Sheer magic: today’s wood stains

01 Oct 2014

Long gone are the days of brown stains… and more brown stains. Today’s collections from Resene may have a healthy representation of earthy tones but there are also a slew of other adventurous and colourful tones as well.

Sitting between solid paint finishes and varnishes, stains are sometimes the forgotten heroes of the surface treatments world. Now available in a wide range of exciting shades, wood stains allow the natural grain of the timber to show through so are the perfect way to add colour to new or previously stained timber without losing its natural beauty. There’s nothing like a fresh stain to bring the look of your timber deck back to life.

One of the most recent additions to the range is Resene Whitewash, which is perfect for creating a soft whitewash effect on timber floors or furniture.

There are two stunning Resene stains collections – one for outdoor use, Resene Woodsman, and the other for indoors, Resene Colorwood. While each has its own colour range, many of the colours for Resene Colorwood can be tinted into Resene Woodsman and vice versa to give you more options. Go to www.resene/Woodsman.htm or www.resene.co.nz/Colorwood.htm or pick up free Resene exterior wood stains and Resene Colorwood colour charts from your local Resene ColorShop or reseller.

If you like a particular colour but it is too intense, add Resene Colorwood Reducing Base, which will soften the hue without losing the character and body of the undiluted stain. Resene Colorwood Reducing Base is also perfect on dark timbers to enhance the grain and appearance of the timber, without making the timber appear even darker.

Stains are transparent, therefore the final finish colour will depend on the nature of the timber being stained. Stains applied to light woods will appear much stronger and brighter in colour than stains applied to dark wood.

Top tip: Try the colours you plan to use on a similar piece of timber with Resene testpots. Bright, light and limed colours are best applied to light timbers such as pine or plywood, although attractive results may be achieved on cedar.

Higher density wood and hardwoods do not absorb liquids as readily as softer woods or less dense woods so you may need to select a darker stain or apply two coats to get your desired colour.

Grain orientation is also important. Woods with parallel surface orientation are relatively smooth with long runs of grain and tend to be the least absorbent. Cross-grain surfaces are very porous and will absorb almost all of the stain colour. Some timber pretreatments such as oils and pressure treating may affect the wood's ability to accept the stain.

The stain colour will be affected by the gloss level of the product you choose to topcoat your stain, if any. A clear gloss polyurethane will make the colour appear more vibrant than a clear flat polyurethane. If you want a waxy finish, use a flat polyurethane.

Resene Waterborne Woodsman, Resene Woodsman Decking Stain and Resene Colorwood are all waterbased so are easily to apply and clean up afterwards.

Top tip: Resene Colorwood standard colours are inter-mixable so you can make whatever colour you like for when a pre-mixed colour isn't quite right for your scheme. Choose a colour that is close to what you want. Carefully add the colour that is lacking until you achieve just the right hue. Make sure you intermix enough to complete your project and write down the mix you used just in case you decide you want more of it later. Talk to staff at your nearest Resene ColorShop if you need more advice. 

Do you have a home full of wonderful Resene paint and colour? Send us some snaps by emailing editor Sharon Newey on [email protected].

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Bricked in blue with Resene Woodsman stains in Resene Pitch Black, Resene Bleached Cedar, Resene Pickled Bluewood, Resene Limed Ash and Resene Riverstone. 

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All decked out in Resene Woodsman stains in Resene Heartwood, Resene Totem Pole, Resene Nutmeg, Resene English Walnut and Resene Driftwood.

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The perfect stain for a cool look, Resene Whitewash from the Resene Colorwood stains range. 

pictures Photographs by Tony Brownjohn

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Resene Bleached Cedar

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Resene Driftwood

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Resene English Walnut

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Resene Heartwood

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Resene Limed Ash

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Resene Pickled Bluewood

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Resene Pitch Black

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Resene Riverstone

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Resene Totem Pole

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Resene Bleached Cedar

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Resene Driftwood

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Resene English Walnut

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Resene Heartwood

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Resene Limed Ash

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Resene Pickled Bluewood

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Resene Pitch Black

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Resene Riverstone

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Resene Totem Pole

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the look

If you're stuck on what
colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
Ask a Colour Expert service.