General Finishes Dye Stain Application Steps
- Watch Dye Stain product overview video here
- Work in a well-ventilated area.
- Stir stain thoroughly to reincorporate solids that have settled to the bottom of the can before and throughout the application process.
- Test your entire finishing schedule first. Dye Stain is like ink, and once you apply it, there is no going back as it will sink like ink into the pores of the wood. Stain color can be affected by variances in wood, room lighting, and deepened with the application of a topcoat. To lighten dilute with water-based GF Dye Stain Reducer.
- Increase open time, if needed, with up to 10-15% General Finishes Extender, if allowed by local regulations. Extender will improve flow and leveling and increase open time, which is helpful in dry climates. California Residents: Adding more than 2% of GF Extender will make the product non-compliant per SCAQMD Regulations. GF assumes no liability for the improper use of these products.
- An initial coat of General Finishes Pre-Stain Conditioner Natural can improve color uniformity over difficult-to-stain wood species such as pine. However, it will limit color absorption and reduce blotchiness, so a darker stain may be required to get the depth of color you want.
- NOTES on softwoods such as Pine, Pawlonia, or Poplar, the use of Pre-Stain Conditioner will reduce blotchiness but not remove it entirely. You may want to consider using GF's Wood Stain instead. And also regarding softwoods, an alternative technique instead of using Pre-Stain Conditioner is to add 10% High Performance to the Dye Stain. This will add enough solids to even out the finish and will lock in the color to reduce color pull when you apply the first clear coat.
- Divide your project into manageable sections: top, side, drawer, door, table seam.
Apply 1-2 coats. A second coat will create a deeper, richer color. Do not apply more than 2 coats.
- Hand application: Working quickly, apply a LIBERAL amount of dye stain using a synthetic bristle brush, foam brush, pad applicator, staining pad or microfiber roller with smooth, even strokes. Use a light touch with the brush - just flood the surface without dragging the applicator. Dye Stain penetrates the surface fast; if not enough stain is used, the surface may dry too quickly, causing an uneven appearance. Stain one section at a time. Immediately wipe off excess evenly with the grain using a cloth or high quality paper towel before starting the next section.
- Spray application: Before spraying, strain topcoat through a fine-mesh filter. Spray wet films at 3-5-mil thickness. HVLP: 1.1mm-1.3mm spray tip, medium air cap. Verify tip sizes with your equipment supplier. See our general guide for spray tip sizes. Wear a full filter respirator (NIOSH/MSHA approved) and work in a ventilated space. Keep your gun at a 90° angle, 6-8" from the surface. On large, flat areas, use wet, even patterns 6-8" wide. For narrow surfaces, reduce the fan pattern to 2-3" wide to reduce overspray. Overlap each pass of stain 50% for even coverage. If coverage is even, there is no need to wipe. If you have issues with uneven coverage, wipe back the excess with an absorbent cloth. Visit this FAQ for more information on spraying techniques.
Dry 2+ hours between coats in ideal conditions: 70°F/20°C; 50-70% humidity. Inadequate dry time is one of the top reasons for finish failure. If in doubt, wait longer. Increase dry time if humidity is over 80%Allow final coat to dry 2-4 hours in ideal conditions: 50-70% humidity, 70°F/20°C.
- Increase dry time if two coats are used.
- Increase dry time if humidity is over 80%
- o accelerate drying in humid conditions, add General Finishes Accelerator and work in a space with good ventilation and air movement. If you decide to re-coat before the recommended time, test dryness.
- Finish with 3 coats of General Finishes topcoat.
- If you will be using GF Conversion Varnish as a topcoat, seal first with either GF Sanding Sealer or Clear Poly before spraying Conversion Varnish. This will minimize the reaction from the dye and catalyst.
Warning: Do not use water-based products with Linseed Oils or Danish Oils.