With so many staining products on the market, it may get confusing. Remember, staining is merely a means of adding color to bring out the grain pattern in the wood.
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Although the wide array of staining products on the market may seem bewildering, remember that staining is merely a means of adding color to wood. Staining may be used to darken the wood, to bring out a grain pattern, to make one variety of wood look like another or to accent details or fixtures of a piece of furniture.
Stains consist of three components: pigments, dyes and a carrier. The carrier determines whether the stain is oil- or water-based.
Staining dramatically and permanently changes the wood's appearance, so always test a stain before applying it to furniture. One option is to test stain on an area of the piece that won't show--such as the bottom or back of a dresser. Another is to use a piece of scrap wood for a tester. Because each stain produces a distinctive look on different types of wood, it's crucial to use a scrap from the same wood as the furniture is made.