Oil-based finishes are known for imparting a deep, rich appearance to wood. They typically add a warmth that seems to glow and even radiate from the surface. If you're looking for a way to make your projects really pop, an oil-based finish may be just what you need.
Sand the Wood
Finishing highlights the beauty of wood, but the process also magnifies imperfections. Sand the wood smooth and repair all defects before finishing.
To produce smooth surfaces, always sand with the grain of the wood. Depending on the surface's smoothness you may need to start with 80 grit, move to 150 grit, and finish with 220 grit. Use a tack cloth to remove dust between sandings.
Apply Sanding Sealer
Wood is a natural material with pores and grain patterns that accept stains at different rates. Even in the same board, shifts in grain patterns can cause blotching. Blotching occurs when larger pores or wavy grain patterns absorb too much stain and appear much darker than the surrounding material. A quality sanding sealer can be used to counter the effects of blotching.
Simply apply a light coat of sanding sealer with a rag or soft-bristled brush. Allow the sealer to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. Rub the wood with fine steel wool to smooth the surface. Apply another light coat of sanding sealer, and allow it to dry.
Tip: Stain shades vary in appearance on different wood species. Always test stain on wood of the same species as the material with which you are working. When possible, test in the same type of light prevalent where the completed piece will be displayed. Colours appear to change when they are exposed to different light sources, based on the spectral colours that make up the light. Yellow is the dominant colour in incandescent light (regular light bulbs), and blue-green is dominant in fluorescent light (common in most shops).
Prepare the Stain
Stir the stain according to the manufacturer's instructions. To maintain an even colour, stir the stain periodically during application. When finishing large pieces that require more than a single can of stain, mix all the stain together in one container before applying. Mixing the stain in the beginning helps to ensure even colour distribution.
Apply the Stain
Tip: Once you achieve the desired effect with the stain, protect it from scratches and moisture damage with a topcoat of clear, oil-based finish.
Always apply finishing materials in a well-ventilated area, wear eye protection and rubber gloves to prevent exposure to finishing materials, and read and follow the manufacturer's instructions and cautions.
Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes, and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors, or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures.