How to stain oak furniture

Written by lisa chinn Google
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How to stain oak furniture
Oak furniture has a pleasing warm tone, which can be tinted with stain. (Getty Creative)

Furniture stain allows you to add a tint to wooden furniture, as well as protection from the elements. Oak has an open wood grain, which means that it needs a filler before staining to achieve a totally smooth wood look. However, many people prefer to forgo the filler and leave the oak with a more natural grainy look. Almost anyone can stain oak furniture with a few simple supplies.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wood filler (optional)
  • Wood sealer (recommended but optional)
  • Wood finish
  • Paintbrushes
  • 120- and 220-grit sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Sand the furniture to smooth it. First use 120-grit sandpaper, then 220-grit sandpaper.

  2. 2

    Fill the wood grain if a smooth texture is desirable. Wood fillers make the wood surface completely smooth. Open-grained woods, such as oak, naturally have small open grains on their surfaces. Wood fillers fill in these tiny splits and create a smooth surface. For the most natural wood look, do not use a filler.

  3. 3

    Paint a layer of wood sealer on the furniture, using a paintbrush. Although wood does not need a sealer to receive a stain, sealers help the wood absorb stains more evenly. For example, wood without sealer may absorb more stain along the cut ends of the wood, like along the edges of a park bench, and will have an uneven colour after staining.

  4. 4

    Paint a layer of wood stain on the furniture, using a paintbrush. Apply whichever type of stain seems best according to the directions on the stain packaging. The three main types of wood stains are oil-based stains, water-based stains and stain/finish combinations.

  5. 5

    Paint a layer of wood finish over the stain with a paintbrush, unless the furniture has a layer of a stain/finish combination. Finish helps protect the wood against scratches and helps prevent the finish colour from wearing off unevenly over time.

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