Wood Stains + Wood Species

Wood Stain Colors And Finishes

wood stains

We are presently using KCI products for finishing. Their wood stains and lacquers are great and service is excellent so our experience since switching over has been a good one. The main reason we use their products is because they have an outstanding performance record in the “Green” finishing products field. Their water-born stains and lacquers provide  peace of mind for the applicator who wants to avoid the high VOC’s and noxious smells of the solvent born products. Knowing that he is breathing in far less toxic materials and what is going into a clients home is a greener product with almost no perceptible post production odors is a nice thought. We are very happy with the durability of the finishes as well so there has been no real compromise to speak of.

Another advantage has been the water clear properties of the water born products we use. Urethanes made with traditional alkyd or solvent born formulas have a tendency to yellow in time as the resins absorb UV radiation from sunlight. The absence of that factor with the very stable water-born products means truer base and stain color details that aren’t affected by the top coating procedure.


We have a couple Minwax color charts to look at HERE. We used these as a reference because of their popularity and availability if you choose to go that route. We have also used their products successfully before.

Wood Species And Stain Colors

Although it is obvious it does bear mentioning that the color tones and pigments and even the natural oils present in the wood will play a part in the colorizing effects of the finished product. Some woods have a very neutral natural tone thus making them endlessly colorizeable (if that wasn’t a word before it is now). Species like Maple, Birch, White Oak, Poplar Sapwood to name a few are quite neutral will readily accept colorization. Contrast that with Cherry, Poplar Heartwood (Olive green), Cedar, Redwood, Black Walnut and even Fir which all have strong pigments to them that reduce their likelyhood of being well suited for certain color considerations.  Sometimes these factors need to be considered when a specific color tone or shade is required or desired. Choosing a species that will work well with your intended use and that will lend itself to being colorized to meet your finishing requirements would be a wise start. 

Sometimes a species’ pigmentation can be successfully altered using wood dye. The resulting less-pigmented lumber may get closer to your intended starting point. Of course as with anything else you should do some testing before working on the actual project itself.

For an idea of some wood species natural coloring take a look at THIS PAGE.


Consumer Reviews

  1. I am thinking of doing a mural on a redwood fence. I love the colors of your indoor water base stains, but need to find a way to make the stains hold up outdoors. Is there a way to make this work? additives, protective coat?

    p.s. could you use black ink in your email formats? This is really hard to see.

    • Hi Marian,
      That’s a great question. The first answer would be a protective over-coating with UV inhibitors. Since we design/build/finish furniture for indoor mostly I don’t have a conclusive answer at my fingertips but I can ask. We are presently using KCI stains as they are wonderful and so easy to work with (we did a post about awhile back – read it here). They may have some stabilizing properties already in the mix but I would need to speak to their chemists to be sure. If you don’t mind waiting a day or so I can ask for recommendations? Get back to me if you want me to proceed as it could take some time but I’d be happy to help out.
      Let me see what I can find out and I will get back to you asap.

      Re. your visibility comment…thank you so much. I appreciate the observation and I’ll do something about it as soon as I can figure out how! Great comment tho…probably a problem for others too but you’re the first kind person to say something. Again, very much appreciated.

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