Birch plywood is one of the popular woods that has been used for cabinets, furniture, and other projects for a long time. It gives the classic look to your décor that you may like to add at an affordable rate. Besides being affordable, it’s also durable and strong for long-lasting projects.
But, is this plywood easy to work with? Does it stain properly and evenly? Many questions may pop up in your mind. Don’t worry, you will get every answer to your query here. Staining birch plywood is a bit tricky but not impossible to do by yourself. Here you will get to know, how to handle the birch wood and the process of staining and finishing it properly. Let’s go for it then.
4 Ways to Staining Birch Plywood [without Blotaching]:
1. Get the Plywood Ready
The general techniques for staining all varieties of wood or plywood can be applied for birch plywood also. Though it’s troublesome to stain this one, some normal tips can work well for you.
At first, you should lightly sand your plywood for attaining a smooth surface. If you want a more accurate result, wetting the surface may give you that as it can loosen the fibres. For a brighter or darker colour, the damp wood can produce more sound results with more even finish.
2. Apply a Pre-Stain Conditioner [To Avoid Blotching]
Birch is the type of wood that is susceptible to stain perfectly. Still, there may be plenty of flaws if you stain it without special treatment. This is because birch is famous for soaking pigments unequally as well as leading to blotches and blurry effects. Surely, you won’t want this kind of floors or furniture around you.
To solve this extreme absorbency, a product named pre-stain conditioner is effective. Normally, birch absorbs any pigment unevenly and quickly. When you apply this conditioner before staining, the stain absorbed capacity of birch is filled up by it. As a result, the real stain is absorbed by the fiber more evenly like other woods. Soaking up the wood with this treatment leads it to lose some capacity of holding the stain quickly, leaving it with blotch-free finishing.
You might be thinking that this pre-stain conditioner may affect the plywood appearance at first. Fortunately, the stain won’t change as this product has no exact colour. So, no need to worry.
Making a pre-stain conditioner is easy by mixing the mineral spirits and linseed oil in equal parts. Also, you can purchase ready-made ones from the local home improvement store. Once you have collected it, apply it onto the wood and then wait for it to dry properly before painting the stain.
3. Use a Water-Based Stain
With the appropriate knowledge, you can make the right decision to stain colors on birch wood. There are many types of stains in the market, you have to choose wisely among them. Do you know what type of stain you should use on birch plywood? Well, you can use any variety but a water-based stain will be the perfect option.
a) Apply Staining Color
Applying this kind of stain has a couple of methods. The first one is to apply the color in equal strokes by a paintbrush along the wood grain. After staining plywood edges, there may be extra color in small areas around it that can be wiped with any old t-shirt. You have to blend the color evenly as much as possible for the difficult areas. Read Also: 9 Best Paint for Plywood Outside & Shed Floor [2021 Reviews].
b) Ragging the stain:
Ragging the stain on the plywood is the second option you can try. For this, you will need a lint-free rag. Just dip the rag into the paint-box and start applying it on the wood. To avoid blotchiness, you must apply it as quickly as possible.
c) Use a Gel Stain to Make it Dark:
For staining birch plywood dark, the third option is the good one and it is called “gel stain”. Dark stains create blotchy appearance if you don’t apply a conditioner before staining. But there is some exception, you need to test the colour before painting the entire project on a block of scrap wood and be sure of the conditioner requirement.
4. Use Toner to Fix Splotchy Areas
Sometimes we cannot turn away the flaws even though we try our best. You may face this kind of situation here too. After finishing birch plywood step by step properly, you will desire a blotch-free piece of furniture. Yet, you can be disappointed. But, don’t be sad! There is a solution to this situation.
Go to the local home improvement store and you will find a product named wood toner at the stain aisle. This gives a translucent layer of colour to your project as well as it evens out the areas that have been stained unevenly. Pay careful attention to the troublesome areas and brush it as same as a stain.
Also, you can DIY your toner at home with a few steps. You don’t need much to make this. It can be made with a can of polyurethane, water, and some general tinting colorant. You can use any of the water-based polyurethane or oil-based polyurethane. As you can guess, water-based polyurethane pairs very well with the water-based stain and it also has a smaller number of fumes, also easy to clean. [Read Also: 9 Best Plywood for Painting to Save Beautiful Artwork]
Maintain the water and water-based polyurethane ratio at 2:1 and mix them well enough to combine properly. Then, add the general tinting colorant as much as needed for the color you desire. After that, you can take a quality brush and apply it simply as you did for the stain. Make sure to check your work often as bubbles can be created on the surface by the toner. So, move your brush slowly and fix if anything undesirable occurs before letting it dry.
5. Finish It in the Professional Way
Unlike other types of wood like hickory and oak, birch plywood may take more time and effort. Yet, it can be a great option as high-end looking furniture at a comparatively cheap rate if you finish it perfectly in a professional way.
Staining birch plywood is not much tough and can be done easily by following the aforementioned steps. Now that you know the process, gather the materials needed, and start for your next project. I am sure, you can make a good piece out of it with a little dedication. Our comment box is open for your opinion.
Hi, I am Rogers Weber, the man behind Solvesonic. I am a mechanical engineer. I use many kinds of tools almost every day at my workplace. I love to write about tools, home improvement, and DIYs. I enjoy helping people to solve their problems through my website.