Wood stains, also known as wood dyes are designed to change the colour of wood while leaving the grain still visible. Most stains don't offer a lot of protection to wood, apart from perhaps some of the stains that are made for external use which tend to be a lot thicker, so if you're using a stain it's usually a good idea to apply a protective coat of something else like a varnish afterwards - depending on what project you're doing and what look you want to achieve. Stains are available in all sorts of different colours, but the colour that you will achieve after applying will also depend on the type of wood that you are applying it too. I'd recommend using a piece of scrap of the same wood that you want to apply the stain to, wait for it to dry and then you can check if it's a colour that you're happy with before you apply it to the actual thing that you want to stain. If the colour is too intense, you can dilute it with mineral spirits to thin it out and make the stain more subtle. If the colour isn't intense enough, then you can apply multiple coats until you get the result you want. Stains are easy to apply with either a paint brush or a rag. It usually dries pretty quickly. Applying stain can raise the grain on some wood types, so you might want to rub it down with some steel wool or do some light sanding in between coats to keep things smooth. You can add other finishes like oil or varnish after your stain has dried without any problems.
Oils make wood look good. Unfinished wood looks dry and kind of dull, and applying oil will bring out the natural beauty of the wood making the grain pop and nourishing the wood - it replaces the natural oils in wood that dry out over time. Oil will add a bit of colour to the wood too, making it slightly darker and it can also add a warmer yellowish tint to it, but not in the same way that a stain would change the colour of wood - you generally get more of a natural look with oil. There are loads of different types of oils but some of the most popular ones are boiled linseed oil, teak oil, ting oil, mineral oil and danish oil. Oils add a bit of protection to the wood against things like moisture but are nowhere near as effective as a finish like varnish or lacquer would. Danish oil offers more protection than other oils because it is actually a mixture of oil and varnish, so it is more hard wearing. Oils are easy to apply with a brush or a rag. You can apply multiple coats of oil if you want to achieve different looks. Boiled Linseed Oil is cheap to buy so I tend to use that when I want to bring out the beauty of the wood in a project but I don't need much protection - like on a picture frame for example. I tend to use Danish Oil when I need a bit more protection, for example on a table top. Mineral oil is good for things like chopping boards, because it is food safe and it won't go rancid.
Polyurethane finish is basically a liquid plastic, and it can either be water based or oil based, the water based stuff dries quickly but doesn't do much to bring out the natural beauty of the wood, whereas oil based takes longer to dry and will pop the grain nicely and add a warm tint to it. It's usually available in different levels of sheen - gloss is shiny when it catches the light, Matt is not shiny at all and Satin is somewhere in between the two. Polyurethane is the most durable and hard wearing finish - so it's good to use on things like floorboards or table tops. You can apply it with a brush, but I like to use a wipe on poly - that way you don't need to worry about dealing with brush strokes. But if you do use a brush, a bit of wet sanding with some fine grit wet and dry abrasive paper will usually smooth it out nicely. The down side to polyurethane finish in my opinion is that it has kind of a plasticky feel to it so I don't tend to use it very often but that's just a personal thing
Varnish is an older type of finish made up of oils, resin and solvents. It dries slowly and isn't as durable as polyurethane, but it does offer better UV protection than polyurethane. It's usually cheaper than polyurethane too.
Yacht varnish also knows as spar varnish is great for exterior use, great for things like decking and garden furniture.
Shellac is another older type of finish. It's basically flakes of waxy resin scraped from a tree which is then mixed with an alcohol solvent which makes it easy to apply and it dries quickly. It offers a very glossy finish and is often used on antiques and fine furniture. Shellac is what is used for French polishing which is basically applying lots of very thin coats of shellac. It is not as durable as polyurethane or varnish but it does look great, however it can appear slightly dull and cloudy with age.
Lacquer is a thin liquid varnish usually applied by spraying. It dries quite quickly due to the evaporating solvents that it contains. It's durable and hardwearing and it can also be polished to a glossy finish. And it also pops the grain and brings out the natural beauty in wood without drastically changing the colour of the wood.
Finishing Wax is usually made mainly of beeswax. It's available as a clear finish or in different colours. It offers a bit of protection to wood against moisture and it brings out the natural beauty in the wood and a leaves a very smooth to the touch finish. It is best applied sparingly using a rag, or you can use a brush and then wipe off the excess with a rag. After it dries it can be buffed using another clean rag to a nice satin ish sheen. It's not suitable for exterior use.
