The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Pigment Oil Stains
There are both advantages and disadvantages to using pigment oil stains. While you may enjoy the advantages of this stain over the other two types, you should be aware of the disadvantages before you decide to use this stain for your wood finishing project.
• Pigment oil stains are easily prepared.
• They are very versatile, and are ideal for all kinds of woodwork from plinth blocks to custom millwork.
• They are very easy to apply, even by children.
• They do not raise the grain. Consequently, sponging and re-sanding are unnecessary. This saves you a lot of work when using this kind of stain in wood finishing.
• They may be used on thin veneers without any danger of loosening the glue.
• They are cheaper to apply than water-stains. As a result, they are used on cheap furniture, and frequently in house finishing.
• They are good to use on the interior of case goods where raising the grain and re-sanding are difficult. Large pieces of wooden furniture such as wooden bar rails, or a wooden cabinet, for example.
• They generally contain a certain amount of some drying oil, such as linseed oil, and in drying, they leave a thin varnish-like film which protects the wood to some extent.
• A drying-oil, such as linseed oil, unless it is bleached, darkens the wood even without being mixed with any colors.
• Oil colors can be mixed with wood-filler, and this allows for the combination stains and fills in one operation.
• Oil stains can be used successfully on certain very absorptive woods, such as cypress, which becomes very rough and porous when water staining is attempted.
• Stains containing a drying oil, such as linseed oil, do not penetrate as deeply into the wood as they do when turpentine is used. Stains with drying oils as the vehicle give an even, flat tone, however, because they do not penetrate unevenly in spots on account of irregular wavy or end grain around or near knots.
• Attractive effects can be produced with several of the pigment oil stains on some of the close grained woods, such as poplar, cherry, maple, white pine, and even on walnut, which is somewhat porous.
• Oil stains do not penetrate deeply and as a result they are easily cut through by sandpaper or are quickly worn off by use.
• Re-staining is difficult with oil stains. Therefore the proper color must be secured with one coat. (If the stain is raised with benzene, another darker color can be applied
with some success.)
• Oil stain pigments are opaque and remain on the surface to some extent; they obscure the grain and cause a loss of transparency.
• Oil stains are more expensive than water-stains, and do not cover as much surface gallon for gallon.
• If it is applied too slowly, or if it is not rubbed soon enough, an oil stain may go into the pores too deeply to dry promptly. Later on, it may ooze out and cause
• Oil stains require several days for proper drying. For this reason, if you choose to stain fireplace mantel shelves, or entire fireplace mantels for either an electric or gas fireplace, you must wait until it is completely and absolutely dry until you light a fire.
• Oil stains are likely to "lift" or come off to some extent with filler.
• The shades of color available in pigment oil stains are more limited in number than in water-stains.
Allison Ryan is a freelance marketing writer from San Diego, CA. She specializes in do-it-yourself home improvement, from plinth blocks and wooden bar rails to fireplace mantels and custom mouldings. For the best in the hardwood moulding industry, check out http://www.ferche.com/.