(NAPSI)—Few things can match the satisfaction of creating or improving your wood furnishings on your own. Exercising your creativity can give you something that is beautiful, practical and, if done well, can last for generations. Here are 10 wood finishing tips to consider as you take on your next project:

• Safety First. Be sure to wear protective eyewear and rubber gloves.

• Set the Stage. Your workstation should have adequate light and be dry, warm and well ventilated. If the area is cool or damp, it may affect the dry times.

• Test Run. Each piece of wood is different, so before staining a piece, be sure to test your stain color on an inconspicuous spot—on the underside of a table, the back of the frame or behind a drawer.

• Sand Away. If you’ll be recoating an existing finish, make sure the old finish has been cleaned of any oils and wax, is completely dry and has been scuffed lightly with fine 220-grit sandpaper so the new finish has something to grip. Finally, eliminate dust by vacuuming it off and then using a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue before staining or top coating. Make sure to follow all product application instructions throughout every step of your project.

• TIP: To ensure you have sanded the surface smoothly, run a sock over the sanded wood. If it snags, you will need to sand the area more.

• Tools for the Job. If you are going to use a water-based wood stain, avoid using brushes with natural bristles or brushes made with animal hair. These brushes are best for oil-based wood stains. Water-based stains are best applied with a synthetic bristle brush.

• Stirred, Not Shaken. Wood stains and clear protective finishes should be stirred, not shaken. Some ingredients in both stains and finishes settle over time, but shaking will only add unwanted bubbles—and likely will not mix the ingredients thoroughly. Always stir the product before you begin, until all settlement is evenly dispersed, and throughout your project.

• Stain It. A great way to add beautiful color to unfinished wood is with Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain. It is fast drying, comes in 40 wood tone and decorative colors, and cleans up with soap and water. The colors are mixed at the paint counter of any home center or hardware store. For beautiful results with Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain, first apply Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner and then finish with Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish.

• Keep It Vibrant. Looking to add the hottest colors to your home? Minwax® has added seven new Water Based Wood Stain colors that will have your decor “trending” in no time. They are part of the bright and bold color palette and are synonymous with the colors of the rainbow. The new colors are Daffodil, Tangerine, Crimson, Navy Blue, Pure White, Coral and Perfectly Pink.

• Wipe On, Wipe Off. Looking for a faster way to complete your wood finishing project? Try Minwax® Wood Finishing Cloths! They take the convenience of a one-step wiping stain and finish to a whole new level. Simply wipe on the stain and finish using the premoistened cloths, wipe off the excess, let it dry for an hour and you are done. Everything you need is in one handy package—even plastic gloves are included!

• Protection Is Key. For long-lasting beauty and superior durability, make sure to apply a clear protective finish to your project. To preserve the stain color or the natural beauty of the wood, you have two options: You can apply either an oil- or water-based clear protective finish. If you choose a water-based clear protective finish, it will have a milky-white appearance in the can but will dry crystal clear. On the other hand, applying an oil-based clear protective finish will warm up a wood surface by ambering it slightly. Oil-based clear protective finishes can be used over a water-based stain as long as the stain has completely dried. This also applies to water-based protective finishes on oil-based stains. But remember, the stain has to be completely dry!

Learn More

For further advice, how-to videos and project inspiration, go to www.Minwax.com or www.Pinterest.com/Minwax.

On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)