Its best to stain everything before stain begins to dry. On extremely soft or porous woods apply a second coat to further reduce blotchiness when staining.
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You could shorten the procedure to one step by using a water based stain.
How long to let stain dry before finishing. You can also leave the wet stain on the wood for longer before you wipe away the excess sometimes as long as 15 minutes. To achieve a darker stain color use coarser grit of sandpaper 150 180 on the last sanding you do prior to staining. The re stain and wipe of a 4 square took about 30 minutes.
When you stain something you wait about 15 minutes for the stain to sink into the wood then wipe off any excess residue with a shop cloth. I always wait overnight before applying a film finish however if you just splashed it on and left it its going to take several days to dry. Every finish and stain is different and drying times can vary widely from brand to brand or product to product.
The clorox wipes only took so much effort and a 20 square took 2 12 hours. The murphys oil soap then clorox wipes then paper toweling of a 40 square took less than an hour and the results were perfect. Immediately wipe it off with a dry cloth.
This will help the wood absorb more color. Obvious when they later absorb either stain or finish. As a rule of thumb you should wait 24 48 hours to allow the stain to fully dry before applying your polyurethane.
Apply a liberal coat of the pre stain wood conditioner over the entire wood surface including the end grain of any board to ensure even stain absorption. Use a pre stain wood conditioner. This allows the stain to dry in a couple of hours.
This adds an extra step because you have to let the wood dry for this trick to work. General finishes recommend 72 hours between the two products since you are moving from an oil based product to a water based product and it is essential that the first is dry before applying the second. This is more likely to happen using water based stain.
Wet the wood with water before applying the stain to raise the grain and leave a rougher surface for more pigment to lodge. While stain brands recommend a drying time of 12 to 24 hours allowing the floor to dry between 24 and 48 hours ensures that it is completely dry before applying the water based polyurethane especially when conditions are less than ideal. Work in manageable areas.
If the stain begins to dry before you wipe it off youre tackling too much area. Overlapping stain on previously stained areas causes uneven colors.
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