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What is a Stain?

A stain is a type of finish that is applied to wood to alter its appearance. It may change the color, enhance the
grain or protect the wood from damage.

A stain is applied to wood during the finishing process. It is pigmented to change the color of the wood, and there are several colors of stains available. Most stains resemble natural wood colors, such as oak, walnut or pecan. However, they help to bring out a wood’s natural characteristics. Some woods do not absorb stain well, while others readily soak it up. It can sometimes be difficult to achieve a smooth, even appearance with stain, and it often requires several rounds of staining and sanding in order to complete the project. Stains are created using different binders. There are oil based, water based and gel stains. Woodworkers, cabinetmakers and carpenters must carefully consider the wood and what the purpose of their project in order to determine which stain they will use.

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