How do I stain and finish rubberwood?

Written by ryan lawrence | 13/05/2017
How do I stain and finish rubberwood?
Sand off the varnish topcoat. (sandpapier image by Thomas Aumann from

Rubberwood trees are the source of rubber sap, the primary component of natural rubber. These trees are also harvested to create furniture. Rubberwood is less expensive than many types of hardwood, making it a popular choice for those on a budget. Rubberwood accepts stain much like other common hardwoods like oak and maple. However, its pale colour allows the applicator to stain the wood in a variety of shades. Before you begin staining your rubberwood, you may need to employ certain preparation steps, depending on the condition of the wood.

Sand the protective varnish coating off the rubberwood, using 120-grit sandpaper. Sand along with the grain of the rubberwood until the finish appears dull. Skip this step if the rubberwood is unvarnished.

Wipe sawdust from the rubberwood with tack cloths.

Cover portions of the rubberwood you do not want painted with professional painter's tape. Cover surfaces beneath the rubberwood with plastic dust sheets. Lay fabric covering on top of the plastic ones.

Coat the rubberwood with oil-based stain, using a paintbrush, manufactured for use with oil-based coatings. Wait two hours for the stain to dry. Add additional coats to the rubberwood for darker results.

Wash the brush with white spirit.

Wait eight hours for the final coat of stain to dry. Finish the stained rubberwood with varnish. Apply the varnish, using the clean paintbrush. Wait eight hours for the varnish to cure.


Do not apply stain directly over varnished rubberwood, or the stain will flake. Do not sand against the grain of rubberwood, or you will end up with severe damage, due to splintering.

Things you need

  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloths
  • Masking tape
  • Plastic dust sheets
  • Heavy-duty fabric dust sheets
  • Oil-based stain
  • 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inch) oil-based paintbrush
  • White spirit
  • Varnish
  • Palm sander
  • Power sander

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