Masking Off an Unstained Area

      How to keep stain from bleeding onto an adjacent area. March 9, 2006

I am going to finish a table top which has a curly maple field with a cherry picture frame border. The cherry has to be color matched to some existing chairs. The maple grain will be popped, but that's all. How do you keep the stain off the maple (wicking under the masking tape)? I thought about using an automotive type of fine line tape and not letting the area get too wet. I will be spraying the dye and stain. How about a washcoat/sealer coat before masking?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor L:
I had a piece of ply glued to a piece of curly maple. The ply was to be stained black and the curly maple to be dyed red-yellow. I did the lighter color curly maple first with tape and paper covering the ply. Then I did my first coat of clear on the curly. Then I reversed the tape and paper and stained the ply black. Took the tape and paper off. I did have some bleed through, but I just rubbed hard with a dry paper towel and it came right off. I did this immediately after I stained it black. No waiting for the stain to eat into the clear coat. Clear coated the black and then sanded the tape line smooth. Then a couple of clear coats on everything and it was a super clean line. Worked out nice.

From contributor D:
If on bare wood, use something fast drying like alcohol dye, not as bleedy as water and oil. Or seal all after maple treatment, then mask off and spray black over sealer.

From contributor C:
Since the maple will be unstained, I would mask off the cherry and finish the maple first. Seal the tape edges with thin coats of quick drying clear before spraying fully wet out coats. Then reverse the masking and stain and finish the cherry. Remove the masking and sand the tape line a bit before finishing with one or two coats of clear overall.

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