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Wood Staining: The Best Solution For How To Bring Out The Grain In Wood

Wondering how you can make your wooden furniture and constructions pop by bringing out the grain? Wood staining could be the answer you are looking for. If you want to know more about wood staining and how to bring out the grain in wood, then read this article to the very end.

What you should know

Before we delve into staining and all, let us first discuss a little bit about the grain in the wood. To begin with, wood grain is the lines that run across the wood. They are more like the growth rings running in a longitudinal direction across timber. For woodworkers, it is important that you understand the grain. This understanding will not only show your dedication and love for your craftsmanship but will also demonstrate your appreciation to the finer details of woodworking. This will, therefore, help you to create masterpieces for your home or customers that showcase the effort and detail that went into the making process.

Wood grain is a highly important aspect of wood quality and should be taken into consideration when choosing out timber for your various woodworking projects. The rings or grain on wood tells you and us more about a particular type of timber. It tells us more than we see or imagine. For one, the grain in the wood is what enhances and determines the visual appearance/aesthetic value of wooden construction. Also, wood grain determines the longevity of wood.

How to bring out the grain in wooden constructions

Bringing out the grain in the wood is not any difficult. Depending on the method you choose to use, at the end of the day you will realize that it is a simple process much like most finishing processes you have partaken before in your projects.

In this regard, we are talking about enhancing the grain in wood through staining. With the right tools, materials, and motivation, staining is a very easy and fun task to perform. However, you also need to understand that stains do come in a variety of shades. It is, therefore, imperative that you choose a stain that very well complements the type of wood you are working on. Try applying the stain on a small section of the wood to see if it is as inconspicuous as it should be.

Recommended Read: How To Lighten Stained Wood Using Bleaching Chemicals​

For this project, the only things you need are;

  • The stain
  • A stain applicator it can be a brush or clean cloth
  • Protective clothing which comprises of gloves, face mask and an overall
  • A damp cloth and a dry cloth.

The Process

These are 6 very easy steps to a successful do it yourself staining project to bring out the grain in the wood. Follow the directions well as you give way to your creative side and you can be guaranteed of a fun time while learning yet another lucrative woodworking skill.

Step 1

The first and most important step in any woodworking project is to assemble your tools, wear protective clothing and organize your work area. In this case, assemble all your tools and materials on a tray and put them nearby for easy access. Also, keep your working area organized and put on gloves, apron and dust mask to protect yourself from dust and to stain your clothes.

Step 2

The next phaseof this project is to clean the wooden item you want to work on; this is to remove dirt, dust, and grime that affect the quality of the outcome. But before cleaning, if you are working on anold piece of furniture or wooden item, ensure that you repair any hardware faults like loose nails and screws or broken boards to make it whole again. When everything is intact, proceed to clean the dirt using a damp cloth.

Step 3

Once done with the cleaning, sand the item lightly to remove any previous stains, or varnish. Use a fine grit paper to sand the piece to a smooth finish. Sanding prevents any cases of an uneven finish on wooden items. Always work with the grain when sanding as crossing it may leave scratches on the wooden surface.

Step 4

After you are done sanding, clean the surface again to remove the sanding dust accumulated. In this case, use a damp cloth and after that wipe it using a dry cloth that is lint free. Let the item dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Step 5

With your hand gloves on and the item dry, you can continue to apply the first stain coat. Remember that stain absorbs into the wood and the rougher the surface, the more stain it will absorb. This is why you can’t just apply one coat; you will need more than one coat to achieve the desired look.

So proceed by stirring the stain well to make sure that it is well mixed. Then using a brush, sponge or clean cloth, soak into the stain and apply generously on the surface of the wooden item. During application, ensure that you work in one continuous movement across your wood, going with the grain. Apply the stain well and evenly on the entire piece.

After the first coat, wait for at least 15 minutes for the stain to absorb. Woods absorbs differently. Therefore, you can’t give it an exact time of absorption but rather wait until all the stain is evenly absorbed.

Step 6

The second coat should be reapplied between 4-6 hours later or depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation if using an artificial stain. Wait for the stain to absorb and then seal the stain with a clear varnish to your liking to seal and protect the wood from damage.

Lastly, put the item in a low humidity area to dry.

Dos and don’ts

  • As mentioned in step 5, woods absorbs stains differently. Therefore if you are not sure how fast your wood will absorb the stain, you can wipe on and off with a clean cloth to get an idea. Remember that adding more stain on wood is much easier and better than taking it off.
  • Do not leave a freshly stained piece in high humidity for longer durations. It will start to gum up thus destroying the whole outcome
  • Ensure that you have your protective clothing on before starting on the project
  • Sand between each layer of stain for a better finish
  • Do not overlap the stain when applying as this may darken the wood.


It is evident from the instructions above that wood staining doesn’t require a professional hand to come out correctly. You can stain wood on your own, all you need to do is follow the step-by-step instructions above to stain your items effectively. Knowing how to stain wood is a great milestone for any woodwork enthusiast. This knowledge will not only help you with the question of how to bring out the grain in wood but also help you to accentuate the details and etchings on wooden items you own or make.

Truly, there is no genius required for a successful DIY staining project. The process is easy and fun. It is also fulfilling once you see the outcome of your handy work. What’s more is that the process is cost efficient as it saves you the money that could otherwise be spent on hiring the services of a professional.

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