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Wood Finishing and Painting

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Old 11-07-2010, 11:19 PM
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Question Artist needs help with staining and painting basswood

I am an artist who uses latex/acrylic paint (both fine art and craft paint) on basswood. I buy finished pieces and then carve them and/or just paint them. So far I am self taught when it comes to prepping the wood and so forth. But I am in uncharted territory working on a basswood box that I want to stain and then paint over.

I have been using a water based sealer after prep sanding, then taking steel wool to it to burnish it. I then usually paint it and cover it with a varnish. This time I would like to stain the entire box to give it a nice color and bring out the grain before I paint the lid and such.. What sort of stain should I use that I can paint over with acrylics?

Do I still re-sand it and use the steel wool? Is there a better technique for 'burnishing' the wood? Often when I put the sealer on then start with the steel wool, the steel wool leaves a tarnish on the wood. What am I doing wrong?

Thanks ahead of time for your expertise,
~Charlotte GS
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Old 11-08-2010, 09:02 AM
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Default Re: Artist needs help with staining and painting basswood

Most basswood is not really much in the grain department, but sometimes you can find really nice piece. However, basswood is a notorious "splotcher" when stained.

You should use a pre-stain preparation before putting on your stain. These pre-stain compounds are usually a thinned down varnish that partially seal the grain, especially the soft more absorbant sections. I don't know if they make a water based pre-stain but look around and you may find one. Either way follow the directions carefully and you may want to use two applications. Once the pre-stain has been properly applied, just use the stain as usual.

Some folks use a mix of 50/50 alcohol and shellac as a pre stain.

I wouldn't mix an oil based per-stain with a water based stain.

I'm not partial to water based finishes...never had good luck with them, but that is just my personal preference. I'd rather use oil based products and wait the extra drying time. Good ventilation then is necessary, though. I understand watr based products have improved greatly so maybe I'll give them a try again SOMEDAY!


Last edited by AlArchie; 11-08-2010 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 11-08-2010, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: Artist needs help with staining and painting basswood

Thinned shellac will work with either oil stain or water based stain.

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Old 11-08-2010, 05:19 PM
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Default Re: Artist needs help with staining and painting basswood

you should be able to paint acrylic paint over stain. I'd test your specific stain/paint on a scrap.
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acrylic paint, burnishing, staining

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