolate-brown tone is really your thing, opt for a medium-brown one first.
Experiment with different application methods-a bristle brush, a foam brush, a sprayer, or even a gag.
You can swab on stain with stokes that are parallel or perpendicular to the wood's grain. If using a rag, you can use light or heavy pressure, depending on how much color you want the wood to absorb. Which technique is best? "Whatever method gives you the look you want," says Norm. Keep notes on the techniques you use when making samples so that you can replicate the results when doing the project.
Always wipe off unabsorbed stain in the direction of the grain.
Rubbing against the wood's grain or in circles could create uneven swirl marks or blotches. And never let unabsorbed stain dry on the wood, as it will just peel off once the solvent evaporates.
The longer stain sits on wood, the deeper the finish will be.
You can also apply multiple coats of stain for the same effect, as Mauro did. To get a consistent look and color, use a timer to make sure you're wiping off the excess after the same interval for each area.
Use a stain and a finish with the same solvent.
Oil-based finishes don't adhere to water-based stains if the moisture hasn't fully evaporated from the latter. Adding a water-based finish over an oil-based stain can work if the products are compatible, but it's better to leave this technique to a pro. Err on the safe side by choosing like solvents for both