Installing floating staircase and hope to stain treads and rails ourselves. Wood is Victorian Ash and Tasmanian Oak. Looking at a relatively deep brown (Dark Chocolate or Walnut). Water based stain. Best to brush on or rub on? Have done some samples of both and the brush gives the desired colour but shows strokes/lines, however the rag doesn't provide the same depth of colour for the same number of coats but looks smoother and more even.
Many thanks for any advice.
Great idea to do some tests @SMJGGT.
I'm sure the ever-helpful @MitchellMc will also be happy to provide input when he is back on the site on Friday.
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It all comes down to the look you want. I find using a foam brush or a rag, letting the stain soak in for 5-10mins then wiping the excess off. A much easier and cleaner look. Repeat until you get the depth you want, then I put a clear over top, also lightly sand between each clear coat will genuinely make the surface smoother. Im not a fan of the stain and clear in one container. Ive used a roller a few times to put clear on, but lightly sanded between coats. I would rather use a foam brush then a paint brush, cause the brush leaves brush marks. Which is super annoying.
In all my work when staining I only use a cloth as it gives an even stain, brushing has the tendencies of flooding the area and depending on the timber you can finish with darker spots. Keep in mind all the timber does not come from the same tree hence changes in darkness. In some cases when working with both theses timber I have found the the fibres will lift leaving dark speckles with water based stains. You may need to use a sealer first with a light sand before applying the stain
On the treads you should use a sealer to stop the end grain (ends) soaking up the stain if they are exposed ends. The sealer I have use to do this is Timber Mate putty. Mix it up into a slurry and paint it in and sand. If you go to this website have look at the video for timber mate
This link is the rocking horse which use Australian hardwoods, using the cloth allowed me to get the depth colours I was looking for and to finish I used a polywipe.
I used all the above for woodturning box making rocking horses etc. Using the cloth I find is the best method less wast and yes a little more work but a better job
Hope this helps
I've only used stain twice. The first time was with a brush and once the residue was wiped away i didn't notice any brush marks. The second time i used my air compressor and spray gun. Very happy with the result.
A compressor might be a good idea as we have a pretty large area and many coats. Thanks Poppop