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Hand pad to enhance the wood grain

Hand pad (hand padding) in the wood finishing is the application stain by padding. Hand pad is a hand work process to make more “life looked” and to give the art touch for the finishing. A cloth (usually special cloth used) is dipped into the special stain so that it is wet with the stain, then the damp cloth is padded to add the color the surface part. The staining result is depending to the stain color and how we apply the wet the cloth. There are many finishing effect can be obtained, to make smudge effect, to make marble finish and to enhance the grain. You can go to our previous article “smudge pad for wood finishing” to view the hand pad to make smudge and antique looked. Now in this article we want to share about hand pad to enhance the grain to make more finishing more “life”.
The hand padding will give the “uneven” coloring result; depend to how we apply the rag. We can smear the stain according to the part and area we want. We can do hand pad according to the grain pattern to enhance the grain. There two method of hand pad operation, it is done directly on the raw wood or done on the surface sealer or top coat. Hand pad done on the raw wood will produce a more natural appearance if it done properly, but it is more difficult to be controlled. We cannot see the hand pad result at the time we do the hand pad, since there are still some followed with other finishing processes; if we make some mistakes at this step we cannot correct it. Then a proper and clear step panel is the important tool to control the process.  
While the hand pad on sealer or top coat is easier to be controlled. We can see the staining result at the time we do the hand padding. We can use this technique to add color at the color setting to make the final color more even at the finish product. For this purpose a special stain called " pad stain " is used. It is the alcohol stain that could color the sealer and lacquer without too "bite"  the film. (see our previous article : pad stain for wood finishing). But however, we still need the step panel to control the process and make sure we got the proper color and looked.

The process of hand pad can be seen in the pictures below.

hand pad
the raw wood panel that is ready to be hand padded

hand padding
the cloth is dampened with the stain

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the stain is padded at the wood panel

hand pad

the stain is reduced and smoothed with sand paper

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the hand pad result

hand padding
the panel after sealer application

padding the stain
the stain is padded at the panel
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the final color result after hand padding

The considered things in the hand padding.
1. Consider the grain pattern of the wood.
No matter how good we do hand pad, it will not be able to replace the wood grain appearance. The purpose hand pad is to enhance and maximize the beauty of the wood grain. Therefore it should be done according to the pattern of the existing wood grain. For the wood very strong character we can do stronger padding. The more concentrated stain can be applied and more thick stain can be made, because it will blend with the strong character of the grain. But to wood with wood vague grain, then the hand pad should be done more carefully. Make sure the hand pad stain is not to strong and “artificially looked”.
2. Consider the form and shape.
The purpose of the hand is to enhance the beauty of the furniture. The hand pad is also purposed to make the product to more life and beautiful. Then the hand pad is also need to accord with the furniture shape and form. Make sure we understand the concept of the design then we can add the artistic touch by the hand pad.
3. Consider the final color of the finishing.
Hand pad is the application of stain that will always change the color and appearance of finishing. The process should be done in the consideration to the final color at the finishing. Always make a step panel and see the final finish results before doing this process to the product.

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