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Jonathan_hodgkins's avatar

Treating wood used for furniture?

Asked by Jonathan_hodgkins (397 points ) July 13th, 2010

I’m finishing up a wooden bench that I’ve been building and I’m almost ready to stain it before I put the pieces together. Any suggestions for treatment of the wood before I stain it? What could I use that would bring out the grain and what could I use that seals up any gaps in the wood. It’s made of poplar because it’s my first piece of furniture.

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10 Answers

rebbel's avatar

Staining? Is that painting? Edit: I found it on Wiki.
To get the grains out…, they usually will come out after your first lair/film (i don’t know the correct word) of wood stain has been put on.
You have to sand it after that first lair and put a second lair, sand it again (lightly with a high (180, 220) number sanding paper), then the third and last lair.
The gaps can be filled with fluid wood, if they are not too big.
Fill the gaps, put a little more then needed in the hole, so that it is a little sphere, because it will sink in when drying.
Finish it with a bit more fluid wood (once dry, the next day) if needed or else sand it and stain it.

majorrich's avatar

The best advice I can give came from my father. Sand the piece until you are satisfied, then sand it two more times. Tack cloth it carefully then follow what rebbel said

anartist's avatar

Next time you build something find out how aged the wood is and maybe if necessary let it age a bit before cutting. Above advice is sound.

jca's avatar

i bought something once at Home Depot and it was like a “pre stain wood finisher” or something. it was colorless when dried, and it made the wood receptive to stain. i don’t know if it was really necessary, as wood stains just fine on it’s own.

another nice, smooth finish is Tung Oil. It’s not a water based product, it’s like an oil but it dries hard like polyurethane. it does not bubble like poly, and you don’t have to sand between layers. just apply with either rag or brush, let dry (24 hours between coats) and put on two or three or four coats for a beautiful finish. in a few years, if you want to touch it up, you can either apply more coats or sand scratches and apply more. like i said, it dries hard like a shell.

lilikoi's avatar

I don’t know of anything to apply pre-staining. Make sure whatever you use is compatible. You don’t want to apply anything that would prevent the stain from taking. There are other options to staining. Usually staining makes the grain less visible (in my experience) because it darkens the wood. I have a couple of different oils that I work into the wood that brings out the grain. Also a sealant type of product like shellac would bring the grain out. Stain is basically absorbed by the wood whereas something like shellac creates a shiny-ish finish and kind of seals the wood. I have finished pine first with stain then with shellac – doesn’t make the grain stand out (although there’s not much grain in pine anyway) but it does give it a smooth finished texture that is a little shiny. When I use oil to finish, it can really bring out the grain but it is more matte not shiny. Stain alone will be matte.

Cruiser's avatar

Use a grain sealer to fill in the gaps and grain….let dry then sand and then a pre-stain conditioner

ahec_europe's avatar

The best treatment for Poplar is to use a stabilising oil, combined with biocide to protect the poplar against decay and deterioation from exposure to external weathering. The oil based finish penetrates the wood through a standard treatment delivery process to 3 to 5 mm giving the timber a long lasting resistance to water penetration and mould.

jaytkay's avatar

@ahec_europe Is a biocide necessary for indoor furniture? I have seen it used on outdoor furniture but not indoor.

perspicacious's avatar

Sand and sand and sand a little more. Be sure to use tack cloth to remove every tidbit of dust. Then stain and seal. If the grain is really pretty I would use a medium color stain. I’m not a pro but finishing wood is fun to me. Actually I’ve never treated the wood prior to staining. It would seem such a treatment might keep the wood from accepting the stain as well, but I could surely be wrong about that.

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