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Expert's Corner — dying

TIP: “Equalizing” Sapwood

dying finish stain surface the finishing store wood woodfinishing woodwork woodworking

TIP: “Equalizing” Sapwood

To achieve an even coloring with darker colored woods, it’s always best to use only heartwood to begin with. But this isn’t always possible. So you may want to “equalize” the coloring of the sapwood and heartwood. One method is to bleach the wood using two-part bleach (sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide). This will remove the coloring from the heartwood, so you can then stain the wood back to the color you want. But it’s usually better to equalize the sapwood to the color of the heartwood. The easier way to do this, if you intend to stain the wood...

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TIP: The Difference Between “Drying” and “Curing”

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When a finish changes from a liquid to a solid film, it’s called “drying” or “curing.” Although these terms are often used interchangeably, they refer to different methods of forming the film, and understanding this difference helps in understanding finishes. Drying refers to the evaporation of the solvent, which results in a solid film. Shellac and lacquer are the most common finishes that change to a solid by drying. (Liquid and paste waxes also work this way.) Finishes that dry entirely by solvent evaporation can be redissolved by wetting the surface of the finish film with the thinner—alcohol for shellac...

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