The good kind of stain...
No, not the one in your undies... the kind that goes on wood silly. Let's talk about the stain selection for some current projects, and some stain basics.
House keeping, Happy Holidays! [I know its almost Christmas now, but...] I am writing this the day before Thanksgiving and I am so grateful for you to be here reading and learning, I'm grateful for this awesome business that continues to grow and serve more and more wonderful clients, and I am grateful for all of my friends and family that are loving and supporting me along the way, that's you too!
Not all cabinets get painted, most do these days and white is so popular! One of our current clients wanted to match the other cabinets in their home and be able to observe the natural organic beauty of the wood grain. So we broke out the trusty color guide and got up close to their existing cabinets, and what pleases their eyes. After selecting the closest color, we talk about the sheen of the polyurethane going on top; none, matte (flat), satin, semi-gloss, glossy, or liquid glass.
Now stain is, well... just that, a stain. It soaks in to the fibers of the wood and penetrates the surface with the new color. If you're reading this to brush up on your staining skills for a DIY project, then just remember, the more you put on, the more color sits on top of more color and the darker it gets! Generally you would wipe it on, let it sit for just a minute, and then wipe off the excess until you achieve the desired shade; of course you can spray stain too for the ultimate finish, no need to wipe then though. It is certainly highly recommended to use the wood conditioner that is available! It presoaks the wood to accept the stain in a more even way to prevent blotches and allow the grain to soak up the color more evenly.
Now, because it soaks in, stain is hard to change, unless you go darker... and yes, black stain is a thing. You can sand stain away but you are removing material from your part and if you're using plywood... well... be careful! You don't want to sand too deep and remove the whole top layer!
Here's what I really wanted to talk about.
Stain is translucent, which means its kind of clear, like a tint of sorts. That is how it builds, BUT just like the same tattoo looks different on dark skin versus light skin, the TONE of the color of a stain changes depending on the hues and tones underneath. The red in a cherry is going to change and interact with the hues of the stain to produce a different tone. Maple is a little brighter than oak, and so they look different, even though its the same color! A little more obvious, but something dark like walnut may not react well to stain because it is so dark, but you can use stain to change the warmth or cool of a wood to match your vibe, so don't count it out!
Look at this board, see the subtle difference? Now, granted the two on the ends were very light colors to begin with, but they all represent one coat vs many.
Different types and grains of wood also show stain differently. Stain will soak more densely into pores and scratches, so those areas may get darker more quickly and increase the contrast in your finished product.
Then we usually put that poly over top, and that changes the game again! Look into a can of polyurethane... can you see the bottom? Nope... its got its own color too! Now granted its almost nominal because of how little goes on top, but it does effect the way the light reflects the color inside of or beneath the poly, and some poly is even tinted (honestly not a bad idea to tint your first few layers of poly with some of your stain of choice to add some depth to your finish, just don't go to dark). The glossier the sheen the more depth and detail, and easier to clean, but the softness of the reflection of a satin can be Oh! So beautiful! As you can see above, we use an fine HVLP sprayer to apply poly for the best finish!
Now... no, this type of stain doesn't come out with a tide pen... just ask me how I know... 😅
Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Blessings to you and yours,