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Staining (and protecting) timber

  |   Materials, Newsletter

from Daizen News August 2012

Why stain early?

The right finish protects timber, making it both more useful and more beautiful. The most important types of protection are from sun, from moisture, and from fungus. Also, applying an oil or other coating system will allow timber to cure very slowly. Curing slowly means fewer twists or checks: it means the timber stays stable.

It’s best to apply the coating to all timber surfaces including butt ends and “inside” (hidden) joinery such as tenons and mortises. The only chance to do this is when the individual, unassembled timbers are in our shop. We apply multiple coats of the wood finishes we use.

Wood colour and orientation (straight-grain or cross-grain) affect finished colour. End-grain surfaces, where the stain penetrates more into the fibre are darker. And flat grain timber shows a lighter colour than vertical grain because flat grain shows more of the summer growth ring (less dense than the winter grow ring). Surface texture also makes a difference: rough surfaces hold more stain and are darker than smooth surfaces.

Our choices: LandArk and BoMol

LandArk, formulated and produced in the United States, is the most natural system available to protect the wood fibre. It’s an oil finish that soaks deep into the wood.

We also use BoMol Woodcare Products, made by Bohme, a Swiss company. Besides being environmentally friendly (no volatile organic compounds), they are water-based and provide effective UV radiation protection and moisture damage protection.

We use 7 different colours in the BoMol system, ranging from transparent clear to very dark brown. Of course, final colour depends on grain orientation, denseness, and surface texture, as well as type of wood. Here’s a subset of our finishes:

LandArk Oil Finish

The most natural system available, it soaks deeply into the wood. It brings out the richness of the wood grain, a real advantage to enhance the quality of high-grade timber.

BoMol Clear

This transparent colour really is clear—it almost feels bare. It’s popular for those who want to keep the fresh look of the timber in its unadulterated beauty. It still contains the UV and fungus protection, though.

BoMol Natural

Our most common finish colour, a bit darker than Pine with more orange.

BoMol Cedar

A decidedly red colour.

Bomol Walnut

The darkest colour we use. It’s really a chocolate, but the wood grain is still visible. Stunning.

The other colours we carry are BoMol Pine, Chestnut, and Butternut. To see the full set plus more in-depth information about the staining process at Daizen, see the Downloads page on our website.