120 Medium Grit Sandpaper
220 Fine Grit Sandpaper
Minwax Oil Based Pre Stain Wood Conditioner
Minwax Wood Finish in Golden Oak
Minwax Wood Finish Stain Brush
Minwax Water Based Polycrylic
Paint Thinner for Clean Brushes
Preparing the Project
Give yourself a great start on your project by properly preparing it.
Start with a medium grit sandpaper, sanding the entire project. I used 120 grit in an orbital power sander, working in the direction of wood grain.
Follow the medium grit sandpaper with a fine sanding. You can use a power sander here as well.
All that sanding is going to leave your project dusty. Remove the dust with a soft bristled brush or a vacuum with a soft bristled brush. Follow up by wiping down the project with a damp rag.
Pre Stain Wood Conditioner
To avoid a blotchy stained finish, I highly recommend testing your stain on a scrap board from the project first.
From a scrap piece of wood leftover from the bed, I applied Minwax Oil Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner to only half of the scrap. Then I followed up by staining the entire board with Minwax Golden Oak Stain. This wood is definitely going to need wood conditioner!
Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner is easy to use and inexpensive. I used about half a quart sized can on this entire bed, and it took me another half an hour in finishing time to apply. Definitely worth it for an even stain penetration and a beautiful result. Minwax pre-stain is sort of like an insurance policy, it's guaranteed to give you even stain penetration so that you don't end up doing all the work and then being unhappy with your results because you didn't take the extra time to use pre-stain.
Mix up the Minwax Oil Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. Stir contents thoroughly before and occasionally during use.
Then begin applying in the direction of the wood grain. I loved using a sponge applicator for fast easy application. You can also use a brush, foam brush or staining pad to apply.
Allow the product to penetrate from 1-5 minutes, and then wipe off any excess.
You’ll be able to tell what areas of the project have been treated with Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner because the wood will appear slightly deeper in hue, almost like it is slightly wet. When the entire project is treated with wood conditioner, allow to dry for at least 30 minutes.
To prepare your project for stain, again, sand with 220 grit fine sandpaper. This will help raise the grain of the wood to accept the stain evenly. Follow up by removing any sanding residue.
These days, when you hear the word oak, you might think of your Mom’s old cabinets.
But this stain, Minwax Wood Finish in Golden Oak color, is a beautiful, warm wood color, not at all brassy or yellowy. I highly recommend it for use on this project, made of 2x4 and 2x6 lumber, but you should always test out stain colors on scraps of your wood before applying. May I suggest purchasing the tiny stain cans as testers in a variety of colors?
I am also using a 2.5” natural bristle stain brush, designed specifically for use with oil based stains. Invest in the right brush for the right product for the best results and to keep your brushes lasting project after project. If you were working with a water based stain, you should use a synthetic brush.
You can also apply Minwax Wood Finish with a clean cloth.
Stir the stain before use and thoroughly throughout use.
Begin by applying the stain, working in the direction of wood grain. Apply liberally.
Unlike paint, stain is easy to apply in little cracks. Can you imagine getting your paint brush in there? You’d want to paint all the boards individually first, or you would be there all day!
Also unlike paint, stain will go right through a drop cloth. What I do is place scrap plywood pieces underneath the dropcloth to soak up excess stain.
After about 15 minutes, wipe off excess stain, in the direction of the wood grain. Don not allow the stain that has not penetrated the wood to dry on the wood surface. If the stain appears too light, do not worry. To darken the color, you can apply a second coat after 4-6 hours. Do not sand between coats of stain.
When you are happy with the stain, allow to fully dry, at least 8 hours, before applying top coat. Dry times may be extended due to high humidity, low temperatures, or inadequate ventilation.
Brush Clean Up
If you take care of your stain brushes, they will last and last.
For Minwax Wood Finishes, I fill a small glass jar halfway with paint thinner and place the brush in the jar for a few minutes. I use a fork to comb the brush in the paint thinner.
Then I remove the brush from the paint thinner, wringing out as much paint thinner as possible. The brush is then washed in hot soapy water and replaced in packaging.