Staining and Finishing Wood (S12E23) | Preview | Ask This Old House

Staining and Finishing Wood (S12E23) | Preview | Ask This Old House

Finishing expert Bruce Johnson shows Kevin some tips for staining unfinished furniture and together they finish the table Tom built. Bruce shows how to use wood conditioner, stain, and polyurethane to finish the piece.
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Staining and Finishing Wood (S12E23) | Preview | Ask This Old House


  1. Becka C on June 13, 2023 at 12:43 pm

    Ok what happens if after I put the conditioner on & I can’t get back to it within 2 hours

  2. Jarome Jacksan on June 13, 2023 at 12:44 pm

    My adventure with woodworking began with projects from Woodglut.

  3. Leif Harmsen on June 13, 2023 at 12:48 pm

    Hey everyone there’s no law saying you have to stain first – you can just poly and enjoy the natural wood colour if you like.

  4. Brownie VP on June 13, 2023 at 12:49 pm

    There is two reasons for unwanted stain marks when applying: one, no proper sanding before staining, two staining ACROSS THE GRAIN as this guy did.

  5. Shoto Juku on June 13, 2023 at 12:49 pm

    Do you sand after the SECOND coat of polyurethane?

  6. Joe Cabrera on June 13, 2023 at 12:51 pm

    This was extremely helpful. Thank you.

  7. Moحammed Abdallah on June 13, 2023 at 12:53 pm


  8. Pennie Holley on June 13, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    why do you never mention what wood are you using?

  9. Sean Dunn on June 13, 2023 at 12:56 pm

    Great advice. The part that is annoying is the silly banter and the play acting as if they are actually doing projects for each other. Just show us how it’s done. I don’t need to be convinced that they are good chums.

  10. z1az on June 13, 2023 at 12:58 pm

    I have a question about sanding/ staining engineered lumber. I have four PSL plus Parallam beams and would really appreciate any suggestions about sandpaper grit / stain

  11. Miguel Salami on June 13, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    Heya day brought in John Silva at da last second Huh! I guess John sarred da legs foor da table Uhh Nice woik fellas❗

  12. jane romnicki on June 13, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    I bought Woodglut once and now I have lifetime access to thousands of woodworking projects.

  13. Henchman B on June 13, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    1) You will need Mineral Spirits or Paint Thinner to clean your brushes if you use oil-based stain (but don’t put it down your drains).
    2) This stuff all stinks and will make you light-headed so you should stay in a very well ventilated room.
    3) If you have something that will have to rest on a side that you are staining, prepare every other side first, stain those sides, then prepare and stain the side you’re resting on. When all sides are stained move on to polyurethane.
    4) Gloves go a long way in cutting the amount of irritation you will experience from skin contact.
    5) Be careful about applying stain near a joint or the corners, as you may have trouble wiping it away or it may sink in a crack between two pieces of wood. This results in a darker stain color near these joints and corners.
    *) Sanding up to 220 is another step added to the sanding they mention here, but works very well in between the first and second coat of polyurethane to keep the application even.

    Happy Craftin’

  14. Brad the Pitts on June 13, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    I was told you CAN put water-based Polyurethane over an oil stain, as long as you first wipe the dried & stained wood with a rag & light spray of 50/50 water & alcohol. My project came out OK, only a long-term test will reveal if this was OK.

  15. RON J on June 13, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    Every "expert" contradicts the others with literally everything.

  16. Rebecca Lankford on June 13, 2023 at 1:04 pm

    Do you seal or condition? Sanding sealer that is.
    When do you seal vs condition?
    Do you use both?

  17. Becka C on June 13, 2023 at 1:05 pm

    Love the video I going to try this on a dresser I’m redoing

  18. Random Fandom on June 13, 2023 at 1:05 pm

    Stop brushing the stain against the grain. The trick is to rag it out, and buff it in. Wax on, wax off method.

  19. Arash on June 13, 2023 at 1:07 pm

    Hi, can I use natural oil on top of the stained wood? to protect

  20. lou on June 13, 2023 at 1:09 pm

    Hmmmm, should have watched this video before starting my project.

  21. empire on June 13, 2023 at 1:11 pm

    I found a couple nice solid wood chairs on the side of the road, and to learn the best way to stain them, I looked up a how to from This Old House. The boys always do an awesome job at explaining everything in a quick video

  22. MarkE WoodArt on June 13, 2023 at 1:13 pm

    can you do a you tube on applying stain, then applying linseed oil and the times to wait before application

  23. Lauri Gardner-Rhodes on June 13, 2023 at 1:15 pm

    Very informative and right to the point.

  24. Zortac on June 13, 2023 at 1:17 pm

    This is just a demo of technique, but always remember to use gloves and more importantly for oil based always use a mask rated for oils (N series like N95).

  25. Ryan Haydon on June 13, 2023 at 1:18 pm

    I just bought a palm sander and a pack of 220 grit sandpaper to stain an old nightstand that I built years ago. Do I have to buy all different grits, or can I get away with just using the 220 grit?

