Each piece of solid wood furniture
is an original, the result of nature's handiwork.
Every item has its own grain pattern and color,
according to the character of the wood. Light and
dark areas blend during the finishing process to
produce the uniquely attractive look of real wood
While you can paint, varnish or
finish your furniture in other ways, one of the
most commonly used finishing processes is staining
and topcoating. To get the best results, here are
Furniture's tips to help you finish your furniture
using this method.
Preparing the surface
Most unfinished pieces need additional
fine sanding before finishing to avoid surface fuzz
or roughness that will show when the stain is applied.
Always sand in the direction of
Pine, Alder and Parawood should
be sanded with medium sandpaper, generally no finer
If wood fill has been used to cover
nicks or holes, be sure the residue has been sanded
well. If not, the area around the fill will not
stain properly and may have a blotchy look.
Stains contain colored pigments
that often settle to the bottom of the can and must
be thoroughly mixed before application. It may take
as much as five minutes to thoroughly dissolve the
"mud" so that the color remains consistent as the
contents are used up.
To apply stain, Pop’s recommends
using Foam Brushes or a HandiPainter. You can use
almost any type of rag (cotton works best) cut approximately
10 inches square (larger ones sometimes get in the
way). Stain can be applied in any direction, usually
Read and follow the directions
on each container. The manufacturer knows its products
and will tell you how to get the best results.
Do a test "doodle" on the piece
first on the back, bottom or other inconspicuous
area check the stain color before proceeding. If
the stain looks evenly coated and you like the look,
one coat staining is adequate. If the stain is too
light or uneven, a second coat of stain may be needed
before the topcoat is applied.
Stain one surface at a time, and
do the corners and uneven areas first. Do these
areas when the applicator has the most stain on
it so you can get full penetration. You can then
spread the rest on the flat areas.
As you stain each area, wipe with
the grain to remove excess stain, then move to another
area. As you finish, go back over the entire piece
with a clean rag to pick up all excess stain and
wipe the surface dry.
The Topcoat and Sanding
Most clear topcoats are designed
to be wiped on. Pop’s recommends using a Foam
Brush, HandiPainter or small roller. Be sure to
apply at least three coats of clear finish to all
seen areas. Apply at least one coat of clear finish
to all unseen surfaces to prevent cracking as the
piece continues to dry out over the years.
Allow coating to dry. The surface
will feel gummy if not fully dry, and drying time
will vary depending on weather conditions and product.
Sand the second dried coating with
very fine #400 or #600 wet/dry sandpaper to remove
any fuzz. Wipe sanded piece with a tack cloth
Feel the piece with your hands
and sand any areas that still seem fuzzy.
Fuzz and dust must be removed before
applying final coat. It will not go away until you
take care of it.
You are looking for a consistent
sheen. If after three coats you have it, and if
water protection is not a major concern, the job
is done. If you have uneven sheen, apply additional
coats, sanding lightly and wiping with a tack cloth
between each application. If water resistance is
a goal, we recommend four coats of finish on the
surface area of concern, usually the top.
Congratulations! You have
a beautifully finished piece of furniture you will
be proud of for years to come. For a selection of
unfinished furniture products click