Finishing the stool

Updated: Jan 17

Considerations of wood finishes


Wax - apply with the grain. Colour of cloth can impact, always test first - white cotton cloth = best. Buff into surface. Can apply a stain and then a wax on top if desired.

Stain - Wood/material shops will have lots of different types with examples of colour next to them. Can also make own - acrylic pain and lots of water, or oil paint and tarp.

Varnish - often don't get as deep a colour as would with a stain or wax. Glossy finish, apply with a large paint brush in one direction so don't get streaks.

Glue - When gluing pieces together. Can apply with fingers, a brush, or dip edges in. Fingers probably easiest. Have about 15 mins to work once it's applied before it dries.


Discussion with Neil: Best to glue the piece together first and then add a stain/wax. Can impact how the glue works/sets if apply before, or can get glue on the wood and need to sand it down - getting rid of the added colour. Can layer stains to build up the colour. Plywood can be difficult to colour as its not very porous and the glue layers stop it from absorbing lots of colour, so best to use a very dark stain or wax.


Did some online research for the kind of colour I want.

Options from B&Q (local store):

Want to try applying a stain to the wood first, will allow me to add more colour with a wax if I'm not happy with the finish. Don't want my stool to be very glossy, so won't be using a varnish.


Initial thoughts:

- Dark umber acrylic paint and water

- Ronseal Diamons hard Walnut Matt Wax

- Dulux Trade Walnut Satin Wood stain


Went into B&Q store and spoke to one of the wood experts. He advised to use an outdoor (external) stain for my stool as it would be longer lasting and more durable for furniture. The external stain also comes in a satin or gloss finish. The advice I received was that even though its labelled as a stain, because it's for external use it also doubles as a varnish. As I want a semi-matte finish, I'm going to test the satin finish.


Brands available: Sadolin, Ronseal, Colours. Sadolin is the most expensive and I was advised it wasn't worth the money. Colours is the B&Q own brand and Ronseal is a couple £ more expensive.


All colour options: My photos from B&Q store

Ply doesn't take colour very well so Neil advised me to get a dark stain to achieve the colour I want. These external stains can be applied in multiple coats to build up the colour.


Colour options:

Images from B&Q website: https://www.diy.com/departments/painting-decorating/paint-wood-treatments/exterior-woodcare/windows-doors-conservatories-paint-and-treatments/DIY1624160.cat?page=2


Thought 'Teak' was too warm toned so ruled this out. Decided to go with the Ronseal Dark oak Satin Wood stain, its a dark cool tone which is exactly the type of colour I want to create. The B&Q expert also said that these stains work well in bringing out the wood grain, even on woods like ply. If I stained the wood with the paint and water mix it would ultimately need a clear wax or varnish over to seal it in. Therefore, I'm going to use the Ronseal Dark oak Satin Wood stain.


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