Magazine article Sunset

Stains Gain Pizzazz

Magazine article Sunset

Stains Gain Pizzazz

Article excerpt

Bright new colors dress up unfinished wood

Translucent wood stains comple- ment the natural beauty of wood by allowing the pattern of the grain to show. Traditionally, the range of stains has been limited to muted colors like earthy browns and grays. But recently the palette has broadened immensely. As shown by this three-toned side table, the sampler sticks, and the paint samples, a full spectrum of colors can now be applied to unfinished furniture or new wood cabinets. And many of these stains are waterbased, so application and cleanup are less of a challenge.

Hints for water-based stains

* Prepare the wood surface by removing any oil and dirt, then sand with 180- or 220-grit sandpaper. Remove dust with a cloth or vacuum.

* Water-based products will raise the grain of raw wood. Reduce this effect before staining by spraying the surface with water or wiping it with a damp sponge.

* Test the stain on the underside of the piece. For large surfaces, use a pad applicator. (The mildly abrasive surface helps knock down raised grain.)

* The best way to apply multiple colors is to take the piece apart. If that's impossible, block off areas with blue (painter's) masking tape. To prevent color from wicking through to an adjacent area, lightly score the boundary line with a razor blade. …

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