How to hack your way through woodcare


I don’t know if you’re like me, but when it comes to doing any sort of decorating or DIY when it gets to the necessary parts and maintenance, I often find it can feel like a massive drag. Yes, taking the simple steps of prep or applying a finish can suck all the fun out of decorating when working with wood indoors and outdoors.

Any way at all to reduce the amount of time spent doing the graft is a good idea in my books. One area in particular that I’ve searched high and low for any and all tips is in the not so mysterious realm of woodcare. Stains, varnishes, and fillers are an essential part of woodcare, and it is hard to argue that it sometimes can feel like a drag.

So how can you make woodcare fun? By finding hacks to “cheat” your way through the process so it is quicker, easier, and can let you get on with all the fun parts of decorating. Here are just a handful of tips to hack your way through woodcare.

via Amy Bartlam

Hack 1: Choose a stainless stain

Stainless stain? What does that even mean? Always think of wood stains as shades to apply on your wood. If you want a nice stain on, opt for a shade which best matches the natural colour of the wood. For example, if you had a cheap bit of flatpack furniture made of plywood and didn’t want to spend time with an intense finish like a teak or grey can give, stick with a light walnut or pine finish. 

That way, you’ll have a similar finish that you could slap on quickly and not have to worry about touch-ups.

via Amy Bartlam

Hack 2: Know about protection

This, to me, is the biggest red flag I see people misunderstand. A lot of folks think that a wood stain will protect the wood. After all, you are applying it on top, so it has to be protective, right?

Wrong! Wood stain is there to stain and nothing more. People will waste time using stains and finishes together when you only need a good finish if that’s all you want to do. When it comes to woodcare products, it really helps to know the distinctions between your finishes, so try and remember the following:

  • Gloss will always have shine
  • Eggshell will let you wash
  • Satin works on furniture
  • Opaque when you’re utterly lost

Stick to those rules, and you’ll always know which finish to use.

via Amy Bartlam

Hack 3: Scratches lead to gashes

If you have wood you want to apply a protective coat or stain to, and you can see there’s a scratch there, you can’t just fill it over as you would with paint and hope it sits perfectly.

I’m putting down sanding as a hack as it can be a two-minute job that is the difference between your wood looking great, and a finish that will annoy you for years to come. Also, a quick once over with a sander or sandpaper before you apply any woodcare product helps the product to absorb the liquid more quickly. Think of it like you’re exfoliating the wood and helping to open pores.

via Amy Bartlam

Hack 4: Get foamy

While there is nothing wrong with regular paintbrushes that are cleaned before woodcare, if you know you’re going only to use a brush once, get a foam brush. They are surprisingly more adept at getting into problem areas like chair spokes, can hold stain or varnish for a good time, and can be thrown away after use.

Hack 5: Polyurethane on the label

Finally, if you want to do the job as quickly as possible, opt for a stain which says it has polyurethane in it. Polyurethane is used as a sealant, and if it isn’t already listed on the can, you may find yourself needing to do the seal work after everything has dried. If you’re not bothered at all waiting around, check it’s in your stain or varnish.

Now get to DIY action

Thanks for reading and I hope you found these hacks useful if you’re going to be doing any woodcare soon. Don’t forget, you can always get the best DIY tips by visiting the tutorial section of the site right here.


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