Custom Staining &Refinishing
With all the products on the market, the topic of stain can be very intimidating. The aim here is to give you a bird's eye view of the process in order to simplify the topic. Hopefully, you will better understand the options available and how best to proceed with your project. Basically put, there are just three concepts you need to be aware of when it comes to staining:
(1) Types of stain
No matter how a product is labelled, there are really only two types of stain. There are dye stains and there are pigmented stains. Some products may even combine the two together, but at the end of the day there still remains only two types of stains. That's it.
Dye stains are lesser known. Traditionally they lack a binder and the finely ground pigments that paint and pigmented stains do. As a result they do not obscure the figure of the wood, but instead highight it. Most often these products are used for specific effects, some of which will be noted below.
Pigmented stains, in contrast, contain both a binder as well as pigments. Although they are transparent, they will begin to obscure the wood as subsequent coats are applied and the pigment builds up. Most readily availabe stains are pigmented stains. This is because pigmented stains are far more color fast and durable (due to the use of binders and pigments).
(2) Techniques for Applying Color
There are more ways to applying color to wood than simply slapping on stain to bare wood.
Toner coats are clear coats that have been tinted with dye stain. They can be used to adjust the color of previously stained objects or as a way of adding color evenly to woods that blotch.
Glaze is both a medium (product) and a technique (distinct stage in finishing process). As you may have guessed, it's typical to use glaze during the glazing process. However, it is also common to see gel stains (thick pigmented stains) used as a glazing medium. Once a stain has been applied and sealed, a layer of glaze may be applied to either the whole surface or just parts. It is a step that may either ajust the color of piece, or be used to simply highlight certain portions. Glazes are typically applied by hand whereas toners are sprayed.
(3) Protective Coatings
No matter whether a dye stain, pigmented stain, glaze or toner was applied, all methods must be protected with a clear top coat. Among those in common use are shellac, laquer, and polyurethane. In order of former to latter these finishes become progressively tougher. In most painting applications polyurethane is the go to product.
A protective clear coat should be applied in a minimum of (2) coats. Otherwise the protective coating will be too thin and will fail in its stated purpose.
A Brief Stain Primer
Some species of wood exihibit a natural beauty that would be a mistake to hide behind a paint coating. We are proud to offer a variety of products and techniques that enhance the natural figure and texture of the wood. Dye stains, pigmented stains, glazes, and toners are just a few of these resources that we bring to bear to color new woodwork or even freshen up old.
And yes, we do custom stain matching onsite. Maybe it's as simple as matching a banister to hardwood floors. Or perhaps it's something trickier such as finishing different species of wood to the same color. Whatever the case your project may be we are happy to tackle it.