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How should i stain and finish a cross section of wood? Answered


So I've shaped and sanded a cross section of an ash tree.
The wood has been sanded to a smooth finish but that's usually as far as i take my wood working.
I want to use this to cover a base of an old desk lamp that lost its original base over time.

I want to use a dark stain and a gloss finish but I'm unsure as to what type of products should be used and how the process of finishing should go.

Any suggestions?



Best Answer 8 years ago

End grain on wood is quite porous and absorbant. To get a gloss finish, you will need to fill/seal all those pores.
I would use a combination paste wood filler/stain. The end grain, because of its porosity will get darker, quicker than a regular plane sawn piece of wood so you might want to use a slightly lighter shade of stain than you normally would. To stain and finish wood grain you must fill all those pores or you will have an orange peel effect when the finish coat dries. You will likely have to make several applications of the filler to seal and level the end grain sanding between each application.
For a small piece, as the finish coat, use several coats of a spray on, high gloss polyurethane, sanding lightly between each coat and then wet sand with 600 grit wet or dry sandpaper and buff with a good carnauba wax based buffing compound. You should end up with a glass like glossy finish.


8 years ago

Definitely do a sample on a scrap piece of wood - both to test the colour of the stain you used, and the amount of gloss. Remember that the stain may "raise" parts of the wood as they absorb the stain at different rates - be prepared to sand and re-stain. Another trick is to wipe the wood with water first, allowing it to swell, then sand it smooth prior to stain.


8 years ago

I had a member ask a question about my floor instructable. It turns out he is a cabinet maker in Denmark and he works with a company that hand makes furniture. He might be able to give you some advise. Just search for member jacob2die4

The company he works for has a web site, its here---


Under the "workshop" section they have information about the finishes they use and why.

Personally I love the ash color just as is, its one of the woods I am using for my floor, So I would say just go with a lacquer and enjoy the beauty of the wood.


8 years ago

If you have any scrap of the wood left over, sand it smooth and spray it with any of the clear gloss sprays. That often darkens wood in cross section and if you like it you won't have to stain it.

Otherwise go to Home Depot or any other hardware store and get one of the water based stains of the color of your choice and apply it according to directions. A test on another scrap piece would be handy.

Then spray with clear gloss to protect it and it's done.