This is more of a note for myself. I still haven’t put down my notes about finishing the oak table in my woodworking notebook. It’s easier to blog it.
I finish sanded the table before gluing it up. That is deffinitely the way to go. I started doing it by hand, but then figured that the palm sander worked a lot better.
The stain I used was Minwax red oak stain. It is a water based stain. What I found is that it will raise the grain on the wood. What this means is that your perfectly smooth wood will not be perfectly smooth after application. To avoid this you can get the piece wet with a rag to raise the grain. Then finish sand it. I didn’t do this, but I will next time.
I put one coat of stain on and let it dry. I sanded the top after it dried. I did not sand the rest of the piece. I wiped the top off whith a rag then applied a second coat.
I applied each coat with a sponge brush, let it sit for about 5 minutes, then wiped it off with a cotton t-shirt.
I wanted an arts and crafts looking finish on it, without having to resort to amonia fuming. I think that it is pretty close.
For the next piece (a mission style couch) I will dampen the entire piece with a rag to raise the grain, then finish sand it. I may do this a few times until I am happy with it. I will stain it the same way, but I will sand the entire piece between coats this time. The part of the table that wasn’t sanded between coats has a little bit of a glossy look to it. I would like to avoid that.