Whether to Spray a Wiping Stain

Basic info about wiping stain application and the pros and cons of various methods. September 3, 2010

Anyone have tips on spraying stain? Can you spray a wiping stain? I'm trying to get rid of as much blotching as possible. I have some SW BAC wiping stain, and the store rep said it is sprayable.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor M:
We stain a lot of shutter panels and also use a good number of SW products. On a few occasions we have sprayed the panels, usually just to save some time. I have noticed that when spraying stain, the grain does not show as well. We still wipe it down, but the end result does not look as good to me. I don't remember the series of stain we used when this was happening. Between the time it takes to clean up my spray gun and the effort required to wipe the stain in a timely fashion, I find that spraying does not work well for my product. I would think on cabinetry it would be much easier. Be sure you have plenty of rags on hand and somewhere to go with wet parts. And be sure you do not spray on more than you can wipe off within the recommended time. SW wiping stains do spray well, just adjust your equipment so you are moving a volume that works for your situation, and remember to strain the material.

From contributor K:
Regarding wiping stain, it rarely matters how you apply it - pour it, rag it, brush it, or spray it. Wiping stains are designed to be flooded on, or at least applied heavily, and wiped off, so you cannot apply too much stain in this regard. The wood will take what the wood will take. Trying to moderate that amount can result in unevenness of application, and in not allowing the wood to take what it will take.

Regarding splotching, the type of wood is the determining factor. Typically, pine, poplar, and maple will splotch more than oak, as an example. There are several techniques and products that are available to reduce the splotchiness.

1) Dye stains
2) Wiping stain over dye stain
3) Gel stain

4) Wash coat prior to staining
5) Toners in the finish coats
6-174): other combinations of possibilities

Through practice, try to find the one or two techniques that work for you consistently. Spraying the stain on is usually the faster method. Get a cheap spray gun that is used only for staining.

From contributor J:
I like lacquer based stain for spraying. It dries fast so you can keep spraying it on. With the wiping stains, they dry slower and if you don't let them dry a lot between coats, you get mottling.

From contributor W:
There are many way to apply the stain. In my opinion the best way is to do a wet spray. But it depends on what finishing appearance you want, the type of stain, and the wood condition you have. Yes, you can try to spray for your wiping stain, but you must do it carefully. The wiping stain dries slowly. With the spray, too much will create sagging.