Furniture Finishing, Refinishing, & Restoration

Q&A Forum - Parawood Stain Suggestions

e_hutch - Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:51 am
Post subject: Parawood Stain Suggestions
Hi, I just bought a Whitewood Industries Farmhouse Table and Chairs made from Parawood from a local unfinished furniture dealer. The surface of the table is made from 12" or so blocks of parawood glued together. I am looking to do a light Maple stain that does not have the orange antique look to it. The questions I have are: what type/brand of stain do you suggest for this type of wood (Minwax Gel Stain - Honey Maple looks promising)? what should I seal it with? and what applicator should I use (fine natural brush vs foam brush, etc)? Any other suggestions you have would also be useful. I have refinished a bedroom suit before, but just removed the stain and coated with poly, this will be my first time to stain. Thanks!

Here is a picture of the table. it has 2 leafs

and these are the chairs
Bob Boardman - Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:23 am
Post subject:
Anytime I have to deal with unfinished furniture I do the following.

1) Sand all surfaces with a 120 grit paper. I also try to "soften" the edges of the pieces. There's usually a lot of burrs, splinters or rough areas on these edges/end grain, so take your time and do a good job. I also do the same to either the underside of the table and the inside of the table rails, (this will make sense in a minute.)

2) Vacuum dust and repeat step 1 with a 200 grit. I'm only trying to remove the scratches from the 120 grit with this sanding, so you don't have to be aggressive. Vacuum up dust.

3) I then apply a sealer such as Sealcoat. This can be applied with a good quality natural bristle brush, (Taklon is one brand) that I rinse in denatured alcohol and shake dry before using. When Sealcoat is dry, wrap 220 grit paper around a sanding block and LIGHTLY sand all flat surfaces; then without the block light sand other surfaces including the chair seats, bottom of table and inside of rails. You're just trying to remove any brush strokes (there shouldn't be many), and any dust nibs. Vacuum up dust.

4) Apply a stain of choice. You can use a gel stain or a liquid stain...whichever comes closest to the color you want/like. Remembering that if the color is too light, you can add a nother coat, but if it's too dark, you have to remove the stain. If after applying you decide you don't like it you can remove most of color by wiping with a rag dipped in mineral spirits if an oil stain, or water if water base stains, before the stain dries. You can apply these stains with a clean old, lint free rag.

To find out if the color is going to be right, apply some to a test area like the underside of the table, or the inside of the table rails (see, that extra sanding pays off). When dry, assess whether it's what you want in terms of color, and make modifications in these test areas, before doing the good side of the pieces.

5) Once stain is applied, let dry for at least 24 hours, especially if using an oil stain. Then apply another coat of Sealcoat, let dry.

6) Apply the finish of your choice. A waterbase poly is a good choice. For the 1st coat, make a mix of 2 parts poly to 1 part water, mix and let sit for 10 minutes. Then apply with either a clean lint free rag or a good quality bristle brush, rinsed in water first, and shaken till dry. When this coat dries sufficiently that you can apply a second coat (see directions on container for this info), apply your second coat straight from the can, and let dry overnight.

7) Light sand with a 400 grit paper to remove any dust nibs, raised areas, bugs, etc. Then apply your last coat of finish. When it dries for 24 hours, apply a coat of paste wax, pop open a cold one, sit down at your table, and admire your work!
e_hutch - Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:44 am
Post subject:
Sounds like fun, I will give it a try. I wont be able to start for 2 weeks, but I will let you know how it turns out. also, what is the benefit of waterbased poly over oilbased?
Bob Boardman - Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:26 pm
Post subject:
Easier to work with and clean up, also WB doesn't yellow over time.
e_hutch - Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:05 pm
Post subject:
Perfect, that is something I was hoping to avoid.
e_hutch - Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:05 am
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Got another question,
A buddy of mine has a compressor and a spraying kit that he has used for a couple of small jobs that he is willing to let me use. My question is, would I get a better result by spraying and is there more or less risk involved for someone who hasn't done it before?
Bob Boardman - Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:23 am
Post subject:
You'll have to factor in the learning curve...translation: more time, more material to test on, more stain and sealer to test with.

You'll still have to sand as described above, but the SealCoat, stain and finish can be sprayed on. You won't use a gel stain, but you could start with a dye, then seal and then apply a stain either by hand or spray.

In the end spraying usually produces better results, but as most of us have learned, rarely does the piece we "learn" with come out the way we want.
e_hutch - Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:38 pm
Post subject:
hrrm.. ok, i will give it some thought.
e_hutch - Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:03 pm
Post subject:
I started testing on a scrap piece yesterday... so far so good. I diluted the first layer of sealcoat as instructed on the can to 1 lb cut then tried a couple of stains. I sanded the original piece with 120 grit and then 180 because I could not find any 200. the stain I think I will choose is a gel stain (minwax honey maple). I just now applied a layer of undiluted sealcoat over the stain and am about to start the water based poly. the only issue I had with the gel stain was that it did not darken any with a second coat (probably should have just let it penetrate longer), but I think the single coat will be dark enough.

the question I have is about the last step... what is the purpose of putting paste wax over poly? is there a less heat sensitive alternative (not that I plan on putting hot pans directly on the table)? I also don't really want a glossy finish if there is nothing else to be gained by waxing the table. Any suggestions? thanks for all the help!
e_hutch - Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:50 pm
Post subject:
just realized I bought water based polycrylic instead of water based polyurethane. is there a difference? the instructions say not to dilute the polycrylic. should I use this or go back and get some water based polyurethane?
Bob Boardman - Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:30 am
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I'd switch and get wb poly. The polycrylic may be fine, but haven't worked with it, so don't know for sure.

How does set look so far?
e_hutch - Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:27 pm
Post subject:
test piece looks good, haven't started on the set yet. put two layers of polycrylic on the test peice so far and it seems fine to me. I think I will use three layers on the set. I don't think it darkened the finish as much as I would have expected polyurethane to but perhaps that is because I have only ever used oil based polyurethane. I kind of like the way it looks and it dries pretty quickly so I think I will stick with it.

I don't know if you saw my first post of two from yesterday... do you by chance have any wax alternative suggestions for a smooth but less glossy finish?
Bob Boardman - Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:01 am
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Wax shouldn't make the surface glosssy, though it does add some shine. Finish is designed to protect the wood. Wax is designed to protect the finish. Test the wax onone piece...if too much shine, you can eliminate the step.

If you want the stain a bit darker, then you can thin the Sealcoat a bit with denatured alcohol. I'd start with a mix of 3 parts Sealcoat to 1 part alcohol. Test that. If still too light, 2 parts Sealcoat to 1 parts alcohol. Test diff ratios until you find one that works. The underside of seats are great for this.
dandain - Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:33 pm
Post subject: Parawood refinishing/staining
I have just purchased a Whitewood youth table(parawood). I intend to follow the instructions by Bob Boardman. I plan on using an oil base stain after the sealing process(reccomnded by the store where I purchased the table).

For sealing I have chosen Zinsser SealCoat universal sanding sealer.

This forum has been very helpful for me. I also purchased some Liptus lumber and will be staining the prjects I make.

Thank you for the heads up.

Dan Dain
e_hutch - Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:59 pm
Post subject: results
I just finally finished this project a couple of weeks ago. Due to the hot summers here I had to put it off until getting an A/C in the garage (the gel stain I used would gum up in the heat/humidity). 8 chairs was a lot of work, but turned out very well!

I didn't realize until later (when I read the instructions) that my furniture had been pre-sanded, so I think I could have saved myself some work by skipping straight to step 2.

Thanks, Bob, for the advice... and good luck with your project Dan!

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