  26. Lawguy2009 on June 13, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    I know this channel is targeted to homeowners but polyurethane is just about the last topcoat I would use.

  27. shmeet on June 13, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    No sealer?

  28. Just About Anything on June 13, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    You should never use your project as a workbench. Don’t set finishing materials on it. EVER.
    You should finish sand to #220

  29. Robert Thorpe on June 13, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    What about staining after you filled in holes with wood puddy?

  30. CHERRY RAj on June 13, 2023 at 1:22 pm

    I have doubt please give me clarify if I use mimwax stain ofter I will use mimwax water Base spar urithene what will happen?

  31. Kathy Mieczkowski on June 13, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    I live in a 1960 built home and the powder room door is hollow. I recently took off the paint with Goof Off, sanded the door on all 4 sides. I’m not sure if I want to repaint it or go with a stain. I’m kind of leary on using stain only bc I tried it before and my son had to fix my goof ups. Plus this is a door…larger piece of wood. What would you advise? I just don’t want to have to goof up on this project and have to start over. Thank you, and I really enjoy watching your videos. Very helpful and informative!

  32. Jarome Jacksan on June 13, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    I found some amazing plans for Woodglut. Just check them out.

  33. Random Fandom on June 13, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    All stain left on top will soak in if you buff as you go. I’m currently doing black walnut verneer 3/4 particle board in ebony stain. Fun fact, particle board with double side verneer is cheaper than the 4×16 of verneer that is used per particle board. $70usd per 4×8 sheet of wood vs. the $80 per 2 sheetspree glued to 4×8!particle board

  34. Diver Dave on June 13, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    buy OLD MASTERS STAIN its 10 times better

  35. jjoser on June 13, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    How do you polish the finish ? Thanks

  36. Greg L on June 13, 2023 at 1:27 pm

    How to finish butcher block counter tops

  37. garyoa1 on June 13, 2023 at 1:27 pm

    Two finish coats to protect. However, the more you use, the deeper the finish. Some projects I’ve used up to 8 coats. Looks like it is covered in glass and wears like iron. And yes, with dry times, takes at least a week to finish a project.

  38. S A on June 13, 2023 at 1:29 pm

    I didn’t do it but watch it though. You good at that. 😝

  39. Ben Leaper on June 13, 2023 at 1:29 pm

    I did watch him tho. Well your good at that. Ha nice

  40. James Thrift on June 13, 2023 at 1:29 pm

    I’ll tell ya what triggered my OCD …. NOT USING GLOVES WHEN WIPING STAINS!!!! Omg!!! Are you kidding me! This guy knows everything about how to make wood look awesome but can’t teach people the most important thing!… stain is fine enough to absorb into wool pores, think how it can get into your skin!!!! VERY BAD FOR YOU!! As a matter of fact, if you don’t want to use gloves, better off using a child’s crayon to get a horrible look on your table but live to be 85 than to have incredible looking furniture throughout your house but end up with a brain tumor or children with 3 arms and one cyclops eye!!
    Okay this may be a bit overreacting but there is truth to the harmfulness of stain leaching into your skin! Incredible these dudes don’t realize pregnant women could be trying to stain furniture at home and COULD watch this and follow along. I don’t mean to offend anyone but if I’m correct about this, then please feel free to feel offended by all means.

  41. Random Fandom on June 13, 2023 at 1:29 pm

    I call bullshit, they didn’t sand the other side of the test pieces

  42. jjj1951 on June 13, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    I use gel stains which work great

  43. Gurdip Ahluwalia on June 13, 2023 at 1:32 pm

    what will you recommend for new yellow cedar deck?

  44. Birder John on June 13, 2023 at 1:34 pm

    Pro Tip:
    Wear gloves and a mask.

  45. Leek Le on June 13, 2023 at 1:35 pm

    Amazing! Straight to the point and solid information

  46. yamahonkawazuki on June 13, 2023 at 1:38 pm

    hehe he likes his finishes the opposite of james bond liking his drinks

  47. Christopher on June 13, 2023 at 1:38 pm

    This was a great video–I ended up staining two small IKEA dressers for my girls based on the instructions here, and they both turned out looking really nice.

  48. Karl I on June 13, 2023 at 1:40 pm

    I’ve sanded it my desk, used a pre-wood conditioner and then stained my desk. It’s been about five days. Now that I’m looking at it, I want it to have another coat. I have not protected with any polyurethane yet. Since it’s been five days, do I have to use pre-wood conditioner before staining it again.? Will it ruin the wood if I just stain it without using conditioner? Or maybe has it been too long between stain coats and shouldn’t I try to stain another coat? I guess what I’m really looking for is how long can you wait between coats of stain? Thank you

  49. Blog of The W3st on June 13, 2023 at 1:41 pm

    1. Oil-based wood conditioner
    2. Oil stain
    3. Good brush
    4. Oil polyurethane

    5. wait 8 hrs, then 220 sand
    6. Then another coat

  50. Sheila Craine on June 13, 2023 at 1:41 pm

    I sanded the poly but think I may have sanded some of the stain off. What to do and how can I tell?