Originally Posted by oneplustwo
zkool, any tips on staining?
This may sound strange, but I don't use stain. In order to achieve different colors I choose different types of wood. I think a good piece of wood should be shown off instead of covered up with stain. I prefer to leave my wood natural. It does change color as it ages. Usually warmer.
I can tell you I've tried many different clear finishes and finally settled on lacquer. Here are the things I've tried and what I didn't like:
Water based polyurethane is typically aplied with a brush. It didn't go on smooth and I was never able to achieve a truly high gloss.
Polyurethane tends to yellow with age. I prefer the natural wood color.
MInwax is expensive and takes too long to dry. As a result it is more likely that something will land on it while it is still wet.
Shellac has a color to it which changes as you add more coats.
I chose lacquer because it stays clear, dries fast (like 30 minutes max between coats), and is very easy to apply with an airbrush.
I thin it between 1:1 and 1 part thinner to 2 parts lacquer. the object is to get it thin enough to spray and use enough air pressure to evaporate enough of the thinner so that the lacquer is thick enough when it hits the wood that it doesn't run but still wet enough so it can smooth out and not leave an orange peel texture. I shoot with a $40 coarse external mix brush at about 45 PSI. Lacquer is very forgiving. it is very easy to determine how thin it needs to be. I've even sprayed thinner on the prior coat to smooth out an orange peel texture rather than remove the finish and start over. Beyond that all I can say is practice a bit before you go for the real deal.
The other advice is to sand, sand, and sand. Start with coarse and work through every size up to 600 or even 1500. I do 1500. What happens is the sandpaper creates scratches in the wood and the next finer sheet knocks down the prior paper's scratches. Of course, it creates its own set of scratches that you need to remove with the next finer paper. Skip a grit in the progression and you won't be able to remove the scratches from the prior sanding.
Also, Lacquer is too thin to fill gaps. Use goop (I've described this earlier) to fill gaps.
somewhere between 8 and 20 coats will be sufficient to fill up the grain of the wood. don't try to lay on thick layers or they won't harden completely.
I'm sure there is more, but I'm curently out of time.