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Oil stain for wood finishing

Oil stain is quite popular and widely used in the wood finishing. By its name the oil stain is stain that use oil as its solvent. The solvent for oil stains that most used are mineral spirits and turpentine. Based on that definition, the glaze is actually included in the oil stain, but in this article we don’t discuss about the glaze. The explanation about glaze can be viewed in our previous post  glaze for wood finishing.  What we mean about the oil stain in here is the oil stain a kind of wood stain that is applied directly on raw wood. 

According to the type of pigment that is used there are 2 types of oil stain, the inorganic pigment oil stain and organic pigment oil stain oil. Both have different characters according to the nature of its pigment. Organic pigment oil stain has brighter, more transparent, but provides a stronger coloring. His molecular pigment will come in and soak into the wood and color inside the pores and grain of the wood. While the inorganic pigments has a larger particle size. Inorganic pigments will not be absorbed and enter into the wood, but will stay and coat the surface. For wood with big and large pores and grain, the pigment will come in and fill in the pores and grains to provide highlights staining and shows the darker color in the pore and grain. The comparison between inorganic and organic pigment can be viewed in our previous article: stain pigment for wood finishing. 

The inorganic pigments are always in need of a binder to get mixed well. Binders that are widely used in the oil stain are the type of alkyd resins, oil finish or varnish which dissolve in oil. Oil stain that uses oil binder can be mixed with oil finish and produce colored oil finish. We can mix the oil stain and oil finish to make the colored oil. Also there are many colored oil finish available and can be selected according to the required finish.
Oil stain that use varnish as its binder can be mixed into the varnish to create a colored varnish. Colored oil and vanish will be able to make a thicker coloration depending on the thickness of the layer applied to the surface. The uses of colored varnish or colored oil could be advantages since its less material used and shorter process. But this system is also less control in result. The resulting color will be highly depending on the color and condition of the wood substrate.
Oil stain can also be mixed with a thixotropic agent to produce a stain in the form of gel known as gel stain. Gel stain in the form of gel is designed to be more easily applied by wiping. The gel stain is specially made to be poured, wiped and cleaned easily than the liquid stain that tends to flow and wet everywhere.

 Tips in using the oil stain.
  • Identify the type of the oil stain used.
There are many different types of oil stains, each of which has different characters.  With many brands available today there are more variation of oil stain available. Each brand and type of oil stain can provide the different effects and results. Therefore, always do the testing of the stain. Make some applications on a wooden panel and see the results until we can identify the properties and character of the stain before deciding to use it for big furniture products. Some experimental in diluting, blending and mixing sometimes is also necessary to produce the desired effect
  • Provide sufficient time for drying.
Every layer of finishing material must be ensured that it is dry before continuing with the next process. Oil stains which use oil will takes longer time to dry. The time needed for the oil stain to dry can be vary depending on the type of binder and solvent and the composition in the mixture, but in general the oil stain takes a relatively longer drying time compared to the thinner base stain or even with water based stain. See specifications and technical data are written from each material to ascertain the drying time required of each materials.
  •  Preparation of the unfinished wood.
To produce good staining the wood surface should be prepared as well as possible. Wood surfaces must be cleaned and sanded as well to make smooth and even surface. Uneven surface will affect to the stain absorption and resulted in uneven coloring, blotchy or splotchy.
  • Use the application technique according with the need and conditions.
Gel stain is the oil stain that can only be applied by poured onto the surface and wipe evenly. Meanwhile, the other oil stain can be applied in some way such as: sprayed, brushed, wiped and even dipped. The spray application is most widely used now since it’s practical, flexible to get the desired results. But the other applications can also be used in accordance with existing conditions.

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