Wood stain and seal tips from Woodoc
I recently completed a garden table project for Easy DIY magazine (keep an eye out for this issue). Having been inspired by the guys at Far Out Flora, who used reclaimed timber for their garden table, I wanted a more formal design for the garden, not to mention that I seem to have run out of reclaimed timber for the time being!
I have said it many times before, but before you do any staining or sealing, spend time sanding down any project for a silky smooth finish. Once you have applied stain and sealer it's too late to fix up any rough edges, unless you are prepared to start again from scratch. Use 120-grit for areas that require intensive sanding and then finish off with 240-grit sandpaper.
GOOD TO KNOW
Use a cloth lightly dampened with mineral turpentine to wipe your project to remove all traces of dust. In corners and detailed areas you can use a paintbrush to brush any any stubborn dust.
To stain and seal the garden table I am using Woodoc 35 in dark brown. This is a low-gloss exterior sealer that will enhance the wood grain and provide protection from the elements, especially since the garden table will be sitting outdoors for most of the year. For those of you by the coast, you will want to use Woodoc 50 or 55, which offers extra protection against UV radiation and salt spray.
Use a varnish paintbrush with applying sealer (or varnish), as this brush has stiffer bristles that allow for easier application.
It's also important when applying sealer to dip the brush into the sealer but NOT TO wipe off on the side of the can. Rather let excess sealer drip off the brush back into the can to prevent trapping air bubbles in the sealer, as this will spoil the finish.
Apply the first coat with smooth, even strokes along the grain of the wood. Start at one end and run with the grain to the other end. Any drips at the starting point will be absorbed into the cut edge or end grain and will be sucked up very quickly.
You can easily wipe away any drips that aren't absorbed.
GOOD TO KNOW
By brushing with the grain from one end to the other you avoid patchy areas. If you run out of sealer before reaching an end, dip the brush and immediately continue from where you left off, blending the area together by brushing backwards and forwards along the grain.
I prefer to start on the top or uppermost surface of any project and then work down the sides and finish the remainder. It's just as important to apply sealer to the undersides as well. When applying the first coat, it should stay wet for at least 10 minutes. If the sealer is absorbed quicker than that, apply more first coat until the surface stays wet. That way you know the wood has absorbed sufficient sealer.
Let the first coat dry thoroughly and then wipe the surface with Woodoc steelwool. The reason for this is to allow optimum penetration for the second coat and by wiping away any excess left on the surface, you allow the wood to absorb as much sealer as possible. Apply the second coat in the same was as the first and allow this to dry before applying a third and final coat.