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Frequently Asked Questions
Start your project confidently and get the answers
to some of the most frequently asked questions
regarding wood staining.
Technique - Adding Stain After Polyurethane
Q: My table has two coats of stain and one coat of polyurethane on it. What do I need to do before applying another coat of stain?

A: If you already have a coat of polyurethane over two applications of stain, further staining is out of the question. You can darken the wood either with glaze or toner, both of which are available at most paint and home stores. Glaze is thickened stain designed to go in between coats of finish, and toner is simply tinted clear finish.
Technique - Applying a Second Coat of Polyurethane
Q: Do you advise applying the second coat of waterbased polyurethane after two hours or do you suggest waiting 24 hours?

A: I’d wait. More internal drying time means a quicker overall cure and usually, a better finish.
Technique - Thinning Wood Filler
Q: Can wood filler be thinned with mineral oil?

A: Nope. Neither oil based nor waterbased filler can be thinned with mineral oil, since it is a non-drying oil and will prevent the filler from every drying. However, you can thin oil based wood filler with mineral spirits, which in spite of a similar sounding name, is an entirely different material. You can not use either to thin waterbased filler.
Technique - Two Tone Finish for Pine
Q: I would like to create a two tone finish on some new pine. I would like the overall finish to be a mahogany type brown with gradually darker tones in the corners and crevices of the woodwork.

A: You are describing a fairly typical two-step coloring process. First, stain the wood to the lighter background color. Seal the piece with a coat of whatever finish you have decided to use, then glaze.

Glaze is a thick, usually somewhat slower drying version of stain that is designed to go in between layers of finish instead of into the raw wood, which is what stain does. The steps are seal, glaze, and topcoat. I find it best to stick to one medium throughout; if you are planning on using waterbased glaze, use either Zinsser SealCoat or a waterbased sealer, followed by a waterbased topcoat above the glaze coat. For oil glaze, use oil based sealers and coatings as well. Bear in mind that waterbased topcoats go on clear and stay clear, while oil based ones go on slightly amber and become more amber over time.

You can mix your own glaze using pigments, thinners, and binder; modify paint into glaze by thinning thick paint; or buy ready-to-use glaze at the paint or home store. Obviously, the last option of the three is the easiest. Most home stores now carry both pre-colored waterbased glazes and clear glaze base that you mix with any latex paint to make a custom color glaze.

Apply the glaze to the sealed wood, and wipe off as much or as little as you like, while it is still wet, to get the look you want. Let it dry, and topcoat it with whatever clear finish goes with the glaze.
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