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.: Furniture Finishing Tips :.

Congratulations on your purchase of Ready-to-Finish furniture! Each piece of real 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, such as knots, blend during the finishing process to produce the uniquely attractive look of real wood furniture. While you may paint, varnish, or finish your furniture in other ways, we will talk about one of the most commonly used finishing processes - staining and top coating. To help you get the best results, here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare to finish your furniture using this method.

Liquid Stain

Gel Stain

Preparing The Surface

Your furniture has been pre-sanded, but most unfinished pieces need additional fine sanding. Sand lightly over the whole piece using 100 to 220 grit sandpaper (grit depends on the type of wood). The objective in pre-sanding is to open the pores of the wood consistently so it will accept the stain evenly plus, remove any dirt or oil that may be in the wood during shipping. Also sand any areas that are not very smooth. You don't need to sand extensively, just enough to get the super rough areas. The main reason for not sanding much is because once you put a wet substance on wood, it swells the grain and makes it rough again. This is very normal. The sanding you do between your coats of finish will smooth this out. This step should only take you 5 to 10 minutes.

Staining

Once you have sanded your piece, wipe off the dust created by sanding with a dry cloth. You are now ready to stain your piece of furniture. Stir the stain to be sure it is thoroughly mixed. Using a cotton cloth (old T-shirt), wipe on the stain with the grain. Do a test spot in an inconspicuous area so you can be sure of the stain color before proceeding. Stain one surface area at a time. Once you have stained it, you should go back over it and smooth out any rag marks you may have created while staining with a clean rag. Let your stain dry a minimum of 8 hours. We recommend over night in more humid conditions. If you desire the color to be a little deeper and darker, add one more coat of stain the same way you did the first. More than two coats of stain will not do much to the color. Once the staining is done, do not sand, only sand after the Clearthane.

Applying The Top Coat

You are now ready to put on your first coat of finish. Make sure that the stain is completely dry before you put your finish on. Apply the Clearthane the same way you put on the stain, with a cotton rag. Again, wipe it with the grain and just what the wood will accept. Let that coat dry overnight. The next day, lightly sand with the grain using 600 grit sandpaper or 0000 steel wool. Your piece of furniture is going to be pretty rough, but this is normal. Wipe off the dust with a dry cloth. Apply your second coat of Clearthane the same as the first. Again, lightly sand the entire piece after the second coat is dry. This time it should be almost completely smooth. Again, wipe off the dust with a dry rag. This is your last coat of finish. Apply it the same as the first two. Let it dry overnight. If it is not as smooth as you would like it to be, you can apply a fourth coat. Sometimes this is needed because the wood absorbed more of the finish. After your final application, do not sand. It is ready to use.


Enjoy your masterpiece!







Preparing The Surface

Your furniture has been pre-sanded, but most unfinished pieces need additional fine sanding. Sand lightly over the whole piece using 100 to 220 grit sandpaper (grit depends on the type of wood). The objective in pre-sanding is to open the pores of the wood consistently so it will accept the stain evenly plus, remove any dirt or oil that may be in the wood during shipping. Also sand any areas that are not very smooth. You don't need to sand extensively, just enough to get the super rough areas. The main reason for not sanding much is because once you put a wet substance on wood, it swells the grain and makes it rough again. This is very normal. The sanding you do between your coats of finish will smooth this out. This step should only take you 5 to 10 minutes.

Staining

Using a cloth or foam brush, apply a liberal amount of Gel Stain to the area of raw wood you are working. Divide your project into sections: drawer front, table or cabinet top, side of chest, etc. Keep the area wet with product while applying. Wipe away the excess with clean cloths or paper towels (use high quality paper towels that are absorbent - avoid the thin and crispy brands). Change to clean cloths or towels as they become full of product. Rub out the stain until the color is even, applying light pressure with your hand until the first layer of stain evens out in color. As the first coat of stain dries, the appearance will be dull or dry. Take heart, the beauty of the wood will come alive as you add subsequent layers of color and top coats. Additional coats of stain may be applied for a deeper, richer color.
Tip: Keep extra wiping cloths nearby as you work, replacing them as needed until you remove all excess gel stain. Be sure to remove all rag marks and smudges, turning and changing cloths as needed. Several thin coats will give a better result. Use an old dry bristle brush to remove stain buildup from the corners of molding, bead board, etc.

Applying The Top Coat

You are now ready to put on your first coat of finish or additional Gel Stain coats. The stain itself contains top coat material and can be used as a one can finish. If using a gel stain as a one can finish, we recommend using at least 2-3 coats. For maximum durability, apply a Topcoat over Gel Stain. Make sure that the stain is completely dry before you put your finish on. Apply the Clearthane the same way you put on the stain, with a cotton rag. Again, wipe it with the grain and just what the wood will accept. Let that coat dry overnight. The next day, lightly sand with the grain using 600 grit sandpaper or 0000 steel wool. Your piece of furniture is going to be pretty rough, but this is normal. Wipe off the dust with a dry cloth. Apply your second coat of Clearthane the same as the first. Again, lightly sand the entire piece after the second coat is dry. This time it should be almost completely smooth. Again, wipe off the dust with a dry rag. This is your last coat of finish. Apply it the same as the first two. Let it dry overnight. If it is not as smooth as you would like it to be, you can apply a fourth coat. Sometimes this is needed because the wood absorbed more of the finish. After your final application, do not sand. It is ready to use.


Enjoy your masterpiece!