How to Finish Wood After Staining?

Staining woods is one of the most satisfying ways of making them look exotic. Staining gives that classy appeal and a sense of depth we all appreciate in wooden furniture. However, you don’t want to lose this exoticness pretty soon, and this brings about the question of how to finish wood after staining.

Ordinarily, there is an eagerness to quickly run fine paint over your stained pieces of wood to make them more beautiful. Doing this will give you beauty, but this beauty will fade away pretty soon. The secret of retaining an aged long finish on stained wood isn’t complicated. All you need is to master the art of finishing.

It’s Never Perfect Unless Sealed

We are confident that you have meticulously prepared your wood. You must have sanded the surface pretty well, gotten rid of dust, and lavished your fine wood surface with a fair coat of stain. However, it is always a half-job done when stained wood is without sealer.

There are some wood stains or dye products that come with a mixed-in sealer, and it appears that you are saving a lot of money and time. However, if you want to be a master at this art called finishing, we advise you to go the old-fashioned way, using a separate sealer product.

Not sealing the surface of your stained wood leaves the surface porous and susceptible to further unwanted stains. While you enjoy the view of rich color on the surface, without the proper sealing, it looks less exotic and lacks the sheen. Set a glass of chilled water on such a surface, and it leaves a wet ring you may never get rid of.

Sealing your stain or dye into the wood gives the piece a polished appearance, a luxurious sheen, and closes the pores on the surface. This allows a wipe-off when substances that could further discolor your piece smear on its surface.

Options for Finishes

There are many sealers you can finish your stained wood with. The options are quite a lot, but sadly, not many are still quite effective or give the kind of exotic finish you crave in this modern world.

1. Wax

You can explore the wax option if you don’t mind dedicating some days at an interval to regular re-waxing. This isn’t a great option we can recommend but definitely has earned a global spot in the league of available wax options.

2. Conditioners for Wood

They don’t exactly leave that very appealing sheen on your wood piece for so long, but they are also one of the options available in the wood finish market today. It could be either an oil-based or water-based wood conditioner. However, it works more as a pre-staining agent that gives the staining a more perfect finish.

3. Varnish and Lacquer

It isn’t strange to find stained wood being coated with regular varnish or lacquer to create a somewhat glossy surface. They are inexpensive and very easy to use. Also, they last longer on wood surfaces, even though you might have to sacrifice that deep sense of class if you only rely on them as your final wood finish.

However, our most recommended perfect finish options are polyurethane or polycrylic, and it doesn’t matter whether it is water or oiled-based. There have been many questions as to what major differences are attributed to water-based and oil-based forms of polyurethanes and polycrylic. Well, we must say it is the stench. By now, if you are pretty familiar with wood products, you will know that most oil-based products stink.

Water-based polyurethane and polyryclic dry up faster than oil-based ones. This means you wouldn’t experience as much dripping with oil-based, when painting over stained wood with polyurethane and polycrylic, as you would with water-based products.

Since oil-based products are much thicker, you may not need a repeated application to achieve the desired surface. The water-based ones may require several coats if you desire a long-lasting surface.

Sanding Between Coats

You are going to discover a very interesting thing while coating your stained wood with polyurethane and polycryclic. BUBBLES! They are very interesting things to see, but they may leave your wood surface with an ugly appearance if you don’t get rid of them while finishing your wood.

While working your tricks with the brush on the wood surface, the bubbles will start to appear. It is a sign that the quite porous surface is soaking in your finish, and the deeper it sinks in, the longer and more durable the finish will stay on the surface.

All you have to do is to continue painting over the bubbles as they appear. It is very important to smooth the bubbles out as they appear. You may leave each coat for five minutes to allow some level of penetration.

Sometimes, bubbles pop off when the finish starts to dry, but by leaving for a few minutes, you save yourself the stress of running excess coats. All you then need to do is to brush out the remaining bubbles that are yet to pop. Also, while coating, you need to be on the watch for side drips. We all hate drip lines on any surface, and you have to brush them out as soon as you identify a spot with them.

Now that you have popped the bubbles out and smoothed the drips off, it’s time to let some air into your surface. Letting the first perfect coat dry on your surface is very important in your finish process because it is the foundation for durability.

After the first coat of polyurethane or polycrylic is dried, it’s time to sand over the surface. A 220 grit of sandpaper is ideal for this task, and you may choose a higher grit depending on the type of wood or surface you are dealing with.

Sanding smooths out the surface, gets rid of quite invisible bubbles you might have overlooked, and reveals the depth of penetration your stain and the first layer of finish have achieved.

After sanding, you may apply a fresh layer of coats all over, let it sink in, and dry, then you may sand it over again until you have that perfect and luxurious final appeal on the wood surface. Always make sure you give the surface a little sanding over between coats for that perfect final exotic appeal.

Final Thoughts

Creating that classy, luxurious, and artistic appeal to your wood requires time, patience, and meticulousness, but the final result is always something to be excited about. However, understanding how to finish wood after staining starts right from prepping the wood for staining and the thoroughness of using the right material even after staining.

You also need to understand that bubbles on the wood are the enemies of perfect wood finishing. Therefore, never forget to sand between coats until that final appeal you intend to create is achieved.

About Sam Maxi

Hi, this is Sam Maxi. I love talking about woodwork tools and my reviews are mostly based on the experience I have from my work. Apart from reviewing, I am a huge fan of surfing. Also, I love watching horror genre movies.

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