How To Stain An Oak Cupboard

What You'll Need
Wood putty
Sandpaper (medium and fine grit)
Latex or nitrile gloves
Paint brush or cheese cloth
Stain (color of your choice)
Paint thinner
Polyurethane or shellac (optional)

Staining an oak cupboard is an easy and rewarding task that can enhance the beauty of your home. However, as easy as it can be to stain an oak cupboard, it is just as easy to make a mess. With a few guidelines and a little effort and patience your cupboard will be looking beautiful in no time.

Step 1 - Preparing the Surface

Start by putting wood putty in nail holes or damaged areas like cracks and dents. This will give the wood a flat even finish before staining and the wood putty is stainable as well. After the putty has had time to set and dry sand it smooth with a medium sandpaper flush with the surface of the wood.

Step 2 - Applying the Stain

The application is pretty simple. Make sure that you wear protective gloves and old clothes since stain soaks into the wood and skin equally.  Using a good quality paint brush or preferably cheese cloth or rag apply your stain. The cheese cloth pushes the stain into the grain of the wood easier then the brush.

As you apply the stain go in the same direction every time. This lets keeps your stroke pattern the same across your piece. The important part here is to not over due your stain; drips and runs can discolor your cupboard or cause odd streaks. Allow the stain to set and then reapply for a darker color or if your happy with it let it dry and prepare to coat it with your top coat.

Step 3 - Apply or Polyurethane or Shellac

This is an optional step its not necessary and because some stains have polyurethane in it. If you do add a separate finish to your cupboard you should know that polyurethane comes in different finishes (i.e. satin, semi-gloss, etc). This step is the most time consuming as you apply make sure you don't allow runs or bubbles. These can occur if the finish is applied to thick or is allowed to run. Clean up runs before it sets and just keep an eye on it. After it sets inspect your cupboard and if needed sand it with the fine sandpaper and reapply. 

If you take your time and don't rush the applications you will have a beautiful piece.