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How to Apply Water Based Stain on a Large Surface

From GF University at https://www.generalfinishes.com. Learn how to stain a table top using water based wood stain.

JAVA GEL STAIN, MOVE OVER. For water-based stain aficionados, check out this 1-minute video of applying Espresso Wood Stain to a parawood table top.

PRODUCTS FEATURED:
GENERAL FINISHES WATER BASED WOOD STAIN: Espresso

Water-based stains require a different application technique than oil-based stains. As always with dark stains, move quickly and use a liberal amount of stain to prevent lap marks. Here are some quick finishing instructions for applying water-based stain over raw wood: 

SUPPLIES:
1. Prep: Oil-free tack cloth, sandpaper and or sanding pad.
2. Apply: Foam brushes or pad applicators (cover paint pad applicators with a nylon footie stocking to contain loose bristles), and bristle brushes to pull stain out of corners, or a sprayer. 
3. Wipe away: Paper/Shop towels or lint-free absorbent wiping cloths. Do NOT use cotton t-shirts.

PREPARATION SANDING FOR RAW WOOD:
1. Sand with the grain, starting at 120-grit sandpaper and finishing with 220-grit. For hardwoods such as maple and birch, stop at 180-grit. 
2. Wipe off dust with an oil-free tack cloth or a water-dampened rag.

HAND-APPLICATION OVER RAW WOOD:
1. Stir contents well.
2. Test the color on a hidden area of the project before you begin.
3. Divide your project into manageable sections: top, side, drawer, door, table seam. Apply a LIBERAL amount of stain to ensure easy workability. If not enough stain is used, the surface may dry too quickly, causing an uneven appearance. 
4. Stain a complete section and wipe off the excess evenly with the grain. Check for missed spots and lap marks before moving to the next section. Immediately correct lap marks by rewetting the entire working area with stain and wiping off the excess.
5. Let stain dry 2-4 hours in ideal conditions (70% humidity, 70*F).
6. Optional: apply a second coat to deepen the color. We recommend applying no more than 2 coats.
7.  Finish with 3 coats of GF topcoat.

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