Monday, May 5, 2008

Painting Tips:How To Stain and Finish Wood Trim

Staining natural wood trim is not the tedious project you might think. However, a smooth finish without bumps or brush marks will bring out the true beauty of your finished product. This article will show you just how to achieve that perfect stained and finished wood trim that will have an eye catching appeal in three days. You will learn what products and tools to use and how to use them. Let's begin!

Selecting the Wood Trim

When selecting trim at the store you want to choose trim that has been jointed for staining. This trim can be slightly more expensive because it has been jointed to conseal the joint as best as possible. Other trim is jointed with the idea that it will be primed and painted. When choosing the trim you will want to pick out the most appealing pieces that have similiar color, some pieces may be darker than others.

Sanding the Wood Trim

Sanding is the process that most folks in thier mind dread. This is really a very simple process in preparing your trim for staining and finishing. Sanding the bare wood plays an crucial roll in achieving a great finish by providing a uniform surface that can absorb the stain evenly and a smooth surface for the clear coat finish after staining the trim. We need to get rid of any sawmill "burnish" which is the shiny surface left from the mill cut. In addition sanding will remove any fibers and blemishes, which can be dirt, machine marks, finger prints or whatever can be sanded off.

There are different types of sanding equiptment and products you can use, but depending on the profile and size of trim will determine the correct one. For lage areas or areas that have chatter marks you can use an orbital sander. Sponge sanding can be used for flat surfaces, pads can be used for curves and folded sandpaper for crevices. Using 100 grit sandpaper you will always sand with the grain of the wood. Once you have achieved a smooth finish by touch and having a good look with some good lighting your piece will be finished. Achieving this will not be as bad as you think and should go fairly quickly. Once done be sure to clean the room of any dust!

Staining the Wood Trim

Using good quality finishing tools will make the process go easier and provide a quality finish. Purchace two good quality 2 1/2 inch china bristle brushes (around 20dollars each) to use for staining, dry brushing and applying the clear coat finish. Additionally you will need to have 100 percent cotton rags for wiping the stain. Disposable gloves to keep your hands free of stain and clear finish would be a good idea to. You will also need tack cloths to remove any dust between clear cot finishes that need to be sanded between coats.

Make sure you stir the stain and dip you brush in putting a generous ammount on then brush it accross the trim evenly. Once applied imediately wipe down the piece of trim and move on to the next piece doing the same. All the areas and pieces need to soak the stain with the same amount of time before wiping, so be consistant. Use new rags constantly when they become full of stain. Leave those rags out to dry up before disposing of them. Be sure the room you are staining in is well ventalated or and you have a quality charcoal mask! You will need to also dry brush any cracks and crevises the rags could not reach so the stain does not pool up and cause uneven dark spots. If the stain gets tacky before wiping just apply a little more stain to loosen it up. If thier are light areas or dark areas you can touch these up by wiping a bit more or putting more stain in the area and wiping it off again. The stained trim must now sit overnight.

Applying the Sealer

The stained trim is now ready for the sanding sealer. Brush the sanding sealer on the trim then "tip it off" immediately with long strokes of the brush down the length of the trim. Let this dry over night then sand lightly with sandpaper so there is a cloudy look to it. Then vacume any dust and use a tack cloth remove any remaining dust.

Applying the Varnish

Now just brush the varnish on, again "tipping off" as before for a smooth finish. Since trim does not get alot of use one coat should be good. If you desire thicker coats or thier were two many bumps and specks to just flick off you may sand the trim lightly with a fine sanding pad and put another coat of varnish on after making sure thier is no dust left over in the room or on the trim.

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