In this video I make a back panel for the stand out of some low grade packaging plywood. I did this mainly to stop some of the dust getting in to the bottom section where the shop vac and jigs will be stored, but it will also add rigidity to the stand.
Next I fitted the shop vac hose, using a hole saw drill bit.
I cut some pieces of poplar in to 10mm strips, cut them to length and glued and nailed them to the front edges of the stand mainly to hide the plywood edges for aesthetics.
I went and bought some epoxy coated drawer runners so that I could fit a couple of drawers to the front section. Unfortunately they didn't come with any instructions so I measured the thickness of them with digital calipers, and then used that to calculate what size I would need to make the drawers.
The drawers were a very simple construction - 18mm plywood (thicker than needed, but it's what I had to hand and I wanted to use up the offcuts) glued and screwed butt joints, and a plywood panel glued and screwed to the bottom.
The drawer fitting went smoothly apart from that there wasn't quite enough clearance between the two drawers, but I used the tablesaw to cut a few mm off the top of one of the drawers and then re-fitted - problem solved.
Next I could add the drawer fronts, for which I used some oak veneeered plywood offcuts. I positioned them where I wanted them using hot glue, and then I could screw them on from inside for extra strength. I used a steel ruler to space the drawers apart.
I made some drawer handles for the drawers using some offcuts of mahogany ripped at an angle on the tablesaw to create somewhere for fingers to grip. I glued and clamped these to the drawer fronts.
I added some boiled linseed oil to finish the drawer fronts, and they looked pretty nice.
Just a quick video to talk about some of the changes I'm going to be making in upcoming videos to achieve a new layout for my workshop.
This project was mainly driven by the need to make use of some left over oak veneered MDF. It's the same material as I used for the previous project - the coat and shoe rack, and I needed to clear some space in my workshop which meant using up the rest of it. Because some of the pieces were quite short, I had the idea of making some bedside tables, and when I started using SketchUp to make a 3D model I found that I had just enough material to make 2x matching ones. Unfortunately some of the material had some mould on it, so I couldn't use everything that I had.
I cut the larger pieces to length on the mitre saw and the shorter pieces on the cross cut sled on my tablesaw as they were more manageable.
I assembled them using cleats as they would be hidden by the solid oak trim on the front of each shelf, and I knew they'd be nice and strong and it would be quicker than cutting dado joints. I used some offcuts from the oak parquet coffee table top that I made recently for the cleats.
I used some scraps of oak to cut some trim for the sides of the top shelf to hide the MDF edges and glued and taped them in place I used some boiled linseed oil to better match the colour to the finish on the rest of the pieces.
Finally, I used a rabbet bit on the router to cut a channel on the back where I could flush fit a piece of 4mm plywood. This was then cut to size and glued and nailed on.
I didn't have any use for the bedside tables so I listed them for sale on Gumtree, and they sold within a week!
In this video I buy and restore a secondhand mid century modern style sideboard.
I came across this while browsing through my facebook feed, it looked like someone was going to throw it away, so I bought it from them, paying £20.
It wasn't in too bad condition, but it had some scratches, heat and water stains and one of the drawer runners was missing. The finish was also quite dull.
I started out by making a new set of drawer runners for it, as the old ones were softwood and only attached with staples and very little glue - not very well made...
I made the new runners out of some scraps of oak that I had in the workshop, cutting them to the same size as the old runners.
I carefully positioned them where the old runners had been, using a couple of scrap pieces of wood as "spacers" to keep them at consistent heights. I first glued and nailed them in, knowing that if they didn't quite fit I could pull them off again before the glue set and make adjustments. This method worked quite well. Once I knew that the runners were positioned correctly I attached the new runners with glue and screws making sure to countersink holes in the runners so I wouldn't split the thin pieces of oak.
All three drawers fitted quite nicely apart from the middle drawer, which was a little too low, so I pulled the runners off, placed a couple of shims under the spacers to lift it by a couple of mm and then screwed it in place.
To rejuvenate the finish, I first tried to get rid of the heat and water stains with an iron and a piece of cloth, a method that worked really well when I restored a sapele chest of drawers recently. However it didn't work well on this piece, perhaps because the stains were quite old. So instead, I sanded, and applied some Superior Danish Oil which really brought out the grain nicely and it looked really nice. Finally, I applied some clear Briwax for a bit of extra protection and buffed the whole unit to a nice sheen.
I'm really pleased with how it turned out and it's a perfect fit in my dining room.