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Stain can look REALLY gross

i'm going to show you how easy it is to properly stain and finish your furniture projects from construction lumber even if you're already experienced with finishing i have a couple of techniques to share that you might not have seen before so stick around your local home center will have all the products i'm using in this video or at least something similar i know you want to jump in and start staining because you're already exhausted from working on your project and you want to move on to greater and grander things and your better half is constantly reminding you to finish my towel wreck i asked for eight months ago but your stain absolutely relies on a well prepped surface so you gotta get sanding this is what it looks like when you don't sand a two by four and put stain on it terrible this is what it looks like when you stain construction lumber that's been send with bad technique even worse i know we all love sanding but here's the cliff notes start at 80 grit with your random orbit sander with no more pressure than the weight of your arm and traveling at one inch per second repeat for 120 grit 150 grit and finally 180 grit no higher use a pencil to mark your sanding area so that you know you sand it enough when the pencil mark disappears vacuum off the surface completely in between grits and when you finish connect your shopvac to your sander for the best results increase sandpaper life and healthier lungs you have to sand it's not optional sorry a gel stain is a slightly different type of product than a regular stain like the name implies it has a gel-like consistency that's heavily pigmented which results in the color penetrating less deep into the wood this can have an advantage but there's also a couple of disadvantages as well which i'll tell you about in a minute the most common first step in a stain method is to usually use a pre-stain conditioner which supposedly evens out the look of a stain by reducing the splotching that can be particularly noticeable in construction lumber and trust me you don't want your stain resembling my splotchy skin when i was in grade 11. but i'm here to say that you don't have to use it with a gel stain let me show you with a test [Music] even though the side with the conditioner is maybe a smidge lighter i don't notice any splotching or color variations on the side without so no puberty skin here because the gel stain sits on the surface rather than absorbing into the wood it doesn't give you any variations in color that's caused by differences in density this is an inherent advantage of a gel stain so gel stains are simpler right well sort of since we eliminated the conditioner and therefore save time and money but there's a bit of a trick to them removing the excess is absolutely crucial for gel stains i messed this up on the coffee table i built a while back and i had to sand off the entire top and redo it because i left too much excess on it looked terrible and uneven otherwise the application of gel stain is pretty much the same as any other stain just excessively wipe it on then wipe off the excess now one of the biggest misconceptions that new woodworkers have is that stain will protect your project you still need a protective finish on top of your stain and it's very common to use an oil-based polyurethane much like this one oil-based finishes will typically have an amber look to them which can give the wood a warmer and richer look and is also arguably more durable than a water-based acrylic which we're going to see in the next method the oil-based polyurethane is a strong finish but our application method left some streaks and imperfections that i will show you how to fix in later methods the gel stain did not excel in obscuring the construction lumber but rather it accentuated the growth rings in a pretty darn ugly way in my opinion the next method will give us more of an even tone have you ever heard the ancient proverb you must use a synthetic bristle brush to achieve a superior finish well you probably haven't because i just made that up what i'm really trying to say is that that hasn't really been my experience i don't think there is a correct applicator if you already have a preference between a bristle brush a foam brush and a rag then stick with what you like but here's what i find works best for me for applying the pre-stain conditioner a foam brush works great and it makes the work go fast foam brushes can get a bad rap if people get too violent with them but treat them like the delicate little tool they are and only use light pressure and they will remain intact for applying stain i like to use a clean cotton rag you can also use foam brushes too but i would just avoid using something like paper towel because the little fibers can become loose and remain in your finish for applying a clear finish i like using foam brushes again and that's because i've never really had much success cleaning bristle brushes i find they still degrade after a while which means more time spent and more money wasted also the finishing process isn't done with the last application of finish because i still have more sanding to do i'll talk more on that in a minute but this just means that the brush strokes you see now won't matter later if you've ever used oil-based stains and finishes you'll remember both how smelly they are and what a pain they are to clean up so my go-to solution for when i want something quick easy and no nonsense is to use water-based stain and finish water-based products are easy to clean up with soap and water and the lack of fumes means you won't incapacitate anyone in your household the key to using this stain is to use a water-based pre-stain conditioner before starting but scott you just said i didn't have to i know what i said but for this water-based stuff you need to don't trust me let's do another test it's apparent how much lighter the tone is with the priest a conditioner but that's not really an issue if you wanted it darker i would suggest buying a stain a shade darker than you think to anticipate the effect the conditioner will have or an extra coat might darken it up a bit too but look at how much more even it is than unconditioned pay close attention to the areas around the knots this is a dead giveaway of stained wood and using the pre-stain conditioner really helps alleviate this so yes it's necessary all you have to do is brush it on let it sit for a bit then wipe it off you have about a half hour to two hours to apply your stain after the conditioner the pre-stain conditioner has left the surface feeling a little rough because it raised the grain so be sure to knock it down with some 320 grit sandpaper so it doesn't feel like sandpaper the one downside with water-based stains is that they can dry very fast so you have to work quickly because of this if a section were to dry before you get the stain on the entire surface it might end up with overlaps that will look uneven so i wouldn't re

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