Characteristics of Wood Stain
To bring out the wood grain in furniture it can be stained giving it a natural look but also enhancing the beauty of the wood. Staining emphasizes the wood grain and it can also be stained many different tints to match different decors. You can also make wood to look like a totally new or different wood than the original. To achieve any of these effects the woods will require stain.
A wood stain is made up of pigments, solvent and binder. These components are also present in paint. But unlike paint which is made up of equal parts of the three substances, wood stain is made up of mostly pigments with solvent. Only a little amount of binder is present.
This composition allows the pigments of wood stain to be absorbed into the pores of wood, unlike paint which creates a film of color over the wood. The wood surface takes the color of the pigment but leaves the substrate, or the natural texture and color of the wood, mostly visible. When the wood stain is dry, varnishes and surface film is applied to protect the color or to make the wood shiny.
Stain and Varnish
Some people think that wood stains and varnishes are the same. Varnishes do not have pigments and colors and are therefore transparent. However, there are some companies that produce a product lines that are marketed as a combination of wood stain and varnish.
Wood stains viscosity can range from very thin to extremely thick, such as siding stains. Siding stains penetrate the wood better than paint. They also protect wood from sunlight, ultraviolet rays, water, mildew and fungal decay. Siding stains also have binders that are softer and more flexible than those used by paints. This makes siding stains more flexible than paint.
Certain solvent based, or oil-based stains have bits of paraffin wax in it. Furniture treated in these kinds of stains cannot be painted over. They can be re-stained, however.
Applying wood stains on wood is either easy or difficult, depending on the type and characteristics of the wood substrate. For example, freshly cut wood does not absorb the stain well. Aged wood, however, accepts stains well. End grain and bias-cut grain woods also absorb stains so well that the darkening will be quite considerable. Wood that has been stripped of paint or washed down with solvents can absorb wood stains better than those that are not yet painted or stripped.
So, if you need to alter the shade of wooden furniture, just apply wood stain. It is easier and cheaper than having to look for a certain kind of wood that has exactly the shade that you want.