Different Wood Stains for Your Small Woodworking Project

TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects

Both types of stains are vary valuable as part of your finishing repertoire. You are really missing out if you only use one.
While the traditional thin-bodied stain is still widely used, the gel stain when used correctly is a great substitution for any project. It does not penetrate the wood as well as a thin-bodied stain does as it stays on the surface of the wood and spreads more like jam or jelly. The thin-bodied stain is more of a liquid and spreads on very thin. A gel stain can cover porous and non porous wood without any problems. Although thin bodied stains are ideal for the more porous grain wood such as oak, ash, and mahogany, because it can bring out the depth of the wood grain better than a gel stain can.
Gel stains tend to not run or splatter, so for any vertical projects I would strongly consider using this type. Non porous wood such as, pine, birch, maple and cherry is a perfect setting for gel stains. Non porous wood tends to have end or edge grains that pop-up so when use thin-bodied stains on them you will see the irregularities. The gel stains do well to cover up the grain and give you a more uniform color throughout the stained piece of wood. There is another option for non porous would where you can use a conditioner to seal a hard staining wood.
Once sealed you can use a thin bodied stain. I do not like this option compared to using a gel stain for this application. Another great time to use this type of stain is when you have wood of different species or color. If you have no choice but to use two different looking pieces of wood this stain will help keep the project looking uniform. If your woodworking project has tight corners or crevices I would not recommend using gel stains as they tend to build up around this where as the tight-bodied stains don’t have this issue.
As you can see these two stains are perfectly acceptable for all options. They each have their points where they are just a little bit stronger but for a novice woodworker a gel stain is always a good choice. They really are fool-proof and will turn out a good-looking piece of wood every time where a thin bodied stain takes a little more patience. As you get more comfortable with staining you will learn which one to use on each woodworking project.

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TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects