Acacia is a type of hardwood tree that is native to Africa, Australia, and Hawaii. Since acacia wood is more durable than most hardwood and naturally resistant to insects and rot, many people prefer to use it for building homes, flooring, and furniture.
Although this material is highly durable and versatile, one tricky thing about it is that it is very difficult to stain since it is hardwood. To property stain the wood, you will need to use the right stain and the right method to get the job done.
So how do you stain acacia wood? Staining acacia takes some preparation. First, you’ll need to sand the surface, then raise the grain. After staining the first time, you will then have to sand it down one more time before adding your finish or polish of choice.
In this article, we will show you the best method to stain acacia wood in a step-by-step guide.
Can You Stain Acacia Wood?
While you can definitely stain acacia wood, it is usually more difficult and not always worth it if the wood looks good on its own. That’s why you rarely see stained Acacia wood, and people often opt for a wood finish to enhance the natural grain of acacia instead.
The grain of different acacia wood species has a varied appearance. Some species, such as the Hawaiian koa, have a wavy, interlocking textured grain, while other species can have a fine, uniform grain. If you love the natural grain, then using a wood finish is enough to make your piece look polished and high-end.
Part of the reason why you rarely see stained hardwoods is because, due to its grain structure, staining is difficult to do. This characteristic makes it difficult for the stain to penetrate the wood surface.
Fortunately, you can solve this problem with the right stain and the right method. Although staining acacia wood will undoubtedly require more time and skills, the finished result can be an expensive-looking, strong and durable wood that will be perfect for flooring or a countertop that needs to withstand rough treatments.
Let’s explore how you can effectively stain acacia wood.
Acacia Wood Stain Colors
There are various types of stains on the market, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages, and not all of them will be the right choice for acacia wood.
Staining hardwood requires a good oil-based wood stain, which can penetrate deeply into the wood. This effect is usually achieved by a solvent (mineral spirit, for example) that will thin the oil and give it a good penetration. Even better, natural oil wood stain can act as a layer of protection for your wood, increasing its durability.
If you want to stain acacia wood, you will want to steer away from water-based, gel, or lacquer wood stain.
For other types of wood, water-based wood stains are great because they are eco-friendly and more durable than oil-based stains.
However, water-based stains are mainly used to enhance the wood’s natural grain because they can’t penetrate deeply into the wood, which means they don’t work very well with hardwoods like Acacia.
Lacquer wood stain has a similar problem: it is fast drying and cannot penetrate the hardwood to a depth, so it wouldn’t work well with Acacia wood either. Gel wood stain is formulated with a thick gel that is colored by pigment, and it is not recommended for use with hardwood either.
Acacia wood has a variety of colors, ranging from golden brown to deep rich brown. When it comes to color, you should consider the color that works best with the natural color of your Acacia wood.
If you have lighter wood, then you probably have more color options since it’s easier to turn a light color into a dark-toned wood. However, if you have a darker wood, you should opt for a rich, deep color, which will work well with the natural tone of the wood.
Tip: Always make sure your stain hasn’t gone bad before you attempt to use it. You can learn more about how to tell if your stain has gone bad here.
How To Stain Acacia Wood
Compared to other types of hardwood, Acacia wood has a unique grain pattern, which gives the home a rustic, farmhouse-chic look that still looks highly polished and expensive at the same time.
One of the most popular uses of Acacia wood is furniture. Because it’s durable and can take a lot of weight, the wood is resistant to scratches and can maintain its shape no matter the climate or humidity.
Acacia is also known to create stunning flooring. Its distinctive grain patterns and beautiful colors make it a great choice for a modern, rustic home. Since Acacia wood is also waterproof, it’s great for kitchen counters and dining table tops since it can be easily cleaned up after a spill.
However, even though the material itself is fantastic for these purposes, you may not like the color. That’s where staining comes in. If you want to produce a vibrant, long-lasting color with a smooth finish, follow the steps below to stain your Acacia wood.
Step 1: Sanding
Sand the wood lightly to the desired finish.
This step is a very standard step that you should do for staining every type of wood, not just hardwood, which will help the stain perform better later on.
Step 2: Raising the grain
Raising the grain is an essential next step during the preparation of staining hardwood. It prepares the wood for properly absorbing the stain, which allows the stain to penetrate deeper.
This process involves making the wood fibers stand up, which then allows the stain to penetrate the wood fibers and extend the life of the finished product.
To raise the grain, use a wet cloth to go over the wood surface. Your cloth should not be dripping, but the wood should be properly damp after wiping.
Then, allow the wood to completely dry (which takes 30 minutes to an hour). Afterward, you should feel some light grain when you run your hands over the wood; that’s when it is ready for staining.
This is because the wetting process helps the wood fibers expand, and then when the moisture evaporates, the ends of the fibers pull down towards the wood surface, exposing the end of the grain.
Step 3: Staining
With your oil-based stain of choice, apply it to the surface of the wood in even layers to avoid staining areas that are darker than others.
The best way to quickly achieve an even look is to use a cloth or a sponge to evenly distribute the stain. A paintbrush will take longer and won’t give you an even look.
If you are using a cloth or sponge, use a light hand to pick up the stain. Your sponge should not be dripping, otherwise will see visible drip marks on the wood. You should also be going along the grain of your wood while applying the stain, which allows the stain to soak in more easily and creates a natural finish.
When it comes to staining, you can use as many coats as you’d like to achieve the desired look. If you want a darker color, wait for the first coat to dry and then apply a second coat. Since the color may look different when wet, you should wait for each coat to dry completely and then see whether you need another coat.
Step 4: Second Sanding
After the stain has dried completely, it is time to sand it again. Why is this step necessary? As you remember, we have just raised the wood and make the surface rougher before staining it. This step will help remove the rough texture of the wood surface and smooth it out again.
This step should only be a light sanding; you don’t want to remove all of the colors of the wood after you’ve just stained it. After each sanding, you can feel the wood to see if the surface is smooth and sand more if necessary.
Step 5: Finishing
The last step is to apply a wood finish to enhance the durability of the wood and protect the layer of stain that you’ve just applied. A good finish is especially important for wood furniture because it prevents the surface from getting too dry and cracking, ensuring that the wood stays new and shiny even after some time.
The finish that you choose should match the grain and color of the wood, as well as the purpose of the wood. A countertop or tabletop will need a different finish compared to a hardwood floor, for example.
After the first coat of finish, wait for it to completely dry. Then, you can examine the surface of the wood again to see if it needs further sanding. This is because the finish may also raise the grain of the wood (similar to step 2), which means you will need to do a light sanding after the first coat to remove the texture.
You should only have to do this after the first coat of wood finish. Then, you can apply as many layers as you’d like, as long as you wait a few hours for each coat to dry completely before applying the next one.
Once the wood has a nice and even sheen, the process of staining your Acacia wood is finished, and you can enjoy your newly stained creation!
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