Finishing Table Top with Stain Design

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Forum topic by SpartanLumber posted 07-27-2013 01:07 PM 891 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1730 days

07-27-2013 01:07 PM

I had the great idea that I should build a table in a short amount of time. I bought a sheet of Birch 3/4 inch plywood yesterday. A friend approached me about staining the top of it. He wants to apply a coat of stain then tape or cut out a pattern in the wood and then stain again. I think it would look great. I’m not very sure however what products I should use. I have heard that water based stain bleeds less. I have also heard I should use a pre-stain conditioner. Besides that I could use some advice and tips on anything from technique to products.

Thanks a ton in advance for your help!

3 replies so far

View CharlesNeil's profile


2385 posts in 3835 days

#1 posted 07-27-2013 03:50 PM

While this sounds like a good idea , it usually doesn’t work as you have described. Wood is porous and the stain/dye can migrate , making a crisp line very difficult .

What you will need to do is to stain it, then topcoat it to seal the inital color in, then do the cutouts, then apply a coat of shellac to the edges of the cut out, then stain and hope for the best, the reason you have to seal the edges of the cut out is the next color can migrate under the first color. I would also suggest a good gel stain for the second coat and go easy.Gel stains are thicker and less likely to migrate

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2 posts in 1730 days

#2 posted 07-29-2013 05:04 PM

I was planning to buy a Gel Coat. I’m going to buy some products today and try some tests on scrap wood.
Thanks for your advice!

View pintodeluxe's profile


5620 posts in 2778 days

#3 posted 07-29-2013 05:38 PM

Don’t do it. Stain bleeds like crazy. Paint is hard enough to get a clean edge, but with stain it will never happen.
I would use solid wood for the top, and cut an inlay in it. You can make the inlay from a contrasting wood.

Good luck.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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