DIY Finishing - Finishing Techniques

Wiping the applied wood stain marks the pores, evens out the colour and highlights its natural pattern

We can stain wood using different stains and application methods, achieving a variety of effects. We have seen herein one of the episodes of the series Finishing gurus, how wood can be uniformly stained using fast-drying solvent-based stains. Another range of stains, with different characteristics, helps us to achieve uniform staining on very large surfaces, such as parquet. See the full presentation here.

In the video at the end of this article, made with materials provided by Lomilux Cluj, our partner in this project, is presented a series of baths whose application technique includes wiping. Find out when to use this technique below.

Erasing brings out the pores and natural grain of the wood

The berry wipe is used to achieve highlighting of the wood design and uniform staining. It is used on wood with pores, but also on dull wood which, unstained, is very uniform, with no elements to personalise it. This is the case foraspen emu, you, some softwoods and other species with small pores and hardly noticeable differences between late and early wood. Poplar wood for example, much used a few years ago to make old-looking furniture, also called poor art, is coloured yellowish white and the design is almost invisible. Stained with such an eraser, the design takes shape, resulting in a very nice looking piece of furniture.

The colour is also evened out by wiping. Unlike non-erasing uniforming stains, which hide the wood, they do not blur the wood pattern. Wiping pushes the stain evenly into the wood and so areas that would normally absorb less stain and remain lighter in colour are stained.

Excess material is needed to wipe without the surface drying out during the operation. So more material is applied, enough for wiping but not so much that it will leak. The mixture can be sprayed, applied with a brush, sponge or trowel.

Wiping is first done in circular motions so that the bath gets into the pores and the fibre, and then wiped along the fibre for uniformity. The excess quantity will allow the bath to enter the pores and wet them and thus the design formed by them will be even better highlighted. Wiping also controls the amount of berry entering the wood, which contributes to uniform staining.

Series BXGLW/XXXX , water-based indoor baths

Ash wood, a large-pored, light-coloured wood, was chosen for the demonstration. The staining was done on ash veneer, but the effect can also be achieved on solid wood. Walnut berry was used to contrast as much as possible with the ash wood, and in the end the appearance is similar to walnut.

The application was done with a special brush to show that there is no need to spray the bath to get the desired effect. Wiping is done immediately after application so as not to leave too much time for the wood to absorb uncontrolled.

The series is water-based, an important aid in factories that need low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and can be used easily. A water-based wood stain will, however, lift the wood grain more, as it will be very visible after the first coat of primer has been applied.

Sanding between layersmade with abrasive paper with a grain size of more than 240 in the case of a matt topcoat and more than 400 if it is glossy, will remove these small but rough-looking fibres if not removed. Sanding also removes the small air bubbles in the film that occur especially in large-pored wood.

Lomilux has a lot of these bath series, both for indoors, like the one in this presentation, and outdoors. They are differentiated by the way they are applied, the substrate they are applied to, the resistance of the stains to direct sunlight, the type of solvent, etc. There are colour cards for each of them and you just have to contact them to find out which is the most suitable stain for the furniture you are producing.

In the video below you can see how simple it is to apply such a bath and how pleasant the final effect is. If you have any questions about how to apply or the characteristics of the berries, leave them below in the dedicated space. I will certainly answer you.

About the author

Mihaela Radu

Mihaela Radu is a chemical engineer but has a great passion for wood. She has been working in the field for more than 20 years, wood finishing being what defined her during this period. She gained experience working in a research institute, in her own company, as well as in a multinational. She wants to continuously share her experience with those who have the same passion - and more.

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