Is there a better way of staining to avoid overlapping brush marks?

Q:

I’ve always used a brush to apply stain, but on large projects it takes forever, and sometimes I have trouble blending the overlapping areas to avoid them showing when the stain dries. Is there a better way?
—Roger Cooley, High Point, N.C.

A:

Professional finishers use a couple of methods that you can adopt as well, Roger.  

• Wiping: This method covers your project quicker than using a brush because a terry-cloth sponge-pad applicator holds more stain, and you can store the pad in the stain can for the next use. However, you might still need a brush to get stain into crevices and corners. Wear gloves to keep your hands clean. After applying the stain, wipe off the excess with a lint-free cloth or blue shop towel.

• Spraying: It’s quick, and even a low-cost, entry-level spray gun will effectively shoot an even coat of thin stains reasonably well. You might not have excess to wipe off. However, to spray, you’ll need a well-ventilated space, you’ll waste some stain to overspray, and cleanup time can take longer than a hand-applied method.

Send your woodworking questions to askwood@woodmagazine.com

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