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Stain and wood preserver are applied in the same order as you would paint. You can apply coats to roughly finished wood quickly, but to get an even coat on smooth wood requires accuracy. Cover each surface without a break—if the stain or preserver dries midway, you will be left with a line.
Apply stain with the grain of the wood (image 1). Take care not to overload the brush and to brush out any drips before the stain dries. Complete one section of wood before beginning the next. Where two sections join, ensure that strokes do not overlap each other (image 2).
Wax is normally applied with a cloth, although some types are designed to be brushed on. Repeated application and buffing builds up depth of color and sheen. It is not necessary to follow the grain of the wood, although this is considered to be the best way to efficiently cover the wood surface.
Scoop some wax out of its container with a soft cloth and rub it evenly into the wood until there are no globules of wax left (image 1). Leave the wax to dry, but not to harden for a few minutes. Buff the surface with a clean cloth to provide a smooth finish (image 2).
All oils are applied using a similar technique. Pure tung oil is good for countertops and food preparation areas as it is non-toxic. Danish oil and teak oil are good for hardwoods, especially outdoor furniture; teak oil provides a glossier finish. If you choose traditional linseed oil, use boiled or double-boiled types because they are quicker to dry and not as sticky as the raw oil.
Apply liberally, using strokes of a soft brush in line with the wood grain to help ensure full coverage and aid penetration (image 1). Allow the oil to soak in before removing excess with a cloth. Leave for half an hour, or as directed, then buff the surface with a dry cloth (image 2).
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
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