Stains, Varnishes, Shellacs

As we mentioned in earlier post Re-finishing Cabinets, we will discuss wiping stains, varnishes, and shellacs, giving the advantages & differences. These wiping stains generally are stained on bare wood, top coated with a protective hard finish with multiple coats giving a deep luster in desired sheen. Sheen can vary from Matt, Low Luster, Gloss, High Gloss, which samples can be seen at local paint outlets. Before going any further, the highest degree of importance must be given on safety tips, and painting industry standards  listed below.

  • Adequate ventilation must be available, never in a confined room
  • Eye protection & Respirator w/charcoal filters are a necessity
  • Rubber latex gloves keep contaminants and chemicals from skin absorption
  • All rags used should be laid out flat, wadded up is a fire hazard and could easily ignite
  • All open flames such as pilot lights for water heaters, stoves, furnaces should be turned off

Therefore, interior painting has it's hazards, and precautions need to be in place. Qualified Painting Contractors have the knowledge and expertise taking these steps,  ensuring no accidents take place.  However, if doing this kind of work on your own, all these steps are equally important, not short-cutting even the smallest detail.

1. Interior Wiping Stain: Solvent Based

  • Applied to bare wood with rags or brush in about 2' sq. sections, soaking in about 5 minutes. Wiping off excess, allowing to dry usually 12 hours.
  • Darkness will depend on wood and grain coloration, porosity of wood grain, time left on before wiping, and the number of applications and quantity of each.
  • If sample piece of wood is available, try making a template, reproducing exact match as was done on template.

2. Tung Oil Finishes

  • Applied to bare wood, Tung Oil Finishes usually fine hardwoods such as Walnut, Mahogany, Red Oak, Hickory, and Ash.
  • Applied to bare wood with rags or brush in about 2' sq. sections, soaking in about 5 minutes. Wiping off excess Tung Oil Finish, allowing to dry usually 12 hours.
  • Multiple coats of Tung Oil Finish,  hand rubbed gives a unique Fine Furniture appeal, typically in a Matt Finish.

3. Varnishes: Solvent Based being Alkyd or Polyurethane

  • More expensive than Water Based Acrylic products, Solvent Based Varnishes being petroleum based, having high V.O.C's (volatile odor content), making highly flammable.
  • Typically sprayed for an even uniform finish, Solvent Based Varnishes applied to bare or stained wood.
  • Sanding sealers are applied before Varnishes for a complete uniform finish. Sanding sealers typically white after dried, must be lightly sanded, sanding off white dried film.
  • At least 2 coats, sanding in between, wiping ALL particles off before spraying additional coat
  • Allowing 2 hours in between coats, but follow manufacture's instructions

4. Water Based Acrylic Urethane

  • Less expensive than Alkyds and becoming more popular as to Eco Friendly Green products, Water Based Acrylics are the new kid on the block.
  • Water Based Acrylics may appear white opening up can, but dries to a clear finish
  • Typically sprayed for an even uniform finish, Water Based Acrylics applied to bare or stained wood.
  • Sanding sealers are applied before Varnishes for a complete uniform finish.
  • Sanding sealers typically white after dried, must be lightly sanded, sanding off white dried film.
  • At least 2 coats, sanding in between, wiping ALL particles off before spraying additional coat of Water Based Acrylic
  • Allowing 2 hours in between coats, but follow manufacture's instructions

5. Shellac: Alcohol Based

  • Shellac is yellow in nature, but dries to a clear finish
  • Shellac will not darken wood, and dries very quickly
  • Shellac whitens with direct contact with water, such as a wet frosted glass leaving glass rings
  • Shellac cleans up with denatured alcohol.
  • Do not use Shellac where alcohol products may come in contact with finish, such as window cleaners, colognes, perfumes, and alcoholic drinks are served

6. Conversion Varnishes: Falls under category Solvent Based being Alkyd or Polyurethane

  • More expensive than Alkyds considering additives needed mixing exactly to milliliters
  • Much more expensive than Water Based Acrylic products, Solvent Based Varnishes being petroleum based, having high V.O.C's (volatile odor content), making highly flammable.
  • Typically sprayed for an even uniform finish, Solvent Based Varnishes applied to bare or stained wood.
  • Sanding sealers are applied before Varnishes for a complete uniform finish. Sanding sealers typically white after dried, must be lightly sanded, sanding off white dried film.
  • At least 2 coats, sanding in between, wiping ALL particles off before spraying additional coat
  • Allowing 12 hours in between coats, but follow manufacture's instructions
  • Similar to car finishes, more care is needed using a Conventional Sprayer for precise control
  • Much harder finish than typical other clear applications
Stained and Varnished with Conventional Alykd Matt Finish

Stained with 3 Coats of Conversion Varnish Matt Finish

Solid Cherry Wood Windows and Trim

Solid Cherry Wood Windows and Trim

Solid Cherry Wood Interior Doors w/ 3 coats of Conversion Varnish

Solid Cherry Wood Interior Doors w/ 3 coats of Conversion Varnish

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