The importance of finishing woodwork cannot be overemphasized as it is the final step of the manufacturing process. It is in this stage that the wood surface is giving desirable characteristics such as enhanced appearance and increased resistance to moisture.
Finishing undoubtedly makes the piece easier to clean and maintain as well. In finishing, careful planning and execution are required to ensure the best performance of the finished piece and to ensure it does look attractive.
Wood oil is one primary technique in finishing, as well as wood stain. Wood stain is a wood finish applied to timber to change or alter its appearance. Wood oil, on the other hand, is made up of molecules small enough to penetrate the timber and replace or replenish its natural oils.
It serves as a decorative wood finish that also adds protection. In this article, we’ll look at Tru oil and its possibility of working over the stain.
What Is Tru Oil?
Tru oil is unique and homogenized linseed and other natural oil-based product used for finishing. It is a copolymerized oil used initially for gun stocks. Tru oil is a drying oil expected to dry fast, resist water damage, and hope not to cloud.
The linseed oil ingredient found in Tru oil gives a natural darkening effect to wood. Tru oil has relatively become popular for use on musical insTruments and various other items that are expected to be dealt with or handled very often.
This can be attributed to its strong defiance of moisture and wear & tear. It works great on a guitar as it brings a deep color that heavily intensifies the guitar’s grain.
Tru oil finds its way into the wood on which it is applied to intensify its color and heighten grain, after which it dries into a tough, brilliant coating when exposed to air.
What Is Wood Stain?
Wood stain is simply another type of paint with colorants dissolved or suspended on a solvent or ‘vehicle’ and is used to color wood.
The solvent often may be water, alcohol, petroleum distillate, or a finishing agent like varnish, shellac, lawyer, and polyurethane. Stained finishes do not typically penetrate the pores of the wood, and they may disappear when the finish deteriorates.
Dyes and pigments are commonly used as colorants in most stains. The difference between both of them is the size of the particles and solubility.
A dye is a substance that dissolves into the vehicle or solvent, while pigments are more significant than molecules and are temporarily suspended in the vehicle, gradually settling out over time.
Stains with mostly dye content are said to be ‘transparent’ while those with more pigment in them are said to be opaque or ‘solid.’ Some stains may be called ‘semi-transparent’ or ‘semi-solid.’ Their relative transparency or opaqueness/solidness may fall between the two extremes of transparent and opaque.
What You Should Consider When Using Tru Oil Over Stain
Staining wood before using Tru oil is a great idea. Both oil finishes and wood stains work similarly. They both need to penetrate the wood pores to be effective. It should be noted that if you try to apply wood stain after a Tru oil coat, it will result in uneven problems.
Tru oil over a wooden stain will give a charming finish. It is pretty easy to work with and hence provides a fine finish. Tru oil over stain brings out a unique brilliance, and you can achieve this by ensuring the stain is completely dry.
Before coating Tru oil over a wood stain, you should significantly consider the surface level. The surface level of the project has to be leveled out completely. A perfectly leveled surface may be hard to achieve.
If the surface isn’t properly leveled, the Tru oil will show every irregularity on the surface. So, you must be aware that you cannot level sand a Tru oil like other oil finishes.
The Tru oil works so well with anilic stain. It adds an amber tint to the wooden surface. If you are trying to darken wood by spending time making an all-in-one blend, it is more straightforward to coat on a wood stain color of your choice and then follow with Tru oil coats afterward.
Tru oil is a polymerized oil, so it will dry faster than most oil finishes and makes it easier to build a finish with it. A range of 2 – 4 coats is sufficient, but if it isn’t shiny enough for you, you can rub it hard with a rag to raise the sheen.
Using Tru oil will give you an excellent working finish, and it is also easily repairable if there are scratches on it. You must avoid sanding or power buffing of Tru oil; if you don’t, the sanding process will pull out the grain quickly.
Can You Mix Tru Oil with Any Wood Stain?
You can mix Tru oil with stain, but the stains won’t blend right into the oil without any extra additive in the form of ethoxylated alcohol.
Getting the proper ratio of ethoxylated alcohol is vital. When it is added to an oily wood stain, it ‘thins’ it out so the stain will mix right into the Tru oil. However, Tru oil blends better with an oil-based stain.
Wood stain can be purchased in water-based, oil-based, or varnish-based solutions and even a wood gel stain that works more like a coat of paint than a usual soaking-in stain. Mixing an oil-based wood stain with a Tru oil shouldn’t be an issue.
Tru oil will coat onto a water-based stain or an oil-based stain that has dried properly. Although it might not blend or mix consistently with a water-based stain.
Advantages/Disadvantages of Using Water-based Stain
Water-based stain dries up quickly after application, but it will take a longer time to dry in high humidity and lower temperature.
It has no harmful odors and fumes, so there is no toxic effect if you breathe it in. Water-based stain is the most eco-friendly stain, which is why most artisans consider it their best stain option.
The water stain is easier to clean; it only requires soap and water. It also keeps the color of the wood for a more extended period. It resists decay, yellowing, and cracking, making it a top-tier stain option.
It is durable and easy to remove with soap and water because it produces fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and it dries up quickly. It would be best if you avoided stains that contain glycol ether solvents. They are very harmful to one’s health.
Advantages/Disadvantages of Using Oil-based Stains
An oil stain’s most significant advantage is its ultimate durability. It penetrates wood more easily than water-based stain. This is because the oil stain molecules are smaller than the water-based stain molecules.
Oil stains require more time to dry than water-based stains. Because of its drying time, it is more ascertainable than the water-based stain. The long curing time allows the project to have an even finish that will be devoid of lap marks.
When an oil-based stain is applied on a surface, expect to see a brilliant sheen that is quite alluring. Although the glow gradually becomes duller over time.
Oil stains are most likely to be hazardous, and this can lead to health complications. Oil-based stains contain higher VOC, which makes them toxic to the environment.
Is Water-based Stain Better Than Oil-based Stain?
Both oil and water-based stains provide several levels when it comes to coverage or protection. The two stains have their benefits and strengths, and they have their purposes. Before choosing the suitable one for your project, you should consider their factors.
On exposure to weather or atmosphere, the best-suited stain to use is oil-based. Why? Because it is more durable than water-based stain.
If you desire a more even finish on your project, an oil-based stain is the best stain to choose. It is easier to use because of its linseed oil ingredient, and it also penetrates wood effortlessly.
It is crucial to know that not all oil-based products are penetrating agents. Applying oil stains will gradually lessen the long-term maintenance that prevents expensive emergency repairs. Oil-based stains are better to use for large outdoor projects.
Water-based stains are significant for small projects, and they do not have a strong odor. They are quick to dry compared to oil stain. Although, they are more expensive than oil-based stains.
Water stains are usually significant under water-based finishes. They will last longer if they are appropriately applied. UV resistance of the stain can retain a surface color, and when it comes to shelf life, it stays for as long as three years. Any leftovers should be appropriately stored to remain usable for an occasion.
Before purchasing an oil finish like Tru oil to be coated over a stain, you should check for the compatibility of the stain to the oil. Knowing this will enable an excellent result for your project.